Defending NHRA Northwest Nationals winner Ron Capps came up just short in his bid to score back-to-back wins in Seattle racing his Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car on Sunday at Pacific Raceways near Kent, Washington.
The two-time 2019 Funny Car winner made a charge through the field to give Dodge//SRT Mopar its fifth consecutive opportunity to capture an event victory. Capps wasn’t able to overtake John Force in the final after knocking out fellow DSR and Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver Matt Hagan in the semifinals. DSR teammate Jack Beckman also advanced to the semifinals.
Tommy Johnson, Jr., Capps and Beckman give Dodge//SRT Mopar three drivers inside the top-five in the championship standings through 16 of 24 events.
Capps began his repeat bid from the seventh position and posted an opening-round win aboard his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT. The 2016 Funny Car world champion grabbed the starting-line advantage from J.R. Todd and raced away to setup his semifinal matchup with Hagan. Both drivers and teams were on their game, but it was Capps that moved on with his run of 3.974 seconds to advance to the final round. The historic final pitted the two winningest drivers in the category; in their 103rd career meeting Capps had a slight advantage on the tree, but it was Force that took the win. With his run to the final, Capps moved up to fourth in the championship standings.
After racing to the in the final at Sonoma, Hagan kept his momentum pointing in right direction qualifying his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody third in the field. The two-time Seattle winner dispatched Gary Densham and Shawn Langdon before his thrilling battle with Capps.
Beckman continued his push to becoming a championship contender. The 2007 NHRA Northwest Nationals champion qualified eighth for Sunday’s elimination rounds where he drove the DSR Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT to victory over fellow DSR and Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car driver Johnson, Jr., with a smooth pass of 3.937 seconds to start his run for a second Seattle triumph. Beckman then bounced Bob Tasca III to reach his fifth semifinal in the previous eight events where his opponent was Force. After the two had identical reaction times, Beckman slowed when his machine lost traction allowing Force to pull away for the victory.
After opening the Western Swing with a victory in the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Johnson was looking to make it two wins in three races. The driver of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT made the best lap of the weekend to close qualifying but found himself running fellow DSR and HELLCAT Funny Car driver Beckman. Johnson defeated Beckman en route to Denver triumph, but the outcome was different Sunday when his machine went into tire-smoke just after 200 feet. Johnson, who clinched his spot in the Countdown last weekend in Sonoma, ranks third with two races remaining before the points are reset for the six-race championship battle.
Cruz Pedregon raced his Snap-On Tools Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT into the field but was defeated in the first round by Langdon. Jim Campbell was the sixth Dodge//SRT Mopar driver in the field, but he lost a close race to Force in the first round.
For Top Fuel standout Leah Pritchett, it was a bit of déjà vu as she qualified her HEMI-powered [DR1] Sparkling Ice Top Fuel Dragster fifth in the field. In a rematch of last week’s first round race with Austin Prock, Pritchett lost ground at the starting line, but was closing on Prock before losing by 0.0192 seconds (approximately 9 feet).
Following a week off, the Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers will resume the 2019 campaign with the 32nd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota, August 15th to 18th.
2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Championship — After Round 16 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings:
1. Robert Hight (5) – 1341
2. John Force (1) – 1155
3. Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) –1117
4. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) – 1057
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT – 1039
6. Bob Tasca III (1) – 985
7. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT (2) – 965
8. J.R. Todd (1) – 949
9. Shawn Langdon (1) – 840
10. Tim Wilkerson – 792
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings:
1. Steve Torrence (8) – 1587
2. Antron Brown – 966
3. Clay Millican – 955
4. Brittany Force (1) – 953
5. Doug Kalitta (1) – 940
6. Mike Salinas (2) – 883
7. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 786
8. Richie Crampton (1) – 753
8. Austin Prock (1) – 753
10. Terry McMillen – 676