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Ron Capps Takes #1 Spot During Friday Qualifying:

Charger R/T Funny Cars Still Out Performing New SRT HELLCAT Funny Cars...

Ron Capps took his NAPA Auto Parts NIGHTVISION Lamps Dodge Charger R/T to the No. 1 qualifying spot on Friday night at the NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by WIX Filters at zMAX Dragway. Capps took his Charger R/T for a pass of 3.726 at 328.54mph.

“We knew coming in that conditions were going to be great, better than great,” said Capps. “It could quite possibly as good tomorrow in Q4. By all means we are not going to sit on this No. 1. Everybody knew coming in this was a great race track, the conditions were going to be good and you put it together, this is what you see.” – Ron Capps to NHRA.com

By a margin of just a thousandth of a second, Tommy Johnson Jr.held off points leader Robert Hight for the provisional top spot after the first qualifying session at the NHRA Carolina Nationals. Coming off an impressive performance last week in Dallas, Johnson drove his Make-A-Wish Dodge to a 3.917 to edge Hight’s 3.918.

As if winning the first three races of the Countdown wasn’t enough, Steve Torrence padded his lead in the Mello Yello Top Fuel standings with three qualifying bonus points after setting the pace with a 3.736 in his Capco dragster Torrence, unbeaten in his last 12 elimination rounds, held off Tony Schumacher, who was second-quickest with a 3.747 in the U.S. Army / Mopar dragster. Schumacher also ran 330.39 to set the top speed of the event.

Tommy Johnson Jr.and the John Collins-led Make-A-Wish team scored their first No. 1 qualifier of the season last weekend in Dallas to show that they’re back on the right track after switching back from the six-disc clutch to the five-disc earlier this year in Richmond. The team sits in fourth place, 136 points behind leader Robert Hight, but could use a win. They have two runner-ups this season – in Phoenix and Brainerd – and six semifinal finishes.

“Coming off of a No. 1 qualifier last race and another semifinal appearance, we just continue to be strong and go rounds,” he said. “We need to just pick it up one notch. Charlotte’s been good to us in the past in the Countdown, so if we can get to the finals and maybe have a little luck with a couple of guys in front of us going out, we can make up some ground where we’re really in the running for the championship. We’ve still got a good shot at it, so we need to focus on maintaining that.” – Tommy Johnson Jr. to NHRA.com

With three races to go and points-and-a-half at the season finale, the team still feel very much in the title battle, despite their tree-digit deficit, but the pressure is real, according to Johnson.

“If it’s late in the Countdown and you’re still in it, there’s a lot more pressure,” he said. “Now I need a win because you need to separate yourself from the field. The pressure is ratcheted up and I think this is going to be a stressful weekend, but I think you’ll see the cream rise to the top.”

Qualifying continues tomorrow at the NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by WIX Filters at zMAX Dragway at 1:00pm EST for the Top Fuel and Funny Car teams. Their second round qualifying will start round 4:00pm EST. Here is how the Mopar teams have qualified thus far…

Leah Pritchett faced her teammate Tony Schumacher in the first round of qualifying in Top Fuel.

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Leah Pritchett .101 .852 2.175 3.079 282.72 3.829 322.96
Right Tony Schumacher .062 .846 2.142 3.016 291.82 3.747 330.39

Pritchett was straight down the groove to go to the number five spot. Leah Pritchett’s incremental times: 60ft-0.852 sec., 330ft-2.175, 660ft-3.079/282.72 mph. Schumacher launched hard and kept it hooked up to go to the number one spot. Tony Schumacher’s incremental times: 60ft-0.846 sec., 330ft-2.142, 660ft-3.016/291.82 mph.

During the second round of qualifying Pritchett faced Richie Campton…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Richie Crampton 8 .055 .837 2.121 2.998 281.48 3.909 239.87
Right Leah Pritchett 11 .109 .850 2.149 3.022 291.57 3.763 320.58

Crampton was on a good pass until the engine went silent on the top end and he slowed. Pritchett kept it hitting on all eight all the way down the track to move into the top half of the show. Leah Pritchett’s incremental times: 60ft-0.850 sec., 330ft-2.149, 660ft-3.022/291.57 mph.

Schumacher ran against Terry McMillen in his second round qualifying run…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Tony Schumacher 5 .088 .840 2.129 3.013 288.70 3.748 328.54
Right Terry McMillen 11 .108 .855 2.155 3.031 289.63 3.769 325.30

This was a good side-by-side drag race… Schumacher with another good pass, just a tick off his earlier time today. Tony Schumacher’s incremental times: 60ft-0.840 sec., 330ft-2.129, 660ft-3.013/288.70 mph. McMillen with his quickest pass of the day to move up the ladder two spots. Terry McMillen’s incremental times: 60ft-0.855 sec., 330ft-2.155, 660ft-3.031/289.63 mph.

In Funny Car, teammates Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan ran their Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Cars against each other in the first round of qualifying…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Jack Beckman .089 1.085 4.730 11.430 66.67
Right Matt Hagan .098 .880 2.265 3.209 274.22 3.970 320.66

Beckman’s car went silent almost immediately. He rolled to a stop before the finish line. He also left some oil on the track. Hagan makes a solid pass and took the top spot at the time.

Next Ron Capps took on Courtney Force…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Ron Capps .088 .874 2.243 3.174 278.40 3.925 327.66
Right Courtney Force .084 .882 2.265 3.192 278.69 3.977 288.15

It was a solid pass by Capps. Force was also on a good pass but her engine went silent before the finish. Ron Capps’ incremental times: 60ft-0.874 sec., 330ft-2.243, 660ft-3.174/278.40 mph.

Tommy Johnson Jr. then faced Tim Wilkerson…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Tommy Johnson Jr .087 .866 2.238 3.168 278.46 3.917 327.98
Right Tim Wilkerson .101 .879 2.289 3.228 276.13 3.988 319.07

Another good looking pair and Johnson moved into the top spot for the moment. Tommy Johnson Jr.’s incremental times: 60ft-0.866 sec., 330ft-2.238, 660ft-3.168/278.46 mph.

During the second round of qualifying Jack Beckman took on Dale Creasy Jr…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Dale Creasy Jr DQ 13 .086 .922 2.327 3.348 226.54
Right Jack Beckman 17 .089 .870 2.250 3.200 274.50 3.953 324.98

Creasy drifted right on the run and he took out 3 timing blocks. Beckman made a good looking pass to put him in the number 4 spot for the time being.

Matt Hagan’s Charger SRT HELLCAT then took on Ron Capps Charger R/T…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Matt Hagan 10 .087 .866 2.231 3.156 280.31 3.903 325.14
Right Ron Capps 6 .076 .871 2.222 3.133 282.48 3.875 329.42

A good looking pass by both drivers. Capps moved up to the top spot for now. Matt Hagan’s incremental times: 60ft-0.866 sec., 330ft-2.231, 660ft-3.156/280.31 mph. Ron Capps’ incremental times: 60ft-0.871 sec., 330ft-2.222, 660ft-3.133/282.48 mph.

Tommy Johnson, Jr. then faced the current points leader Robert Hight…

LANE DRIVER Q. POS. RT 60 FT 330 FT 660 FT 660 FT MPH ET MPH
Left Robert Hight 7 .087 .879 2.259 3.171 283.37 3.911 330.31
Right Tommy Johnson Jr 6 .104 .868 2.244 3.157 282.36 3.901 329.26

This was a good looking drag race! Hight is in the number 7 spot while Johnson moves up to the number 4 spot. Robert Hight’s incremental times: 60ft-0.879 sec., 330ft-2.259, 660ft-3.171/283.37 mph. Tommy Johnson Jr.’s incremental times: 60ft-0.868 sec., 330ft-2.244, 660ft-3.157/282.36 mph.

Top Fuel Qualifying Position So Far:

  • Tony Schumacher is currently qualified in the 5th position
  • Leah Pritchett is currently qualified in the 7th position

Funny Car Qualifying Position So Far:

  • Ron Capps is currently qualified in the 1st position
  • Tommy Johnson Jr. is currently qualified in the 4th position
  • Matt Hagan is currently qualified in the 5th position
  • Jack Beckman is currently qualified in the 10th position

Source: NHRA.com

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