April 30, 2017 (Concord, N.C.) – It doesn’t matter whether the drag strip has two lanes or four, cars featuring Mopar® HEMI® power in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will find the winner’s circle this season. Ron Capps took home the Wally trophy in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway to claim his 51st Funny Car win and back-to-back victories after winning last week’s NHRA SpringNationals in Houston. Mopar Dodge Funny Car drivers have now claimed five wins in six events this year.
Mopar HEMI-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teams have also won nine of a possible 12 Nitro (Top Fuel and Funny Car) events in 2017, and a DSR Mopar driver has won at least one event in the Nitro classes at seven consecutive races, dating back to last season at the NHRA Finals. Mopar drivers have also doubled-up with Funny Car and Top Fuel wins in three of this season’s six events, and a Mopar driver has led the point standings in both Top Fuel and Funny Car after every event of 2017.
Three Mopar Funny Cars went to the final round at Charlotte, while two Mopar-powered Top Fuel dragsters made the final four.
Capps, the 2016 Funny Car champion, bested his Mopar teammates Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan, along with J.R. Todd, with a pass of 3.933 seconds at 322.65 mph after a .061-second reaction time in lane number one to win the event. He also took over the Funny Car points lead.
The Four-Wide Nationals only require three rounds to crown a winner, with two drivers advancing from each quadrant of four until an event champion emerges in the final round.
Defending Funny Car champion Capps drove his Mopar Dodge Charger R/T alongside John Force in the first round to beat Chad Head and Del Worsham. Capps and Force advanced to a Don Schumacher Racing versus John Force Racing matchup in round two against DSR’s Jack Beckman and Force’s Robert Hight. Capps and Beckman then went to the final round to square off against their Mopar DSR teammate Matt Hagan and first-year Funny Car driver J.R. Todd, where Capps claimed the victory.
Meanwhile, Beckman advanced his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car out of round one along with Hight, defeating Dodge Charger R/T competitor Jim Campbell and Beckman’s Mopar and DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. Beckman narrowly defeated Hight in the second round as Force smoked his tires to move on to the final round with Capps. Beckman ultimately came home in the runner-up position.
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan collected a victory in round one over Tim Wilkerson, Dodge driver Bob Bode and Cruz Pedregon. Then, in the second round, he bested J.R. Todd, Jonnie Lindberg and Wilkerson. Hagan went on to compete in the final round against teammates Capps and Beckman, along with Todd, where Hagan finished fourth after smoking his tires.
Tommy Johnson Jr. represented the only Mopar Funny Car driver not to make the final round in Charlotte. He and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T team suffered their second consecutive first-round defeat after winning in Las Vegas to start the month of April.
In Top Fuel, Mopar-powered Tony Schumacher narrowly escaped round one with a cylinder out over Pat Dakin and Ike Maier to advance to the second round along with Antron Brown. Schumacher made the final round by besting Terry McMillen, Doug Kalitta and Brown. Schumacher and McMillen advanced to the final round against Mopar DSR driver Leah Pritchett and Steve Torrence, where Schumacher ultimately finished second as Torrence took the win.
Also in Top Fuel, Pritchett drove her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Dragster to a win in round one over Clay Millican, Terry Haddock and Shawn Langdon. Pritchett and Millican faced off against Dom Lagana and Torrence in round two, with Pritchett and Torrence going to the final. Pritchett came home in the third position overall after being late off the line.
Sunday’s eliminations at zMAX Dragway featured a large crowd despite hot and humid conditions, leading to a very warm, slick track.
To hear from the drivers, read our Notes & Quotes from the Four-Wides here.