Capps powers Dodge//SRT Mopar to No. 2 Spot in Funny Car Qualifying at Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals
Baytown, TX – Ron Capps is the fastest of six Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car drivers that qualified for Sunday’s elimination rounds at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil.
Capps, the 2016 NHRA Funny Car champion and four-time Houston SpringNationals winner, was one of only two drivers to post a 3.8-second run during qualifying Friday and Saturday, making his best qualifying pass behind the wheel of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in Saturday’s final session with his lap of 3.893 seconds at 319.29 mph.
Capps is one of six drivers aboard Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars in Sunday’s first round of eliminations. Fellow DSR racer and Hellcat Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, who made his best pass during Friday’s second qualifying session with a run of 3.916 seconds at 318.47 mph, holds the No. 6 position. Cruz Pedregon, Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson, Jr. and Jim Campbell will try to become the second driver to win a Wally driving a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car.
In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett returned to action this weekend looking to maintain her recent run of success at the Houston speed plant. Two years ago, she won the SpringNationals and last season was the No. 1 qualifier and reached the semifinals. She made three complete qualifying runs aboard her HEMI-powered Pennzoil/ Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster, including her best run of the weekend to close out qualifying Saturday afternoon with her pass of 3.709 seconds at 326.79 mph. Pritchett begins pursuit of her second Houston Wally from the third position Sunday facing Shawn Reed in the first round.
HIGHER EDUCATION AT 300 MPH
The “Assemble Your Future” initiative was launched Friday at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil with 27 enrolled students in the Mopar CAP program from Lone Star College and San Jacinto College being introduced to the world of the NHRA and connecting with representatives from 13 local automobile dealers.
The students heard from two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan, reigning Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett and Pritchett’s crew chief Neal Strausbaugh before touring the Don Schumacher Racing pit areas and interacting with the Houston-area dealers. The initiative will occur at four NHRA national events in 2019 with the Dodge Mile-High Nationals presented by Pennzoil near Denver in July being the next event. For more information on the Mopar CAP program, visit: www.MoparCap.com.
To follow Dodge//SRT and Mopar during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, visit Dodge Garage, a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts.
Mopar Dodge//SRT Notes & Quotes
(best elapsed times below)
Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 2, will face No. 15 Jeff Diehl
Friday: (3.942 seconds at 312.06 mph – Q1); (3.940/317.94 – Q2) Saturday: (3.924/315.56 – Q3); (3.893/319.29 – Q4)
“We’ve been bragging that the proof is in the Pennzoil all weekend long. It was just a great job by the NAPA Autocare team. Again, the proof is in the hard work. What (Rahn) Tobler’s done to put this car back to where it was in championship form the last couple of years. I love to see when he’s got a plan and watch it evolve and come together. I’ve got the best seat in the house to watch it from. It’s going to be fun tomorrow. Cool conditions. It’s going to be fast and I’m looking to rekindle the magic we’ve had with Houston Raceway Park.”
Matt Hagan, Pennzoil/Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 6, will face No. 11 Tommy Johnson, Jr.
Friday: (3.974 seconds at 315.56 mph – Q1); (3.916/318.47 – Q2) Saturday: (3.944/318.47 – Q3); (3.942/316.17 – Q4)
“I feel really, really good about this race car right now. We’ve been down the race track all four qualifying sessions and in a bunch of different conditions. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables has really got a handle on the top end. This Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is handling amazing, my lights are coming around, and everything is looking like we’re setup to have a great race day tomorrow. I can’t say enough about my team; my guys are just knocking it apart and putting it back together great. Dickie up here in the computer wheelhouse is doing a great job. This is a big event for us, it’s MOPAR and Pennzoil’s race and we’re driving the Pennzoil car. We’re going to put on a great show for them tomorrow and have some fun.”
Jack Beckman, MD Anderson Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 8, will face No. 9 Bob Tasca III
Friday: (3.932 seconds at 331.34 mph – Q1); (7.761/94.63 – Q2) Saturday: (6.150/115.15 – Q3); (3.965/315.86 – Q4)
“I’m okay with how we did, we got a chance to push and went too far on a couple of runs. We got points; we were second quickest out of the box. We’re doing some great stuff. The feedback from the fans on this MD Anderson program, I had no idea this many patients and former patients of that cancer center would be here this weekend. It’s been mind-blowing for me and to know that we’re a part of helping them fund cancer research is pretty gratifying. So, that’s Friday and that’s Saturday. Sunday is about the trophy. We could go a long way toward raising even more money. If we can get this car in the winner’s circle, it’s certainly going to help our chances of raising even more funding.”
Tommy Johnson, Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
Qualified No. 11, will face No. 6 Matt Hagan
Friday: (8.406 seconds at 78.26 mph – Q1); (4. 810/168.43 – Q2) Saturday: (3.987/309.70 – Q3); (3.959/312.13 – Q4)
“We haven’t been our normal self in qualifying. We kept fighting it and I think we got back close with our Saturday runs. We’re making progress at it. We’re just struggling a little bit the conditions and this track. I’m confident this team will get it figured out tonight and we’ll be much better tomorrow. It’s just been a little bit of a bumpy weekend, but we’ll be okay tomorrow.”
Leah Pritchett, Pennzoil/Mopar/Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified No. 3, will face No. 14 Shawn Reed
Friday: (3.763 seconds at 323.81 mph – Q1); (3.720/326.40 – Q2) Saturday: (6.429/109.77 – Q3); (3.709/326.79 – Q4)
“I think we definitely have all our ducks lined in a row. This is the ultimate proving grounds for Pennzoil and to have everybody out here has been phenomenal. My guys just went through a last-minute scramble before the final qualifying session because of the extreme changes in weather conditions. I’m super proud of the TF4 Pennzoil team for making that happen really quick for this last run. I’m feeling good where we stand heading into eliminations tomorrow and we’re just going to keep this flow going.”
FOX will air live coverage of the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals elimination rounds starting at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14.