Tobler sends NAPA to final round then Capps reaction gets fifth title, while DSR teammate Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza gets to another final
But trend began going up in smoke as mid-summer temperatures rose last weekend in Englishtown, N.J., and continued the past three days during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee.
The only records set Sunday during championship eliminations were for tire smoke, dropped engine cylinders.
Matco’s Brown gets another pole at hometown track in New Jersey, Capps leads DSR Funny Cars with NAPA Dodge Charger R/T
Then it got warmer on Saturday for the last day of qualifying with the thermometer reaching 85.
On Sunday for championship eliminations scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (EDT) … it will be hot. The forecast high of 93, by any definition, is hot.
The rising temps make crew chiefs sweat even in the air-conditioned climes of their offices in Don Schumacher Racing technical trailers.
Capps, NAPA head to New England with 4-event, 15-round streak, aim to defend pole, title earned there a year ago in Mello Yello Series
After Capps lost in the first round at Topeka in 2016, the NAPA team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane went on to win three of the next four NHRA Wally trophies and fell one title short of sweeping the Eastern Swing that covers June.
The next time the world championship team lost in an opening round was this year’s Las Vegas Nationals on April 2, and since then, Capps and NAPA team are unbeaten while winning the last four NHRA Wally trophies, including the last race two weeks ago at Topeka, Kan.
Topeka, KS – The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series reached the one-third mark of the 2017 schedule with this weekend’s Heartland Nationals, and neither Ron Capps nor his Mopar teammates in the Nitro categories are showing signs of slowing any time soon. Capps took home the Wally trophy in Funny Car for the 53rd time in his career and fourth race in a row, driving his Dodge Charger R/T to the victory over his Mopar and Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Matt Hagan. Hagan meanwhile became the quickest and fastest driver in Funny Car history during event qualifying. Capps’ win is the seventh for Mopar HEMI® power in the Funny Car category this season.
Capps defeated Hagan’s Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T from the left lane with a pass of 3.924 seconds at 321.42 mph after a .054-second reaction time. Hagan turned in a pass of 3.985 at 318.92 with a .057 reaction time off the starting line. Capps and team had lane choice for the final, and made a last-second decision to move to the left lane just before the cars were fired. The race was a re-match of this year’s Funny Car final round at the Arizona Nationals, which represents the only final round in which Capps has appeared but not won in 2017.
World champ Capps wins fourth straight with Tobler, NAPA Dodge, combines with Matco’s Brown to sweep Topeka nitro titles for DSR
Hagan was trying to replicate what he did a year ago at Topeka, Kan., when he set both NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world records and concluded his visit to Heartland Park by winning the Wally Trophy.
Instead, Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil won their fourth consecutive event title to ruin his teammate’s perfect weekend.
And DSR teammate Antron Brown with the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster team kept Steve Torrence from reliving his recent winning history when the three-time world champion defeated Torrence, who arrived at Topeka riding a two-race winning streak.