Auburn Hills, MI – It was a Father’s Day to remember for Mopar Dodge//SRT drivers Ron Capps and Tony Schumacher, who raced to victory in the Funny Car and Top Fuel classes, respectively, at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee. Capps’ victory marked the fifth straight for a Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver at Bristol Dragway.
The win by Capps was also the third of 2018 for a Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver and moved him to fifth in the Funny Car standings. Along with Tony Schumacher’s victory, Mopar Dodge drivers have now claimed five wins in the NHRA Nitro classes this season.
Capps, the Mopar-powered NAPA Dodge Charger R/T pilot, picked up his second consecutive NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Funny Car Wally and first trophy of the 2018 season. The 2016 world champion defeated John Force, reigning world champ Robert Hight, J.R. Todd and Bob Tasca III on his way to becoming the most decorated Funny Car driver in Bristol Dragway history, with five victories at the picturesque facility.
Both Capps and Force entered the race weekend tied for the most Funny Car wins at Bristol Dragway, with four trophies each. No. 11 starter Capps was quick on the throttle against the veteran driver, launching his Dodge off the starting line in 0.049-seconds and never trailing for the win. Matched up in the quarterfinals against Hight, Capps was machine-like, gaining the holeshot start over his opponent. Hight was able to catch up early in the run, and the veteran drivers battled neck-and-neck until Capps was able to surge ahead and take the win with his 4.208 run.
Tony Schumacher – Top Fuel (84th career win)
Ron Capps – Funny Car (59th career win, 58th Funny Car win)
Bristol, TN – Don Schumacher Racing celebrated its first ‘DSR Double Up’ of 2018 on Sunday at the NHRA Thunder
Valley Nationals, when Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) raced to victory at Bristol Dragway. It was the first trip to the winner’s circle this season for the Mopar-powered veteran racers.
U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher led all DSR drivers in qualifying, racing to the No. 2 spot and earning two bonus points. “The Sarge” opened up race day against No. 15 Terry McMillen and used the second quickest run of the first round to advance, then was quickest of the quarterfinal round with a 4.028 E.T. that knocked out Pat Dakin in a close race, decided by a margin of about five feet.
In the semifinals, Schumacher was first off of the starting line with a 0.064-second reaction time against Steve Torrence and paired it with a 4.038-second at 297.02-mph run to advance to his 150th final round and third of the season.
With lane choice over Mike Salinas, Schumacher once again left first with a near-identical 0.065 reaction and never trailed. He wrapped up his Father’s Day with a sub-four second, 3.946-second at 313.58-mph run to seize the first win of the season for the U.S. Army team.
BRISTOL, TN – CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster driver Scott Palmer enjoyed a stellar weekend in the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, qualifying a season-best No. 4 and racing to the semifinals Sunday during a hot, difficult day of eliminations.
Palmer’s CatSpot Racing teammate Dom Lagana bowed out in the first round, but both teams improved their hot-weather tune-ups during the weekend.
“Great weekend,” Palmer said. “For sure, a strong weekend for us. Everybody’s learning how to run well in these hot conditions and certainly we learned a lot more this weekend – a lot. What we figured out here is going to help us for another five or six more races because they’re all going to be hot like this.”
After winning in the first and second round, Palmer had a shot at racing to his second final round of the season. But a close race against Mike Salinas was lost when Palmer started to haze his tires down track, allowing Salinas to squeak by for the win.
Palmer, who made 4.0-second passes in the first two rounds, slowed to a run of 4.356 seconds at 211.89 mph to fall to Salinas’ 4.042-second run at 301.07 mph.
Schumacher Captures Record 84th Career Top Fuel Win, Sixth at Bristol, And Fourth on Father’s Day
It was lightning in a bottle in Thunder Valley for Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and the U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Sunday as the winningest driver in Top Fuel history and in the history of iconic Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway conquered the most challenging conditions of the season and captured the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Thunder Valley Nationals event title for a record sixth time.
Schumacher, the record eight-time world champion, upped his record total of event titles to 84 and ended a winless drought dating back to the 2017 Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. It also marked the fourth time in his illustrious career he has won on Father’s Day for the team owned by his father, the first coming in 2000 at Columbus, Ohio, and the most recent three here at Bristol in 2010, 2012 and today.
Track temperatures that far surpassed the 140-degree mark created extreme challenges for drivers and car tuners throughout the weekend, but the U.S. Army team proved to be the most consistent in qualifying Friday and Saturday and during today’s four elimination rounds.
BRISTOL, TN — With 11 races completed so far this season, Sunday at the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals was only the third time in 2018 that John Force Racing did not have a nitro car to cheer for in the final round of a NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. With Courtney Force finishing as a semifinalist, Robert Hight exiting in the second round and John Force and Brittany Force closing out their day in the first round, it will be the first time since the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas, the fourth race of the season, that John Force Racing has not had at least one runner-up finish.
No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force had a solid 4.169-second pass at 307.65 mph to defeat Jonnie Lindberg in the first round on a hot and tricky track. Force was third quickest of the session and maintained lane choice heading into the second round against veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr. Force had another clean pass at 4.197 seconds and 298.24 to defeat Johnson Jr. who smoked the tires to a 5.134 second pass. In the semifinals, Force kept with her consistency to run a clean 4.271-seconds at 286.62 mph but it wasn’t enough to advance over Bob Tasca III’s 4.219 seconds at 298.60 mph.
Force isn’t hanging her head low over the finish, however, if anything she’s even more encouraged by what her Advance Auto Parts team can accomplish, and by their lead in the NHRA Mello Yello points standings, a substantial 201 points over her closest competitor.
BRISTOL, TN – J.R. Todd drove his DHL Toyota Camry to the Funny Car semi-finals to lead Toyota at the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at the Bristol Dragway Sunday. It was the fifth time in the last eight races that Todd has advanced to the semi-finals or beyond.
Todd defeated fellow Toyota driver Del Worsham in the opening round and then knocked off Jack Beckman in round two to set up a semi-final match-up with Ron Capps. Todd had the advantage at the light with a .034 reaction time, but dropped a cylinder at the 100’ mark, giving Capps the win.
“It was just a matter of going down the track today,” said Todd, as air temperatures soared into the 90s. “In the semis, I just dropped a hole right after I hit the gas and you’re a sitting duck at that point. It’s good to be going rounds and earning points in our DHL Camry, but it would be nice to be going even more rounds and earning more points on the cars in front of us. It’s going to be hot in Norwalk, but they have a brand new circuit. I’m sure it’s going to be tricky.”
BRISTOL, TN – CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster drivers Scott Palmer and Dom Lagana put on a great show in qualifying for the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, with each car getting in the top of the field for the Father’s Day race.
Palmer posted his best qualifying effort of the season in the No. 4 spot (3.863 seconds at 319.82 mph), while part-time teammate Lagana slid into the No. 7 position during a hot two days of qualifying. Both are poised for a good race day.
“Obviously, Q1 was great,” said Palmer, who sat in the No. 1 spot after that session. “Got down the track No. 1 qualifier for that session. That was a good test for a hot track. Friday night Q2, we made a pretty stout run for anyone, so we ended up No. 4 for Friday.
“Today, since we ran 3.99 in Q1, we got to try some things for Sunday in the heat. First one didn’t work. Second one went further down the track. We are just trying to manipulate the bump in the track and track prep.