Ron Capps kicked-off his 2019 Countdown campaign by capturing the Funny Car pole
MOHNTON, PA – Ron Capps and the NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car team wasted zero time as they began their campaign for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car world championship title, throwing down the gauntlet with a record-setting run on Friday night to earn the pole at the first race of the Countdown to the Championship.
The 2016 Funny Car world champion blasted to a 3.837 E.T. at 339.28 mph under the lights at Maple Grove Raceway during Friday’s second qualifying session, obliterating both ends of the Reading, Pa. track record. The run was the first 339 mph NHRA pass since a 339.02 was recorded during the 2017 Reading event and the second-fastest run in NHRA history. Capps’ impressive performance during the second round of qualifying for the MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil stood strong throughout Saturday and earned him the top spot among a loaded Funny Car class.
Before capturing the pole on Friday night, Capps and the Rahn Tobler-led NAPA Filters team unloaded with a best-of-class 3.849 E.T. during Q1 and solidified their position as a major threat when they closed out qualifying on Saturday evening by posting a 3.877 E.T., the second-quickest run of Q4.
READING, PA – Doug Kalitta registered a 3.688-second pass on his final qualifying run of the weekend to jump up to third, while fellow Toyota Top Fuel drivers Richie Crampton and Antron Brown placed fourth and fifth, respectively, for Sunday’s NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the first round of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
The three Toyota drivers were separated by just .001 seconds as both Crampton and Brown registered 3.689-second passes, but Crampton won the tie-breaker on speed as he ran a 328.14 mph pass compared to Brown’s 323.81.
Kalitta, who entered the Countdown in second place, earned bonus points for finishing in the top three in three of the four qualifying sessions. He will face Smax Smith in round one of eliminations.
READING, PA — On opening day of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs, Brittany Force and the Advance Auto Parts team set a track record on their way to the preliminary No. 1 spot Friday night at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil. Teammate Austin Prock is in the No. 6 position with his Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist machine, and in Funny Car, Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California team are currently No. 8 and John Force, with his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil / Blue Diesel Fuel Additives Chevy Camaro SS, are 14th at Maple Grove Raceway.
Chasing her third consecutive No. 1 qualifying position and seventh of the season, Brittany Force laid down a stellar 3.651-second pass at 332.92 mph. With header flames blazing on her Advance Auto Parts dragster, the 2017 event winner set the track elapsed time record and jumped five positions into No. 1. Force was impressive all day as she opened qualifying with a solid 3.721-second pass at 329.67 mph.
“That 3.651 run felt awesome. I’m excited to be here at Maple Grove. This is the first race of the Countdown and we’ve been breaking records recently, last weekend and this weekend, so it feels good that we’re starting to turn a corner and really figure things out right when it matters, going into the Countdown,” said Force who also set the elapsed time record at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. National contested at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. “We’re No. 1 right now and we’re hoping to pick up more points tomorrow and go out and win this thing.”
Ron Capps Second Fastest in NHRA History; Captures Provisional Funny Car Pole
MOHNTON, PA – Ron Capps blasted to the second-fastest run in NHRA history on Friday night during the MOPAR Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil. His blistering run of 3.837 seconds at 339.28 mph was the first 339 mph pass to light up an NHRA scoreboard since the 2017 Maple Grove Raceway event, and successfully reset both ends (E.T. and speed) of the Mohnton, Pa. track record.
Before resetting his career-best E.T. and speed while capturing the provisional Funny Car pole, Capps and the NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car team powered to the best run of Friday’s opening qualifying session, blazing down the track in 3.849 seconds.
“I was just hoping to get the Countdown started on the right foot,” said Capps, a three-time race winner in 2019. “I didn’t expect the right foot to be a 3.83. I felt like I almost had to pedal it that first lap, but it made it through there and put a cylinder out at about 800 feet.
Ron Capps Muscles Mopar-powered Dodge//SRT Charger Hellcat Funny Car to Track Record Speed and ET in Opening Round Qualifying of Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals
Mohnton, PA – Ron Capps opened the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway with a bang, powering the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) NAPA Filters Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the provisional pole with his track record-setting run of 3.837 seconds at 339.28 mph in Friday night’s second provisional qualifying session.
With the run, Capps raised the bar for Funny Car class elapsed time and speed records at Maple Grove making the fastest run of his career and establishing the top speed by a Funny Car driver in 2019. The 2017 Reading champion opened qualifying with the fastest pass of the first session as well. Capps will lead the field back on track Saturday with two more qualifying sessions that will set the field for Sunday’s eliminations.
“I was just hoping to get the Countdown started on the right foot,” said Capps, a three-time Funny Car winner in 2019. “I didn’t expect it to be a 3.83 (elapsed time/seconds). To go 3.84 in that first lap, I knew (Rahn) Tobler was pretty apprehensive about what he was doing with the car. I felt like I almost had to pedal it that first lap, but it made it through there and put a cylinder out about 800 feet.
Lucas Salemi & DJ Raiser clinch track titles
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster Dragway @ New York International Raceway Park held a special Thursday night race for its IHRA Drag Racing program this week to make room on the schedule for U.S. Open weekend for the Stock Cars. This next to last points race of the season was a crucial one for drivers challenging for their respective class championships.
Two drivers clinched 2019 Lancaster Dragway @ NYIRP track titles on Friday. Lucas Salemi of Clarence Center, N.Y. secured the Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds track championship. It is second career after winning his first in 2015. Donny “DJ” Raiser clinched the Tread City Tire Street track title. It is third championship for Lancaster Dragway Wall of Famer and his first in 24 years. Raiser won the Pro ET championship back in 1994 & 95. Salemi and Raiser join Jr. Dragster champ PJ Marston as the first track champions crowned this season.
Thursday night winners included Tom Coonly of Blasdell, N.Y. in Mallare Trucking Top ET. Wayne Cleveland of Williamsville, N.Y. was victorious in Top 8 Eliminator. In Gianna Mazia’s Mod ET, Clay Ricketson of East Aurora, N.Y. grabbed his first win of 2019. Mike Peters of Angola, N.Y. picked up his fifth of the season in Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds. Scott Baron earned his first career win in Tread City Tire Street.
MILLINGTON, TN – The Great American Guaranteed Million just keeps getting bigger. Already the first guaranteed-to-win $1 million purse for bracket racers, the massive race added another exciting layer on Wednesday, as promoters Britt Cummings and Gaylon Rolison announced a special Factory Stock Showdown race at the event.
The race, which takes place May 20-25 at Memphis International Raceway, will include the popular class as one of the marquee attractions on Saturday, May 23, with Cummings already receiving commitments from many of the top names in the class.
“We’ve already got 15 verbally-committed entries and I only called 16 people,” Cummings said. “With the million-dollar race finishing up earlier in the day on Saturday, we wanted to keep the show going and have people in the stands.
“For me, this is the class I want to highlight. It’s a badass class, I love what it’s all about and I think the fans and everyone in the bracket racing world will dig it.”