May 1, 2017 (Concord, N.C.) – Here is a summary of the 2017 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals held this weekend, featuring comments from Mopar-sponsored drivers and officials. Mopar and Dodge celebrated another Funny Car win, the fifth win this year.
Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global
“Congratulations to Ron Capps on winning the Four-Wide Nationals in his Dodge Challenger R/T. The 2017 season has been an amazing one thus far for the Mopar brand. Seeing Mopar HEMI power in the winner’s circle never gets old.”
Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.904 seconds at 324.12 mph)
“This is a fun event, it changes everything. Your mentality, the way you approach the track, the way you approach each round. There’s not very many times you see that many drivers pop out of their car at the other end of the track and they all are smiling, win or lose. It’s just an exciting race. It’s a great facility; I can’t tell you how many people fly in from all over the world and pick this one race to fly to.
“It’s so fun to be up there listening to what the team’s approach is round to round. I try just to rise to the occasion and not be the weak link.”
Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.770 seconds at 322.73 mph. Lost in the final round to Steve Torrence)
“I’m proud of my guys that give me the fastest, most consistent car. I’m for sure disappointed in myself, I about jumped the gun there, knowing that in the final round everyone turns it up a notch. I knew instantly that there was no chance that we were winning in that run. Once I got to like 50-foot I could see Steve out front. So congratulations to them. Going to Atlanta, it’s going to be muggy; it’s going to be hot. We’ve got a cold tune-up; we’ve got a hot tune-up, so it feels good.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.898 seconds at 31.28 mph. Lost in the final round)
“Obviously it was a crazy deal. You take this race and you kind of throw it up in the air and see where it lands. But all in all, we went some rounds, just kind of trying to wing it through there. We made some changes in the bellhousing and are still trying to get this deal back under our feet with the heat. Obviously, we know how to run really good in the cool, but we’re still figuring the heat out. We’ve got a lot more hot races coming up so we’re going to figure it out.”
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 10 Qualifier – 3.970 seconds at 323.12 mph. Lost in the final round, finished runner-up)
“I know there’s one less round here at Charlotte but we were in the final round and we’ll go down in the history books as a runner-up. You know what, we dug ourselves a hole in qualifying; we only made it down track one run. Nobody hung their heads. (We) had a little bit of luck first round when it dropped a cylinder but the guys went and looked at data, they plugged away at it. And here we are with the runner-up. So listen, we got a lot of points. The big deal right now for us, let’s get back near the top of the point standings, let’s get ourselves a couple of trophies and we’ll go fight it out in the Countdown.”
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.922 seconds at 319.52 mph. Lost in round one)
“The last thing we expected was to go out there and shake (the tires) first round. We felt pretty confident going into race day. We had a really consistent car, so that was the last thing on our mind that was going to happen. It’s just unfortunate in the Four-Wide to come up short because two (cars) go on. I pedaled it and tried to catch them, but we’ll just try to figure out what’s wrong with the car. We’re going to test tomorrow and that way we’re ready for Atlanta.”
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 6 Qualifier – 3.740 seconds at 323.81 mph. Lost in the final round, finished runner-up)
“This is an incredible event, and at the end of the day, you have to be a machine. I couldn’t be prouder of the U.S. Army team led by (crew chief) Mike Green, (assistant crew chief) Phil Shuler. They worked hard all weekend to give us a chance and that’s what we had today. This Four-Wide race is just a different way to do the same thing we do every weekend. You have to block out all the other stuff and just hit the throttle and you do your job. We all wanted to win this thing, but it didn’t work out. We have a great team that is learning every weekend and continuing to make progress. So now, it’s about heading to Atlanta.”
Mopar/Dodge NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Mopar-powered cars also turned in several strong efforts in the Sportsman ranks during the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Jack Zimmerman of Clemmons, North Carolina, advanced to the fourth round of Stock Eliminator driving his B/SA ’71 Dodge Challenger R/T, where he was defeated by just four inches after running a 10.52-second elapsed time at 123.38 mph on a 10.50 dial-in. His reaction time was 0.066 seconds. Zimmerman’s Challenger R/T has a 440 Six Pack V8 under the hood featuring numerous Mopar performance parts.
In the Super Stock class, Ed Longhany Sr. of Wade, North Carolina, drove his SS/KA ’74 Plymouth Duster 360 to the fourth round, where he turned in a pass of 10.513 seconds at 120.89 mph, breaking out by a mere .007 after a .038-second reaction time.
Zimmerman and Longhany earned the Dodge Top Finisher award for their efforts. The program awards $500 to the top-finishing Dodge or Plymouth vehicle competing in Stock and Super Stock at each of this year’s 24 NHRA national events.
In addition, the Four-Wide Nationals served as the site of the second of the five Factory Stock Showdowns slated for 2017. Geoff Turk of Yorkville, Illinois, qualified his 2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak sixth in the eight-car field before being eliminated in Saturday’s first round. It was Turk’s second Factory Stock Showdown appearance of the year after also qualifying for the event during the Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Eighteen factory muscle cars attempted to qualify for the Showdown in Charlotte.
Five drivers also left zMAX Dragway with class wins in Stock Eliminator after class eliminations. Jim Bailey of Bradenton, Florida, drove his 2010 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to the FS/D victory; Larry Hill of Hickory, Kentucky, won A/SA with his ’70 Plymouth Barracuda; Thomas Auger of Wales, Maine, won H/SA in his ’63 Dodge 383; Todd Hoven of Milltown, New Jersey, took home the AA/SA class Wally with a win in his ’63 Dodge Coronet; and Charles Myers of Winterville, North Carolina, won O/SA with his ’81 Dodge Mirada.
Jerry Hatch of Lubec, Maine, won the Best Appearing Car award with his SS/EA 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T powered by a 440 Six Pack engine.
Next week concludes the first three-week swing of the 2017 NHRA national event calendar with the 37th annual NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway on May 5 – 7. The track is located in Commerce, Georgia, 80 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. It was built in 1976 and has undergone a number of upgrades over the years since it was first graded to house an airport. Still, it is a track steeped with old-school character.
Jack Beckman has two wins at the track in Funny Car, while Ron Capps and Matt Hagan have one Wally apiece from Atlanta. Hagan won the event last year, where he also set the track elapsed time and top speed records. The event will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 throughout the weekend, with elimination rounds televised on Sunday, May 7, at 6 p.m. ET.
For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog, http://blog.mopar.com.
2017 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 6 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)
NHRA Funny Car
1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 518
2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (2) – 475
3. John Force (1) – 433
4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 390
5. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T – 375
6. Robert Hight – 365
7. Courtney Force – 343
8. J.R. Todd – 295
9. Jonnie Lindberg – 286
10. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger R/T – 242
NHRA Top Fuel
1. Leah Pritchett, Mopar Hemi® (3) – 569
2. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI (1) – 535
3. Antron Brown (1) – 501
4. Steve Torrence (1) – 470
5. Doug Kalitta – 417
6. Clay Millican – 330
7. Brittany Force – 316
8. Terry McMillen – 267
9. Troy Coughlin Jr. – 264
10. Scott Palmer – 212