Mopar®/Dodge Notes & Quotes: Thunder Valley Nationals

7 years ago Racing

Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 10 Qualifier – 4.032 seconds at 316.15 mph

“There are not very many teams out here that are that prepared to pull a car out and have it really ready to run. It was completely ready to go. That’s off-season preparation, that’s (crew chief) Rahn Tobler. The dude is old-school. I’ve been very blessed to be able to race with an old-school guy. I’ve always said I felt like I was born 25 years too late. I would’ve fit right in with Jungle Jim (Liberman) and Snake (Don Prudhomme) and Mongoose (Tom McEwen) going around the country racing six nights a week. I would’ve been in heaven and I would’ve fit right in, believe me. So I love that era and I love the fact that I get to race with a guy like Tobler and Don Schumacher from that era.

“I grew up in California. I grew up as a little kid in California reading about Bristol. I wasn’t a kid that grew up loving astronauts and firemen, I loved these guys. You go down the list of people that used to race here, the history is unbelievable. You throw Father’s Day on top of it. I was blessed with a dad that took me to drag races every weekend. Whether we raced or not, we were at some drag race somewhere. Those were my weekends and I was okay with it. Now I get to take this (trophy) home to my dad.”

Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar® Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
No. 3 Qualifier – 3.795 seconds at 288.03 mph

“We definitely had a challenging weekend here at Bristol, I mean coming into race day, we didn’t make it to the finish line under full power. So, that was objective No. 1, was getting our tune-up right. We’re still working to perfect a hot track tune-up and (crew chief) Todd (Okuhara) and (assistant) Joe (Barlam) learned a lot. A combination of luck and trial-and-error and we moved back up to second and that’s good. We’re in this fight to keep it tight all season long.

“I want to say congratulations to Clay (Millican). That was a hard-fought win. He’s been racing for many years and the first one is always sweet. So, congrats to that entire team. It was a very deserving win and a pretty decent weekend for this Papa John’s team with Mopar and Pennzoil.

“I think all the NHRA teams are feeling the effects of this June Swing. Three straight with one more to go at Norwalk next weekend and we have to dig deep. We’re all hot and tired and I think going to a lower elevation and cooler temps next weekend in Ohio should play into our hands. This is a marathon, even though June feels like a sprint.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 3 Qualifier – 3.925 seconds at 326.00 mph

“Bristol is a big race at my home track. You want to win in front of your family and friends. We’ve had a pretty decent record here: won one, was runner-up and (went to the) semis now. So we’ll get there. That semifinal loss against (Ron) Capps, we should’ve won it. There was no reason not to. He went 4.04. We just needed to go down the racetrack. But at the end of the day, we didn’t. We’ll move on to Norwalk. I was pressing too hard and smoked the tires.

“Every race counts, every lap matters. Capps is starting to get a commanding lead on us. When we face him, we have to put him on the trailer.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 5 Qualifier – 3.959 seconds at 318.62 mph

“Nobody likes losing a final round but when I got back to the pits and (saw) the mood of this whole team, I know that we’re right back in the thick of this thing. We’re slowly getting our groove on and figuring out what the car wants and everybody’s excited. We didn’t get trounced, we lost a fantastic drag race. We both had good lights. Ron rolled in a little farther than me but if you look, those cars were welded together the whole way down the drag strip. They out-performed us by five thousandths of a second. That’s the way drag races should look and if we keep going the direction we are, those races will start going our way. I’m disappointed we lost; I can’t wait to get to Norwalk.”

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
No. 8 Qualifier – 4.000 seconds at 315.93 mph

“Unfortunately, the rain delay is what probably cost us the race. We were the car to beat coming into that semifinal round the way we were running in the heat. We do such a great job when the conditions are really bad. (The rain) kind of gave everybody else an opportunity and they got around us. I’m still happy with the weekend, not happy to go out in the semis, but still happy with how the car ran in the heat and the bad conditions. That’s what we’ve probably got coming up.”

Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
No. 6 Qualifier – 3.825 seconds at 322.27 mph

“It’s timing. It’s just the way the game is played. We are having incredibly bad luck when you beat almost every car out there but the one you’re racing. That’s the way it goes. Peaks come and they usually come at the right time. Our car has always been the car that at the end of the year is being raced against someone else for a championship. We’ll get it figured out. We’ll take the car back home. Brilliant minds will go to work, figure out a way and we’ll come up and do it again in Norwalk.”

Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global

“This stretch of success for Mopar teams in NHRA Nitro competition is simply incredible. Regardless of track conditions and any other obstacles, Mopar-backed teams at Don Schumacher Racing find a way to win. Congratulations to Ron Capps and his Dodge Charger R/T team on the victory at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.”

Next Event

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series wraps up its grueling four-race stretch through the month of June next week with a trip to the Buckeye State. The 11th annual NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, are scheduled for June 22 – 25. Last year, Mopar driver Ron Capps took the event win in Funny Car to claim three of the four June races en route to his first championship. This year, he’ll head to Norwalk looking for his sixth win of the season.

Capps’ Mopar teammate Jack Beckman has won at the glistening Norwalk facility twice in Funny Car, while Mopar Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher has claimed one event victory there.

The third Factory Stock Showdown of 2017 will also be part of the festivities at Summit Motorsports Park.

The NHRA Nationals will air on FOX Sports 1 throughout the weekend, with Sunday’s elimination rounds slated for broadcast at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 25.

For more information on Mopar and Dodge in NHRA, check out the Mopar brand’s official blog,

2017 NHRA Championship – Point Standings After Round 11 of 24

(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car

  1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger R/T (5) – 1,044
  2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger R/T (3) – 881
    3. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 748
  3. Robert Hight – 707
  4. Courtney Force – 704
  5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger R/T (1) – 663
  6. John Force (1) – 641
  7. Tim Wilkerson – 490
  8. J.R. Todd – 476
  9. Cruz Pedregon – 397

NHRA Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence (3) – 954
  2. Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI® (3) – 943
  3. Antron Brown (2) – 934
  4. Tony Schumacher, Mopar HEMI (1) – 801
  5. Doug Kalitta – 678
  6. Brittany Force (1) – 649
  7. Clay Millican (1) – 639
  8. Troy Coughlin Jr. – 443
  9. Scott Palmer – 432
  10. Terry McMillen – 424



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