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Oct 09, 2012 - 06:34 AM
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2012 NHRA: Mopar-Powered Gaines Wins In Pro Stock At Reading
Posted by: newsla on Oct 09, 2012 - 06:32 AM
2012 NHRA: Mopar-Powered Gaines Wins In Pro Stock At Reading; Gray Reaches Funny Car Final

V. Gaines was victorious in a Mopar®-powered Dodge Avenger in Pro Stock on Monday, Oct. 8, in the rain-delayed conclusion of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. For Gaines, it marked his first win of the season and fourth of his career.


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“All of us at Mopar would like to offer congratulations to V. Gaines on his big win at the NHRA Reading event,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “V. has been campaigning with Mopar power for many years and is a loyal and longstanding advocate for our brand. Mopar-powered Pro Stock cars have earned eight wins this year, and we look forward to V. and his fellow Mopar-powered drivers contending for more wins in the final two races of the season, as well as Allen Johnson continuing his battling for the championship.”

Gaines used a lap of 6.515-seconds at 212.26 mph in the final round to pick up the win over Dave Connolly, who fouled out on a red-light. On his way to the final Gaines downed Warren Johnson, Greg Anderson and Jason Line. The victory over Line, who is currently second in points, also greatly benefitted Pro Stock points leader Allen Johnson in his chase for a first Pro Stock title. Gaines opened the event as the No. 4 qualifier, and also recorded a career-best elapsed time of 6.489-seconds in the quarterfinals on Monday en route to the victory. Prior to his win at Reading, the last Pro Stock triumph for Gaines came at Phoenix in 2008, where he was victorious over Line.

“We finally showed this weekend that we can compete in the cold weather conditions,” said Gaines. “I wish I could say it was all because of the driver, but our car is so fantastic right now. We wanted to hang on to the No. 1 qualifying spot, but we still won the race. We’ll get the No. 1 spot sooner or later.”

Johnson, the current Pro Stock points leader, drove his Mopar Dodge Avenger to the quarterfinals at Reading, where he fell to Dave Connolly on a red-light foul. The native of Greeneville, Tenn., was the No. 6 qualifier and was paired up with teammate Vincent Nobile in the opening round, which was run on Sunday, Oct. 7. Johnson used a pass of 6.526/212.43 with a reaction time of 0.018 to win the Mopar vs. Mopar match-up with Nobile, who countered with a 6.547/211.36 and a blistering reaction time of 0.007.

The opening-round victory at Reading marked the 300th round win of Johnson’s career, which has spanned 17 years in a Mopar-powered Pro Stock car. With two races remaining in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Johnson holds an 82-point lead over Line.

“To still have a four or five round lead in points after the weekend is great for us,” said Johnson. “Las Vegas is up next and is always a really good track for me. We won there in the spring and have great notes for that track. I feel like we are in a pretty good position with two races remaining.”

Johnny Gray began his march to the Funny Car final round in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T by dispatching of Bob Tasca III in the opening round. In the quarterfinals, the native of Artesia, N.M., was victorious over his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, who earned a spot in the quarters after an opening round triumph over Courtney Force. The semifinals found another Mopar vs. Mopar pairing, with Gray using a starting line advantage coupled with a pass of 4.026/319.45 to pick up the win over Jack Beckman, who turned in a pass of 4.025/318.02.

By virtue of reaching the semifinals at Reading, along with receiving 20-bonus points earlier in the event for setting a new national elapsed time record, Beckman moved into the Funny Car points lead by 23 markers over fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T teammate Ron Capps, who he defeated in the quarterfinals.

Jeg Coughlin Jr., driver of the Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger, advanced to the Pro Stock semifinals on Monday in one of his best showings of the season, falling to Dave Connolly on a holeshot. Coughlin put up a 6.526/211.99 number with a reaction time of 0.023 to his opponent’s 6.535/212.19 mark with a near-perfect 0.004 reaction time.

ESPN2 will air one hour of eliminations coverage from Maple Grove Raceway tonight at 10 p.m. ET. Next up for Mopar-powered NHRA competitors is a trip to Las Vegas for the 12th Annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, Oct. 25–28, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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