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Aug 18, 2014 - 06:50 AM
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2014 NHRA: Mopar Motorsports- NHRA Brainerd Race Report
Posted by: newsla on Aug 18, 2014 - 06:49 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Mopar Motorsports- NHRA Brainerd Race Report


Scattered showers delayed the completion of eliminations rounds at the 33rd annual Lucas Oil National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Nationals on Sunday until finally the race against darkness at Brainerd International Raceway, a facility without lighting to enable might racing, was lost. The decision was made by NHRA officials to postpone the Funny Car category final and Pro Stock class semifinals and final until the next scheduled event, the 60th annual U.S. Nationals set for Aug 27- Sept. 1, in Indianapolis.

 

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Defending title winner the last two years and No. 2 qualifier, Ron Capps drove his Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger R/T between intermittent rain delays and through Funny Car eliminations to advance to what would have been his fourth straight final round appearance at Brainerd International Raceway. Capps defeated Jeff Arend, Mopar teammate Jack Beckman and semifinalist Alexis DeJoria, to meet up with nemesis John Force in a final showdown, with the winner to be determined at the U.S. Nationals in the third Funny Car qualifying session scheduled for Sept. 30 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.

"It's a little bittersweet because this place has become like family to me," Capps said after his semifinal win at Brainerd. "We've run so well here winning the last two years and going to the final the year before that. I'm bummed that we can't run the final in front of these passionate fans that stuck around all day. If you put together a week in the Zoo (track campground) and being in the grandstands all weekend and with the rain today, these are some of the best fans we have on the circuit."

Capps sits third in the Funny Car standings.

Similarly, Mopar Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin Jr., also a four-time winner at this event, beat Larry Morgan and Deric Kramer with the JEGS.com Dodge Dart to advance to a semifinal match-up against Vincent Nobile. That meeting has now been rescheduled to occur at the U.S. Nationals during the fourth qualifying session for the factory hot rod category.

Coughlin’s HEMI®-powered teammate Allen Johnson, after earning his first No. 1 qualifier position at this venue, had a bye for the opening round then lined up his "Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar" against Vincent Nobile. Unfortunately, irregular power fluctuations due to a spark plug malfunction hampered any forward motion for Johnson’s Dodge Dart in a second round loss.

Competing on a part-time basis, Dodge Avenger driver Deric Kramer used a .004 reaction time and a 6.64 second e.t. run to post a first round hole shot win over Greg Anderson’s 6.574 (209.39 mph) before his second round loss to Coughlin. HEMI-powered Dodge Dart driver V. Gaines, runner-up at this event last year, saw his day come to a quick end with a first round loss to Shane Gray.

While official points won’t be distributed until the finals for this event are completed at Indianapolis, Johnson currently falls to third in the Pro Stock standings behind new points leader Jason Line, who also advanced to the postponed semifinals, and Erica Enders Stevens in the second place after she suffered a first round loss. Coughlin sits in fourth place pending results from the rescheduled elimination rounds.

In Funny Car competition, all four DSR Dodge Charger R/T machines saw second round action with Tommy Johnson Jr. appearing in his third semifinal of the year by beating Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca sustaining the loss to John Force.

Matt Hagan had a solid first run with a 4.018 second (318.99 mph) lap to tie the track record for elapsed time pass in a win over Chad Head. In Hagan’s second round match-up, the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T raced to an equally impressive 4.056 second (318.77 mph) e.t. only to be outrun by the first sub four-second pass in Brainerd International Raceway’s history as Alexis DeJoria reset the track record to 3.998 seconds (315.93 mph) in the next lane.

"Obviously, we'd like to be going rounds and move up a few spots in the points standings," Hagan said. "But on the flip side, we qualified in the top half at No. 3, ran really good first round and we missed it a little bit in the second round. That's part of it. You put nitro in the tank, sometimes you don't know what you're going to get. We'll role into Indy test and try to figure some more things out, but we tip our caps to (crew chief) Tommy (DeLago), Alexis (DeJoria) and that Patron team. That was a phenomenal lap."

Still working hard to crack into the Funny Car top-10 with one event remaining to make the playoffs, Jack Beckman got a little closer by defeating Cruz Pedregon in the first round. He then drove his Dodge Charger R/T to a quicker 4.046 second pass against DSR teammate Capps, who beat him on a hole shot with a 4.049 sec run and a margin of victory equaling less than four-thousandths of-a-second. With the result, Beckman trails tenth place driver Wilkerson by just 16 points.

The next stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule will be the prestigious 60th anniversary edition of the U.S. Nationals, Aug. 27-Sept. 1 , in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2014 NHRA Points Standings
(UNOFFICIAL points following the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Eliminations)

PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)
1. Jason Line – 1278* (1)
2. Erica Enders-Stevens – 1269* (4)
3. Allen Johnson – Dodge Dart – 1262* (4)
4. Jeg Coughlin Jr. – Dodge Dart – 1202* (2)
5. Dave Connolly – 1130* (1)
6. Shane Gray – 1068*
7. Vincent Nobile – 1032* (1)
8. V. Gaines – Dodge Dart – 774
9. Chris McGaha – 750
10. Greg Anderson – 685

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Robert Hight – 1308* (5)
2. John Force – 1306* (2)
3. Ron Capps – Dodge Charger R/T – 1070 (1)
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. – Dodge Charger R/T – 1052 (1)
5. Alexis DeJoria – 1035 (2)
6. Courtney Force – 1015 (2)
7. Matt Hagan – Dodge Charger R/T – 1009 (1)
8. Del Worsham – 1000
9. Cruz Pedregon – 929 (1)
10. Tim Wilkerson – 848
11. Jack Beckman – Dodge Charger R/T – 832

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