By Patrick Rall
This past weekend, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series
descended on Bandimere Speedway in Denver Colorado for the Mopar Mile High
Nationals and the Dodge drivers made sure to show up strong to the event
bearing the Mopar name – with an all-Dodge final run in Pro Stock and a Dodge
Charger taking the win in the Funny Car class.
Allen Johnson (above) took the Team Mopar Avenger into the
Sunday’s elimination runs as the top qualifier, having turned in a best ET and
trap speed of 6.951 at 198.29 miles per hour.
V. Gaines qualified in the third position and he was joined by fellow
Dodge Avenger drivers Vincent Nobile (7th), Jeg Coughlin (8th)
and Deric Kramer (12th) as there were a total of five Mo-powered
entries in the 16 car field. In the
first round, Coughlin lost to Greg Anderson and Kramer lost to Jason Line in
his first ever NHRA Pro Stock elimination round. Vincent Nobile beat Warren Johnson while V.
Gaines took down Kurt Johnson even though Kurt pulled perfect .000 reaction
time. Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson turned in the fastest time and the
fastest trap speed of the first round with a 6.91 at 198.70 miles per hour as
three Avengers moved onto the second round.
In round two, Nobile beat Mike Edwards, V. Gaines beat Larry
Morgan and Allen Johnson avenged Jeg Coughlin – knocking Greg Anderson out of
the competition. Once again, Johnson
turned in the fastest time and speed of the round with a 6.945 at 198.15mph.
In round three, V. Gaines and Vincent Nobile went head to
hear with Gaines’ Kendall Oil Avenger taking the win while Allen Johnson
continued to dominate – beating Jason Line and again turning in the best run of
the round with a 6.936 at 198.17mph.
In the finals, Allen Johnson and his Mopar Avenger took on V.
Gaines and his Kendall Oil Avenger and – as the case had been all day – Johnson
turned in the top time for the round and won the Pro Stock finals. With the win, Allen Johnson has moved into
first place in the 2012 Pro Stock season standings.
Over in the Funny Car class, the group of 16 offered 4 Dodge
Chargers with Jack Beckman (shown above) turning in the top qualifying time in his
Valvoline Charger funny car with an incredible 4.131 at 304.05 miles per hour. Ron Capps qualified 3rd in the
NAPA Auto Parts Charger, Matt Hagan qualified 9th with his
Mopar/Aaron’s Charger and Johnny Gray headed into eliminations in the 11th
slot with his Big O Tires Dodge Charger funny car.
In round one, Ron Capps beat Alexis DeJoria in the Patron
Tequila Camry and Jack Beckman beat Todd Simpson in the Simpson Racing Camaro while
Matt Hagan lost to Jeff Arend in the DHL Camry and Johnny Gray lost to Mike
Neff in the Castrol GTX Mustang. With an
ET of 4.235, Capps turned in the quickest pass of the run while Mike Neff had
the best trap speed in the first round as he beat Johnny Gray with a speed of
299.00mph – over 3 miles per hour faster than Capps.
That set up an exciting round two matchup between Ron Capps
and Mike Neff but Neff’s Mustang couldn’t back up his earlier numbers. Even though Neff ran the quicker time and
speed, Capps posted a starting line advantage that the Ford could not
overcome. Neff actually had the best run
of the second round but lost due to his poor reaction time. Capps would be the fastest of the cars to win
in round two while Beckman was the second quickest as he beat Jeff Arend.
In the third round, Jack Beckman took on series legend John
Force but Force redlit- giving the win to Beckman and the Charger. In the other pairing, Courtney Force turned
in the best time of the round, beating Capps with her Traxxis Mustang.
In the finals, Courtney Force brought her Traxxis Mustang
head to head with top qualifier Jack Beckman and his Valvoline Dodge
Charger. When the green light dropped,
the starting line was almost dead even with the Mustang holding a lead at the
330 foot mark but Beckman edged ahead at the top end with a time of 4.277 to