By Patrick Rall
Team Mopar had a chance to take back to back double wins this past weekend at Summit Raceway Park in Norwalk Ohio with a pair of Dodge Chargers in the Funny Car finals and the top qualifier over in the Pro Stock class but in the end – only Johnny Gray was able to take home a win from Norwalk.
Things got started off well for the Team Mopar in the NHRA Pro Stock class this past weekend when Allen Johnson grabbed the top qualifying spot with a fast pass of 6.592 at 209.75 miles per hour. In fact, all four of the Dodge Avenger race cars qualified in the top 6 with Jeg Coughlin qualifying 3rd, V Gaines qualifying 4th and Vincent Nobile qualifying 6th. Round 1 went great for all four drivers with Gaines beating Kenny Delco, Coughlin taking down Steve Spiess and Nobile beating Steve Kent while Allen Johnson got the easy win with a first round bye run. Much like qualifying, Johnson turned the best time of round 1 on that free pass.
In round 2, Johnson again ran the fastest pass of the round as he beat Jason Line and in a battle of the Mopars, Vincent Nobile took down Jeg Coughlin in a very close run. Unfortunately for V Gaines, troubles at the starting line sent him home as Shane Grey got the easy win. In round 3, Johnson knocked out Shane Grey while Vincent Nobile lost to class leader Mike Edwards – who turned the best pass of the round against Nobile’s Avenger. In the finals, Allen Johnson got the Mopar Avenger out to an early lead but when he ran into traction problems, it handed Mike Edwards his 4th win of the 2013 season.
On the season, Allen Johnson sits second in the run for the championship, 153 points behind Edwards. Jeg Coughlin is 3rd (198 back of Edwards), Vincent Nobile is 6th (468 points back) and V Gaines is in the 10th spot, 629 out of first.
While the Team Mopar drivers in the Funny Car class weren’t able to tie down the top qualifying spot, Chargers landed in the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 14th and 16th thanks to Ron Capps, Johnny Gray, Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman, Jeff Arend and Blake Alexander in that order. In round 1, 4 of the 6 Team Mopar drivers moved on as Blake Alexander lost to top qualifier John Force and Jeff Arend lost to fellow Charger driver Ron Capps. Beckman made short work of Cruz Pedregon, Gray beat Alexis DeJoria, Hagan beat Tony Pedregon and as mentioned – Capps beat Arend.
In round 2, Beckman took on fast qualifier John Force and won when Force’s Mustang ran into traction issues. Gray knocked out Chad Head with a big hole shot win and in a battle of the Mopar heavy hitters, Ron Capps beat Matt Hagan with the fastest run of the round. In round 3, Beckman befell the same traction fate as Force in round 2 and that gave an easy win to Johnny Gray while Ron Capps beat John’s daughter Courtney Force to go onto the finals. In the final run, Johnny Gray pulled a slight advantage of around 6 thousandths of a second and when both he and Capps ran identical 4.103 ETs – Gray got the big win. That is how drag racing is done.
With the win, Johnny Gray pulled within 101 points of series point leader and fellow Team Mopar driver Matt Hagan. Ron Capps sits in the 4th spot 127 points back while Jack Beckman sits in the 6th spot, 167 points out of first.