Two Championships And A Win For Mopar In NHRA Finals
Mopar-powered Dodge driver V. Gaines (No.7 in the final standings) exited in the quarterfinals against Erica Enders on a red-light foul after he left the starting line too early. Chris McGaha bowed out in the opening round in his Dodge.
Whereas Johnson locked up the 2012 NHRA Pro Stock championship during qualifying on Saturday, the NHRA Funny Car crown came down to a final-day slugfest between a pair of Mopar HEMI-powered heavyweights, lasting until the second-to-last round of the season. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) duo of Jack Beckman and Ron Capps treated the NHRA Finals audience to an entertaining back-and-forth battle that saw the lead change hands five times.
Beckman entered the day with a miniscule two-point lead over Capps, who was first out of the pair in the opening round. Capps seized the points lead, defeating Tony Pedregon with a 4.092/311.13 effort, but Beckman quickly regained it by powering to a win over Alexis Dejoria with a 4.038/317.19 pass.
With the onus back on Capps in the quarterfinals, the veteran racer came through with a defeat of Robert Hight, laying down a number of 4.071/315.19. Beckman held serve with a hearty exclamation point, trailering Jeff Arend with a 4.027/317.79 mark, the quickest of the round, and again retaking the lead by two points.Those two points made all the difference. Capps, needing to win to stay alive, came up just short against Courtney Force in the semifinals, his 4.091/313.95 not enough to best Force's 4.069/318.25. Already declared champ, Beckman also fell in the semis, losing to Cruz Pedregon. The crown was the first for Beckman and second straight for a Mopar-powered DSR driver in Funny Car and third for a Mopar in the last eight years ( Gary Scelzi claimed the 2005 championship in a DSR Mopar Dodge). "You think about this and dream about this but I couldn't root against my teammate Ron Capps," said Beckman who watched from the seat of his Dodge Charger R/T in the staging lane as his Don Schumacher Racing teammate lost the semi-final round to give him the Championship win. "The team let me know that we just won it but I couldn't celebrate as I was trying to win the round but we even though we didn't, I'm not too upset about it." A pair of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T drivers fell in the first round. Johnny Gray exited in a first-round loss to Hight and finished the season sixth in the points. Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, the 2011 Funny Car champion, was defeated by Force and wrapped up his season 11th in the standings. The 2013 NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series will kickoff at the same venue where the 2012 season ended, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif., with the 53rd Annual NHRA Winter Nationals, scheduled for Feb. 14–17, 2013. For more information on the NHRA, visit www.nhra.com. About Mopar Motorsports Mopar's commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950's when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer, Don Garlits. Combined efforts between Garlits and the Mopar brand resulted in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in a HEMI-powered car over the next several decades. Mopar has remained a fixture on the racing scene in the North America ever since and is currently involved with the NHRA, NASCAR, USAC and TORC series. Mopar also sponsors many motorsports events, including title sponsorship of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado for nearly 25 consecutive years; and it is a proud supporter of amateur racing within NHRA and USAC. Mopar-First Features Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owners a text when the vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
- Camper trailers: first to introduce off-road camper trailers
- WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
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