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Mopar Motorsports NHRA Phoenix Race Report

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Mopar versus Mopar Funny Car Final at Phoenix

Phoenix, Ariz.February 24, 2013;

It was an all Mopar final in Funny Car competition, as Don Schumacher Racing teammates Matt Hagan and Ron Capps faced-off at the Arizona Nationals, the second event on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar. Capps followed up his runner-up finish in last weekend’s season opener at Pomona with a dominating title win by posting a 4.064 second run, his fourth straight 4.0 in his Dodge Charger R/T, to beat his Mopar teammate Hagan's 4.15 second pass.  It was Capps' 38th career Funny Car victory and his third at Firebird International Raceway.

“All of us at Mopar would like to offer congratulations to Ron Capps for his two consecutive final round appearances and a big win in Phoenix,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The Mopar-powered Funny Car package looks strong again this year, and we look forward to Ron and his Don Schumacher Racing teammates contending for more wins in defense of the Championship title throughout what is sure to be an exciting and competitive season.”

“We are starting to feel like we are getting into the same rhythm that we were last year when we went to six finals in a row,” said Capps, who finished runner-up in the 2012 Funny Car Championship by just two points. “I think that both (crew chief) Rahn (Tobler) and I built up some confidence in each other at Pomona, and now here.”

For Hagan, his runner-up finish was a sign of good things to come for what is essentially a brand new Mopar team with the pre-season addition of crew chief Dickie Venables, assistant Mike Knudsen and a number of new crew members.

"I am extremely, extremely, extremely proud of this new, young, race team," Hagan said. "For our second race together to come out here and go to the final, that's huge. We have a lot still to learn but I think it's just a taste of what you're going to see this year out of this team. We take what we learned here and we move toward Gainesville."

With the result, Capps takes over the lead in the Funny Car standings with 210 points while Hagan moves into the third spot with 151 points.

Fellow DSR teammates didn’t fair quite as well with losses in the first round of eliminations. Johnny Gray, who was No.1 qualifier for the event, didn’t have the run he was hoping for when, following a pedalfest, his pass was disqualified after making contact with the wall at the 1000 foot mark. He is currently fifth in points with 122. Jack Beckman’s efforts were hampered with traction issues right at the start of his run, and with two first-round losses in as many events, the defending Funny Car World Champion temporarily drops out of the top-10 in the standings into 11th place.

In Pro Stock competition, all four full-time HEMI-powered Mopars advanced from their first elimination match-ups with Jeg Coughlin Jr. setting the lowest elapsed time for the round with a 6.537 sec and 212.49 mph pass. The quarterfinals, however, were a different story as all four saw their race day cut short.

Defending NHRA World Champion, Allen Johnson’s quarterfinal run elapsed time of 6.549 seconds was beaten on a holeshot by Greg Anderson’s 6.551 pass. Coughlin had an identical .022 second reaction time to his competitor Jason Line but lost the round with a 6.538 to 6.581 difference.

V. Gaines was defeated by Erica Enders who won with a .033 to .074 holeshot after both cars posted identical runs of 6.553 seconds. Vincent Nobile’s .025 second reaction time was beaten by No. 1 qualifier Mike Edwards’ .013 and then at the line by a 6.505 to 6.582 second difference.

Enders went on to earn her fifth career Pro Stock title by defeating Edwards with a holeshot win in the final round to move into second place in the standings.

Nobile still leads the Pro Stock Standings with 171 points, while Coughlin (149 points) is fourth, Gaines (142 points) is fifth and Johnson (107) is tied for seventh place.  

It has been a solid start to the 2013 NHRA season for Mopar with wins in the first two races with Capps’ Funny Car victory this weekend in Phoenix and Pro Stock HEMI-powered Nobile’s title win at Pomona. Mopar will work to make it three in a row as teams and drivers prepare for the 44th Annual NHRA Gatornationals, the traditional east coast opening event and the third of 24 events on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule slated to take place in Gainesville, Fla. on March 14-17.

2013 NHRA Championship Points Standings (after 2 races):
Funny Car
1. Ron Capps Dodge Charger R/T- 210
2. Courtney Force -165
3. Matt Hagan Dodge Charger R/T - 151
4. Bob Tasca III - 124
5. Johnny Gray Dodge Charger R/T - 122
6. Cruz Pedregon - 117
7. John Force - 106
8. Tim Wilkerson - 106
9. Todd Lesenko Dodge - 102
10. Robert Hight - 83
11. Jack Beckman Dodge Charger R/T - 75
Pro Stock
1. Vincent Nobile Dodge Avenger - 171
2. Erica Enders-Stevens - 155
3. Mike Edwards - 153
4. Jeg Coughlin Dodge Avenger - 149
5. V. Gaines  Dodge Avenger - 142
6. Jason Line - 119
7. Greg Anderson - 109
7. Allen Johnson Dodge Avenger - 109
9. Greg Stanfield - 104
10. Shane Gray - 83
10. Chris McGaha Dodge - 83
About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2013, Mopar looks to defend its two NHRA 2012 World Championship titles in Pro Stock and Funny Car categories, and celebrates 25 consecutive years as title sponsor of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar Sportsman Cup.
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 and first to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
  • 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 owner a text when 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
  • Brand-specific customer care telephone lines: first to offer Sunday service hours for customers
  • WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
About the Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. With the creation of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. partnership, Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Combined with Fiat S.p.A., Mopar’s global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 countries. Mopar is the source for all genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. vehicles — a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at
More than 75 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for antifreeze product in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s — the muscle-car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. The brand has expanded to include technical service and customer support.