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NHRA season ends with mixed results

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 4:21 PM EST. (Employee News)

Team Mopar® NHRA Full Throttle pro stock driver Allen Johnson wrapped up his 2009 season with a quarterfinals finish in the elimination rounds of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., on Nov. 15. Johnson knocked out Vinnie Deceglie in the first round before losing to Jason Line in the quarters.

Johnson, the No. 6 qualifier and driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T, drew Deceglie in an opening-round battle of J&J Racing-prepped Mopar HEMI®-powered Dodges. The left lane appeared problematic for the pro stockers during the first two matchups, prompting Johnson to switch to the right lane. The decision proved prescient as Johnson captured the round win with a 6.648-second elapsed time (ET) at 207.18 mph, with Deceglie struggling to make it down the track with a 7.187/128.19 mark.

Johnson squared off with Line in the second round. Johnson was first off the starting line with a reaction time of .023 (.000 is perfect) to Line’s mark of .057, but his lead was short-lived, as his Mopar Dodge shook the tires shortly after takeoff, bringing an end to his 2009 campaign.

“I’m not that happy with our ending today,” Johnson said. “I think we had a package there that maybe could have knocked him (Line) out. We had a really good light. It’s not the ending we wanted. But, you know, it’s been another year and we’re all safe. We’ll come back next year and try to get that title.”

Johnson finished the season with two victories, at the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka and the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver. The two triumphs were a single-season career high for the Greeneville, Tenn., native. The Team Mopar veteran also captured his seventh career No. 1 Qualifier Award at the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle. Johnson is scheduled to switch to a new Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Avenger in 2010.

Mopar-powered driver Johnny Gray went down in defeat in the first round, losing to Kurt Johnson. HEMI-powered pro stockers Larry Morgan and Rickie Jones also exited in the opening stanza. Allen Johnson finished seventh in the final NHRA pro stock countdown to 1 point standings, with Gray ninth and Jones 10th. The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will begin with the 50th Annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Feb. 11-14.

Capps finishes third in funny car standings

Mopar® HEMI®-powered NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T funny car driver Ron Capps reached the semifinal round at the 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals on Nov. 15 before he was defeated by Ashley Force Hood. Capps ended up third in the final 2009 NHRA Full Throttle funny car point standings, having earned the most class victories (five) this season.

En route to the semifinal, Capps dismissed Bob Tasca III in the opening round with a 4.312-second elapsed time at 236.67 mph, then disposed of his Mopar-fueled Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Matt Hagan in the second round, with a 4.144/310.48.

Force Hood was there for the taking after she launched with a .143 reaction time to Capps’ .086, but the veteran lost traction, allowing Force Hood to take the win with a 4.133/307.09 pass, while Capps followed with a losing 4.775/248.25.

“We were still on a mission to try to stand on the podium at the awards banquet in second place,” said Capps, who missed out on his fourth runner-up season finish by 48 points. “It would have been nice after winning five races this year to finish second. We ended up third, and that’s OK.”

Capps’ DSR teammate, Jack Beckman, lost in the opening round at Pomona, finishing fifth in the standings. Capps and Beckman (two wins) combined to drive Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Charger R/T funny cars to seven wins during the 2009 season.

Shaul claims stock eliminator victory at NHRA finals

John Shaul, of Fultonham, N.Y., drove his AA/SA 1964 Plymouth Fury to the overall stock eliminator class victory on Nov. 15 at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif.

The veteran Mopar® Sportsman driver defeated Tony Janes, Phil Mandella, Larry Petersen, Jeff Jerome (driving a 1973 Duster) and Jody Lang, in order, to set up his finals appearance against the 1969 Camaro of Jimmy DeFrank.

Shaul hauled in his Wally trophy by scoring a holeshot win against DeFrank. Shaul recorded an elapsed time of 9.772 seconds with a reaction time of .019 to DeFrank’s 9.736 run, paired with a slower .064 reaction time. Shaul’s margin of victory was 23 inches.
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