April 26, 2015 , Baytown, Texas - Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Ron Capps earned his second national title victory of the year with a trip to the winner’s circle at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) SpringNationals near Houston on a day recognized by Mopar fans as HEMI® Day (4/26) named after the legendary 426 HEMI engine which helped power the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T to its fifth win in six events since making its debut this season.
“I’m very pleased to see how well the Don Schumacher Racing team has embraced the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car and taken it to the winner’s circle for a fifth time this season with a victory by Ron Capps at the SpringNationals,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO – Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care. “Everyone at Mopar is looking forward to seeing this team and the new Mopar contend for many more wins this year and work to defend the championship.”
Seeded third, Capps faced his DSR teammate and No.1 qualifier Jack Beckman for the all-Mopar final elimination in what was a close race until the midway point where both drivers began to haze the tires. Capps crossed the finish first with a 4.244 second elapsed time run at 258.32 mile per hour (mph) to beat Beckman’s 4.480/205.16 pass to post his 44th career Funny Car victory putting him second on the all-time list.
This is Capps’ third title win in Houston (2006-2007) and his third final round appearance of the 2015 season. The first came in the season opening event at Pomona against DSR teammate and 2014 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan, followed by a coveted national title victory at the Gatornationals. With his winning performance at the SpringNationals, Capps takes over the lead in the Funny Car points standings from his teammate Matt Hagan.
“That new car is just so nice to drive,” said Capps who credits the increased visibility of the newly designed Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for his team’s early success this year. “I said it in Gainesville, the only bad thing is that now I can see out the side windows and that not a good thing when I’ve got a fender going 300 miles per hour out my window, but it’s exciting. It’s great to give the new Charger another win as hard as everyone worked at Dodge to make that body possible. I was like a little kid starting over as a rookie when they brought that car to the race track. I thought, “Man this is the greatest thing ever”. I forgot how good it was to drive a car like that. This is huge.”
Beckman, who posted the track’s very first three-second run on Friday night, saw his runner-up finish and No.1 qualifier position propel him and his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T from tenth in the standings to sixth.
"I'm complaining about a runner-up finish because we are that good now," said Beckman about his second trip to the final round of eliminations this year after a win at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals a few weeks ago in Charlotte. "We had a malfunction in the fuel system, the slide valve which bypasses fuel, the fuel curve was off. We didn't have time to check it on the warm-up because you lose 20 minutes of turnaround time (for live television). This is the downside about live television. You take a chance of not getting into your normal routine. You have to take some shortcuts for the quick turnaround times and in our case it bit us. It bit Capps’ team too. They didn't make an optimal run, theirs was just better than ours.”
All four DSR entries were paired up against each other in the quarterfinals with Beckman defeating Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T, while Capps beat reigning world champion Matt Hagan when the Rocky Boots/ Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T dropped some cylinders on the pass.
"We race a lot against Ron (Capps)," said Hagan, who is now second in the standings, six points behind Capps. "You want to win against your teammates more than anyone else because you know they are the best cars out here. They have the same parts as us and it's all about who does a better job on the racetrack and they got us today."
In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson and his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart faced a difficult first round match-up against the current NHRA champ and defending event winner, Erica Enders-Stevens, after qualifying 13th, the lowest the Mopar driver has been seeded since 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Johnson’s quick 0.004 second reaction time off the starting line against Enders-Stevens (0.005) wasn’t quite enough to give him an advantage at the other end of the racetrack. Johnson posted a 6.617/209.36 pass to Enders-Stevens’ lap of 6.562/209.46. Enders-Stevens went on to defend her national title at Houston and take the lead in the Pro Stock standings.
“Fuel got us again even though we thought we had it figured out last night,” Johnson said. “It’s got us by the cahoochies. We thought we fixed it and then on that run it came right back. We’re going to have to go test somewhere in humidity (where the problem seems more evident) and run until we wear everything out and get it worked out. We don’t give up but right now this problem is like a big sledgehammer on the head. I knew if we made a good run, I could beat her and I got everything but the running part done. It’s not one person’s fault. It’s just something with this new fuel that seems to be plaguing the HEMI engines worse than any other motor. We’re being methodical and hunting in every direction to get this solved. We won’t give up.”
Johnson’s new teammate Richie Stevens Jr., who was seeded 15th for eliminations, was seemingly a little too anxious to get going in his first elimination round match-up against Shane Grey and turned on the red right fouling out by -0.011 seconds.
“I knew I had to go up there and push it because he was faster than us in qualifying and I was pretty good on the tree all weekend,” Stevens Jr. said. “I wasn’t nervous or overly excited heading in and I felt good on the tree but evidently I was 11 thousandths too quick. I threw it away before it started. We’ll be back for Englishtown where I’ve had a lot of success so I’m looking forward to that one.”
After qualifying sixth overall, the HEMI-powered Dodge Dart driven by V. Gaines (6.581/210.47) didn’t fare any better with a first round loss to Larry Morgan (6.559/211.53)
Mopar racers will see action next at the 35th annual NHRA Southern Nationals, the seventh event on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, set for May 15–17 at Atlanta Dragway, near Atlanta, Georgia.
2015 NHRA Championship Points Standings
(following the NHRA SpringNationals near Houston):
PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)
1.         Erica Enders Stevens – 510 (2)
2.         Jason Line – 495 (1)
3.         Greg Anderson – 458 (1)
4.         Chris McGaha – 432
5.         Rodger Brogdon – 385 (1)
6.         Vincent Nobile – 337
7.         Drew Skillman – 334
8.         Larry Morgan – 320 (1)
9.         Shane Gray – 295
10.       Allen Johnson (Dodge Dart) – 280
13.       V Gaines (Dodge Dart) – 211
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1.         Ron Capps (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 431 (2)
2.         Matt Hagan (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 425 (2)
3.         Del Worsham – 401
4.         Robert Hight – 397
5.         Tommy Johnson Jr. (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 369
6.         Jack Beckman (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 353 (1)
7t.        Alexis DeJoria – 328
7t.        John Force – 328 (1)
9.         Courtney Force – 301
10.       Cruz Pedregon– 291   
About Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product, but it truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.

Today, Mopar is FCA’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 27 customer contact hubs globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.

Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles. This offers a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at: www.mopar.com.

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 customers
  • Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. 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 interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
  • wiADVISOR: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
  • wiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
  • 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car