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Schumacher, Capps, Coughlin reign in Thunder Valley

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 17, 2018 at 9:26 PM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Sarge was back in charge and Ron Capps had a repeat performance Sunday at Bristol Dragway.

Tony Schumacher, the driver of the Army dragster who carries the nickname “The Sarge,” won his record sixth NHRA Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals title and extended his Top Fuel record with his 84th career victory, the most ever in the class.

Capps drove his Dodge Charger to the Funny Car win for the second straight year and scored his category-best fifth victory overall at Bristol. The pair of Nitro class victories marked the 300th and 301st career wins for car owner Don Schumacher.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. scored his 60th career win in Pro Stock, beating rival Greg Anderson in the final round.

Photos from Day 3 of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

TOP FUEL

Schumacher defeated surprising Mike Salinas in the final round for his first win since Gainesville, Fla., in 2017. Salinas noted that Schumacher was the first driver he ever faced in an elimination round. But it was a determined Schumacher who made a clean pass down the track after reaching the 150th final round of his career.

His winning run was 3.946 seconds at 313.58 mph after Salinas broke traction and went 5.251 seconds at 152.18 mph.

“Today was great. The car was good all weekend,” said Schumacher, an eight-time NHRA Top Fuel champion. “I was praying to have just enough, and we had just enough a couple of times there. The track was tough, and we talk about being adaptable. When you have smart people around you, they make changes to adapt to the situation. We had to adapt to the racing surface, and make big changes, and it paid off.”

FUNNY CAR

Capps’ victory was the 59th of his career and the 10th year in a row he has won at least one race. Capps had to beat 16-time champion John Force and defending champion Robert Hight in the first two rounds. He downed J.R. Todd in the semifinals and then Bob Tasca’s Ford in the final.

Capps had a winning pass of 4.234 seconds and 296.37 mph to beat Tasca at 4.300 and 286.98 mph.

“You just feed off the fans and there’s something about this place where the fans here are second to none,” Capps said. “This is an oasis. We love coming here, and you can’t find a finer facility than this place.

“I’m so blessed to drive this car. This trophy is going to Don Schumacher on Father’s Day. It’s well deserved.”

PRO STOCK

Coughlin got down the track at 6.709 seconds at 205.10 mph for his second win at Bristol and his third straight weekend with a race win after winning in Pro Stock at Chicago and in Super Comp at Richmond.

“Nothing wrong with a little hat trick, right?” Coughlin said. “We showed our ways racing to the checkers at Chicago and came back here at Bristol. That feels fantastic.

“This is my home away from home in this Camaro SS. We had a car that was fastest three of the four rounds. We had the lane choice against Greg, and when we rolled out, I was like, ‘Let’s get it to the finish line first.’ ”

Anderson reached a milestone for a second straight day. His final-round appearance was the 151st of his career, tying him with Warren Johnson for the Pro Stock record. It came one day after Anderson clinched his 100th career No. 1 qualifying award.


 

NHRA FITZGERALD USA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS

Sunday

At Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.

Final Finish Order

Top Fuel

1. Tony Schumacher. 2. Mike Salinas. 3. Steve Torrence. 4. Scott Palmer. 5. Pat Dakin. 6. Doug Kalitta. 7. Antron Brown. 8. Clay Millican. 9. Brittany Force. 10. Leah Pritchett. 11. Shawn Reed. 12. Richie Crampton. 13. Dom Lagana. 14. Bill Litton. 15. Terry Totten. 16. Terry McMillen.

Funny Car

1. Ron Capps. 2. Bob Tasca III. 3. Courtney Force. 4. J.R. Todd. 5. Robert Hight. 6. Jack Beckman. 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.. 8. Cruz Pedregon. 9. Tim Wilkerson. 10. Del Worsham. 11. Jonnie Lindberg. 12. Shawn Langdon. 13. Jim Campbell. 14. Matt Hagan. 15. John Force. 16. Jeff Diehl.

Pro Stock

1. Jeg Coughlin. 2. Greg Anderson. 3. Tanner Gray. 4. Drew Skillman. 5. Erica Enders. 6. Vincent Nobile. 7. Tim Freeman. 8. Chris McGaha. 9. Jason Line. 10. Bo Butner. 11. Alex Laughlin. 12. John Gaydosh Jr. 13. Wally Stroupe. 14. Alan Prusiensky. 15. Deric Kramer. 16. Tommy Lee.

Final Results

Top Fuel—Tony Schumacher, 3.946 seconds, 313.58 mph def. Mike Salinas, 5.251 seconds, 152.18 mph.

Funny Car—Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.234, 296.37 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.300, 286.98.

Pro Stock—Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.709, 205.10 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.741, 205.07.

Pro Modified—Khalid alBalooshi, Chevy Camaro, 5.924, 247.38 def. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.948, 242.10.

Top Fuel Harley—Tii Tharpe, Dixie, 6.491, 220.33 def. Doug Vancil, Weekend, Foul - Red Light.

Factory Stock Showdown—Joseph Welch, Dodge Dodge Challenger, 8.275, 164.67 def. Arthur Kohn, Chevy Camaro, Foul - Red Light.

Super Stock—Scott Stillings, Pontiac Grand Am, 8.854, 148.72 def. Ed Longhany Sr., Plymouth Duster, 10.690, 121.79.

Stock Eliminator—Eddie Longhany Jr, Chevy Camaro, 10.698, 118.70 def. Joe Santangelo, Camaro, 10.686, 113.69.

Super Comp—Tyler Caheely, Dragster, 8.928, 170.71 def. Jacob Elrod, Dragster, 8.930, 165.01.

Super Gas—Steve Furr, Chevy Camaro, 9.917, 160.81 def. Ray Miller III, Chevy Camaro, 9.927, 164.21.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com—Jeff Brooks, Henry J, 6.720, 206.29 def. Royce Freeman, Chevy Camaro, 6.933, 202.18.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com—Aaron Stanfield, Dragster, 6.320, 217.84 def. Joe Fisher, Dragster, 6.498, 197.54.

Round by round

Top Fuel

Round One—Mike Salinas, 4.023, 295.53 def. Leah Pritchett, 4.011, 287.72. Scott Palmer, 4.017, 304.39 def. Bill Litton, 4.172, 261.07. Clay Millican, 4.018, 295.14 def. Terry Totten, 4.542, 182.58. Tony Schumacher, 3.917, 316.82 def. Terry McMillen, 5.112, 141.40. Antron Brown, 3.897, 316.82 def. Richie Crampton, 4.057, 297.22. Doug Kalitta, 3.998, 286.38 def. Brittany Force, 3.942, 307.51. Steve Torrence, 3.970, 303.71 def. Shawn Reed, 4.018, 283.25. Pat Dakin, 4.015, 307.30 def. Dom Lagana, 4.107, 272.12.

Quarterfinals—Salinas, 4.035, 299.20 def. Millican, 9.938, 76.57. Palmer, 4.067, 302.41 def. Kalitta, 4.292, 230.92. Schumacher, 4.028, 288.64 def. Dakin, 4.041, 298.14. Torrence, 4.232, 253.33 def. Brown, 5.090, 155.65.

Semifinals—Salinas, 4.042, 301.07 def. Palmer, 4.356, 211.89. Schumacher, 4.038, 297.02 def. Torrence, 4.104, 254.04.

Final—Schumacher, 3.946, 313.58 def. Salinas, 5.251, 152.18.

Funny Car

Round One—Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.757, 227.23 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.978, 124.51. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.169, 307.65 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.382, 262.18. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.213, 300.26 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.362, 252.61. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.133, 303.09 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.183, 289.82. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.582, 229.00 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 5.030, 159.02. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.243, 296.37 def. John Force, Camaro, 5.824, 128.57. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.283, 281.30 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.569, 266.37. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.253, 291.26 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 5.381, 142.06.

Quarterfinals—C. Force, 4.197, 298.14 def. Johnson Jr., 5.139, 158.45. Tasca III, 4.233, 292.90 def. Pedregon, 5.757, 126.33. Todd, 4.203, 295.92 def. Beckman, 4.333, 277.49. Capps, 4.208, 299.33 def. Hight, 4.233, 300.73.

Semifinals—Capps, 4.242, 298.93 def. Todd, 4.372, 285.65. Tasca III, 4.219, 298.60 def. C. Force, 4.271, 286.62.

Final—Capps, 4.234, 296.37 def. Tasca III, 4.300, 286.98.

Pro Stock

Round One—Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.739, 204.45 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.776, 204.45. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.736, 205.32 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, Foul - Red Light. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.729, 204.88 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.726, 203.95. Tim Freeman, Camaro, 6.787, 202.58 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.823, 201.94. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.754, 205.13 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, Foul - Red Light. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.715, 204.23 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 9.845, 93.14. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.716, 204.35 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.027, 176.70. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.719, 205.10 def. Tommy Lee, Camaro, Broke - No Show.

Quarterfinals—Gray, 6.789, 204.94 def. Freeman, Foul - Red Light. Coughlin, 6.740, 205.26 def. McGaha, 16.733, 48.09. Anderson, 6.723, 204.73 def. Nobile, 6.755, 204.29. Skillman, 6.727, 203.98 def. Enders, 6.743, 204.54.

Semifinals—Coughlin, 6.750, 204.51 def. Skillman, Foul - Red Light. Anderson, 6.768, 204.91 def. Gray, 6.764, 205.19.

Final—Coughlin, 6.709, 205.10 def. Anderson, 6.741, 205.07.

POINTS STANDINGS

Through 11 of 24 Events

Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence, 896. 2. Clay Millican, 786. 3. Tony Schumacher, 760. 4. Doug Kalitta, 717. 5. Leah Pritchett, 663. 6. Antron Brown, 588. 7. (tie) Brittany Force, 552. Terry McMillen, 552. 9. Scott Palmer, 461. 10. Mike Salinas, 421.

Funny Car

1. Courtney Force, 937. 2. Jack Beckman, 736. 3. Robert Hight, 717. 4. J.R. Todd, 694. 5. Ron Capps, 693. 6. Matt Hagan, 669. 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 606. 8. Cruz Pedregon, 508. 9. John Force, 502. 10. Bob Tasca III, 500.

Pro Stock

1. Greg Anderson, 823. 2. Tanner Gray, 768. 3. Vincent Nobile, 758. 4. Erica Enders, 738. 5. Drew Skillman, 679. 6. Jeg Coughlin, 671. 7. Chris McGaha, 659. 8. Bo Butner, 642. 9. Deric Kramer, 627. 10. Jason Line, 569.

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