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NHRA: Dixon Holds Off Schumacher in Sonoma, Remains Top Fuel Points Leader

Ron CappsLarry Dixon


CAPPS GETS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON; DIXON GRABS EIGHTH AT SECOND STOP ON WESTERN SWING IN SONOMA: Ron Capps showed that it was only a matter of time before he and newly added crew chief John Medlen would click when he held off the Funny Car field to earn his first win of the season Sunday at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger past teammate Jack Beckman in the final round to get his first win of the season in just his third race being paired with newly appointed crew chief John Medlen.

“I feel like I can conquer the world in the car right now,” said Capps. “It’s all confidence, and confidence is built on success. Obviously, when John (Medlen) went over to Matt Hagan’s car, we saw what happened over there. Matt won two races and set the national record. I’ve always wanted to work with John, and it has been such a pleasure with the confidence that I’ve been given in the car. I now go up there without really being afraid of the Tree and really worrying about the car.”

Capps was joined in Winner’s Circle by Top Fuel pilot and current points leader Larry Dixon. Dixon was able to hold off rival and defending world champion Tony Schumacher to earn his eighth win of the season and 56th of his career. It also gave Dixon a 211-point lead over second place Schumacher with only two more races left before the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

“The car was flawless,” said Dixon. “It was just an unbelievable job by Alan Johnson and Jason McCulloch and everybody on the Al-Anabi team. You’re seeing the numbers up there, and being around the sport and the cars for a long period of time and seeing those numbers, that was, to me, a little humbling. They were on their game. They weren’t leaving anything in their back pocket, that’s for sure.”

For more results from the recently completed FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals, visit

Jeg CoughlinMichael Phillips

COUGHLIN, PHILLIPS GRAB THIRD WINS OF THE SEASON IN SONOMA: Former Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin was able to hold off runner-up Jason Line in the final round of the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals Sunday at Infineon Raceway. It was the third win of the season for Coughlin and his Chevy Cobalt and 51st of his Pro Stock career.

“We had a great race car, and that’s exactly what you need in Pro Stock,” said Coughlin. “When you’re separated by 10-thousandths of a second, there literally is no room for error. We’ve certainly had our races this year with errors. We approached this race a little differently and had a good game plan coming in and just executed from square one.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Michael Phillips showed that he was the class of the bikes when he held off former world champion Andrew Hines to get his third win of the season. “Andrew has been whooping me pretty good,” said Phillips. “I don’t know what the winning record was, but that was the first time I had ever beat him on that bike. I bought the bike from him in 2003, and I just never could get him. I raced him maybe 10, 15 times, and he just kept beating me. I’d holeshot him, and he’d find some way to get around me. Pomona last year, I holeshotted him, and the carburetor jumped off my bike. I just finally got the monkey off my back.”

For more results from the recently completed FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals, visit


MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, July 23–25: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Rocky Mountains for the 16th of 17 races in the NHRA Countdown to 10 and the third and final race of the grueling three-races-in-three-weeks Western Swing. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); Allen Johnson (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, August 12–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to northern Minnesota for the final race of the Countdown to 10 regular season. Defending event winners include Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, O’REILLY RACEWAY PARK AT INDIANAPOLIS, September 1–6: The famed Labor Day event at historical O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis is the first of six races in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).


Mile High Nationals

…that this is the first year in the 21-year history of the Western Swing that the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, Colorado, has been the final stop on the famed Swing. In the first 20 years of the Swing, Denver had been the first of the Three-Race Swing.

NOT ENOUGH FOR THE SECOND SWEEP: Top Fuel pilot Cory McClenathan on falling to Larry Dixon in the semifinal round in Sonoma, ending his chance to sweep the Western Swing for the second time in his career:

“You know what, when it’s your sponsor’s race, you want to go to the final. I wanted that one for the sponsors. And it’s a shame. And we don’t have a shot at the Swing now. We’re just going to have to pick it up, get ourselves together and gear it up for Denver, because Denver is going to be a whole different program.”


5: That’s the number of points in Top Fuel that separates 11th-place driver David Grubnic from 10th-place driver Terry McMillen.

There are only two more races in the Countdown to 10 regular season before the Top 10 in the point standings advance to the Countdown to 1 playoffs to compete for the World Championship.