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Race for the Crown
The NHRA Countdown to the Championship beginning at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte on September 18, kicks off a six-race playoff to determine who will take the throne. Here’s a take on the Team Mopar® drivers who are in the thick of the chase in both the NHRA Funny Car and Pro Stock classes:
Aiming for his third overall crown, the Mopar® Express Lane driver and defending champ had the points lead and four of the 10 wins for the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T body through the first 15 races.
The 2012 Funny Car champion ended a 54-race winless drought in March. “Fast Jack” added four more wins, including back-to-back victories at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals and NHRA Sonoma Events.
With four career runner-up finishes in the final standings, no one’s hungrier for a title than the longest-serving member of the Don Schumacher Racing team. He’s ranked in the top five behind Hagan with two wins thus far.
TOMMY JOHNSON JR.
With a win and two runner-up finishes thus far, the fourth member of the DSR stable remains a threat to make a run at the championship.
Switching to Pro Stock, AJ turned around a slow start with a pair of runner-up finishes at Englishtown and Epping, then returned to the winner’s circle in Chicago. The Magneti Marelli/Mopar Dodge Dart driver could mark his 20th season with a second career crown.
At press time, the Team Mopar veteran was fighting to earn a spot in the top 10 and a berth in the Countdown playoffs. Gaines has four career Pro Stock victories.