Tony Schumacher locked down his first Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday, emerging victorious at the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, TN.
Ron Capps in Funny Car, and Jeg Coughlin Jr. in Pro Stock also won their respective categories at the 11th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Schumacher powered his dragster to the Winner’s Circle with a run of 3.946 seconds at 313.58 miles per hour to take down Mike Salinas in the final round. It was Schumacher’s third final round of the season and the 150th of his career. He now has six career victories in eight final-round appearances at.
“We have had little things bite us this season, but we knew we had to overcome adversity and we knew we had a great car that was capable of winning,” Schumacher said. “I’m proud of my team for sticking to our plan, and I know our team is going to be a factor for the rest of the season.”
Schumacher qualified second and defeated Terry McMillen, Pat Dakin, and points leader Steve Torrence on his way to victory.
Salinas qualified eighth and took down Leah Pritchett, #1 qualifier Clay Millican, and Scott Palmer as he secured the first runner-up finish of his career.
Ron Capps Gets 1st Funny Car Win of 2018
Capps secured his first victory of the season and 59th of his career as his 4.234 at 296.37 in his Dodge Charger R/T was enough to take down Bob Tasca III in the finals. He has now earned back-to-back victories at Bristol Dragway as well as securing Don Schumacher Racing’s 300th career nitro victory.
“This is a great facility, and when you roll into this place you get a special feeling,” Capps said. “Getting to the Winner’s Circle at a track like this is even more special, because you feel like you really had to earn it, and this weekend I am proud of what my team accomplished in some tough conditions.”
Capps qualified 11th for the event before defeating John Force, defending Funny Car world champion Robert Hight, and J.R. Todd on his path to Winner’s Circle.
Tasca qualified fourth and bested Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon, and points leader Courtney Force as he reached his first final round since Seattle 2013.
Coughlin Jr. Wins Pro Stock
Coughlin Jr. brought home the Pro Stock victory after driving to a 6.709 at 205.10 in his Chevrolet Camaro to take down points leader Greg Anderson in the final round. Coughlin Jr. became the third driver in the class to earn two victories on the season.
“My team has made some transitions this season and now we are running much faster, and it feels pretty great to be on the right track now this season,” Coughlin Jr. said. “Winning at Thunder Valley is historic and it feels fantastic, so to be crowned a champion here is really special.”
Coughlin Jr. qualified second and defeated Tommy Lee, Chris McGaha, and Drew Skillman as he earned his second win in the past three events.
Anderson now has two runner-up finishes on the year as he continues to chase his first win of the 2018 season.
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH from June 21-24.
Sunday’s final results from the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings
1. Greg Anderson 823 2. Tanner Gray 768 3. Vincent Nobile 758 4. Erica Enders 738 5. Drew Skillman 679
NHRA Funny Car Point Standings
1. Courtney Force 937 2. Jack Beckman 736 3. Robert Hight 717 4. J.R. Todd 694 5. Ron Capps 693
NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Steve Torrence 896 2. Clay Millican 786 3. Tony Schumacher 760 4. Doug Kalitta 717 5. Leah Pritchett 663
NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Point Standings
1. Andrew Hines 454 2. Eddie Krawiec 401 3. LE Tonglet 367 4. Scotty Pollacheck 332 5. Hector Arana Jr. 317
Drag Race Central and NHRA contributed to this report.