Formula 1: Sebastian Vettel and the No. 5 Ferrari SF15-T qualified second for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix. His time was just 0.074 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton in the No. 44 Mercedes. Qualifying was delayed by a downpour that hit in the middle of the second session. Kimi Raikkonen, in the No. 7 Ferrari, qualified 11th and had to sit out the final session.
NHRA: Since rain washed out Friday’s scheduled runs, there were only two qualifying rounds at the 4-Wide Nationals running this weekend at zMax Raceway in Concord, North Carolina.
Ron Capps, driving the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger, was the top Dodge qualifier in Fuel Funny Car, taking the No. 3 spot in the order with a 4.051-second ET. Matt Hagan was right behind in the Mopar Express/Rocky Boots Charger with an ET of 4.055 to qualify fourth. Jack Beckman qualified sixth in the Infinite Hero Charger. His ET was 4.059 seconds. Tommy Johnson Jr. is 11th in the order going into tomorrow’s eliminations: the Make-A-Wish Charger posted an ET of 4.132 seconds.
John Hale and the USD Charger posted a best ET of 4.317 seconds to take the No. 13 spot while Paul Lee ran a 4.634-second ET to clinch the No. 14 spot.
Following today’s qualifying rounds, these are the Fuel Funny Car point standings 1. Matt Hagan – 303
2. Ron Capps – 279
3. Del Worsham – 245
4. Robert Hight – 210 5. John Hale – 204
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. – 199
7. Courtney Force – 198
8. Alexis DeJoria – 193
8. Cruz Pedregon – 186
10. Tim Wilkerson – 177 13. Jack Beckman – 128
Over in Pro Stock, Allen Johnson took the No. 5 position in the Team Mopar Dart. Johnson’s best ET of 6.513 came in his first pass of the day. Buddy Perkinson, who is driving Johnson’s 2012 championship Dodge Avenger this weekend, tripped the lights in 6.528 seconds to claim the No. 9 position in the order. V. Gaines is No. 13 going into the elimination rounds. His best time was 6.683 seconds.
Pro Stock point standings as of the end of qualifying:
1. Jason Line – 319
2. Rodger Brogdon – 316
3. Drew Skillman – 266
4. Chris McGaha – 263
5. Erica Enders Stevens – 248
6. Greg Anderson – 239
7. Shane Gray – 199 8. Allen Johnson – 176
9. Larry Morgan – 154
10. Vincent Nobile – 153 13. V. Gaines – 125
Forty-five years ago today, a Dodge Charger Daytona, reportedly created from a recovered stolen car, broke the 200 mph barrier at a NASCAR track, after running within a half of a mile per hour of that speed during qualifying runs some time earlier.
In 2006, Curtis Redgap covered the full story of the racing debut of the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona for Allpar, including details on its successful run at the NASCAR track record. The car was incredibly fast when it could stretch its legs, running laps of 199.5 mph when qualifying at Talladega.
The Charger Daytona, which used aerodynamic enhancements to the Dodge Charger, ran at NASCAR for two years, and was also sold to the general public, which could see a top speed of 160-180 mph when Hemi-powered and in perfect tune. It was accompanied at the track and on dealership lots after one year by the Plymouth Superbird, which had more playful graphics. Neither sold well to the general public, which found the appearance off-putting, and some dealers reportedly converted them back into more normal-looking Chargers to get them off their hands. “Wing cars” now fetch six figures and are an attraction at car shows.
The original car was recently discovered, with a different number on it, rusting away in a yard. Allpar has the story on its recovery and restoration, as well.
Stewart Pomeroy, Jr., who documented Chrysler Corporation’s racing efforts for some years, died last Wednesday after a long illness, according to a missive from Mopar Missile reporter Gene Yetter today.
Gene Yetter, who interviews Mr. Pomeroy for Allpar some years ago, said that he was a successful drag racer in his own right, and is mentioned in an autobiography written by African-American Mopar racer Eugene Coard (Hole Shot: The Story of The Last Mutt Brother).
The No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R finished fourth in the GT Daytona class at the 63rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The driving team of Al Carter, Marc Goossens, Ben Keating and Cameron Lawrence were a lap down behind the winning No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America driven by Ian James, Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas.
In a frustrating turn of events, the No. 33 Viper that Ben Keating drove to a class record pole position on Friday, had taken the class lead from the No.. 23 Porsche with only minutes to go in the race, but suffered an engine failure caused by overheating due to a hole in the radiator and had to retire to the pits after 314 laps. Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Sebastian Bleekemolen took turns behind the wheel of the No. 33 car.
The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Anthony Lazzaro finished third in the race.
IMSA/Tudor GT Le Mans: Jeroen Bleekemolen drove the No. 33 TI Automotive/Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R to the top spot in qualifying for today’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. He beat a trio of Porsches with a lap of 2:03.485 at 109.033 mph.
Ben Keating put the No. 93 Riley Dodge Viper SRT in the No. 9 spot on the starting grid with a time of 2:05.081.
The No. 93 car took the checkered flag at the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Flag-to-flag coverage of the Twelve Hours of Sebring begins today at 10:30 AM (Eastern) on FOX Sports 1.
ARCA: Next event is the Nashville ARCA 200 at the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 11, 2015. Dodges have top-five finishes in both races so far this season.
Formula 1: Following a third-place finish in Australia, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and the Ferrari SF15-T head to Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia, for the Petronas Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit on March 29, 2015.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: Season opener at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on May 17 in Bowmanville, Ontario.
NHRA: The Sixth Annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals is set for March 27-29 at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. Dodges have collected all three Fuel Funny Car wins so far in the 2015 Mello Yello season but aren’t doing all that well against a sea of Camaros in Pro Stock. Richie Stevens Jr. joins Allen Johnson and Mopar in a new Dart at the Spring Nationals in Houston April 24-26.
Trans Am: Round 2 of the 2015 season is scheduled for April 10-12 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Cameron Lawrence won the season-opening race in the No. 1 Miller Dodge Challenger.
While Matt Hagan’s winning streak ended in today’s first round of eliminations at the NHRA GatorNationals, Ron Capps kept the Charger streak going, collecting a third consecutive Funny Car Wally for Dodge in the 2015 Mello Yello drag racing season.
In a day of surprise upsets, Hagan went up in smoke right at the start, losing to Alexis DeJoria, but the Mopar/Rocky Boots Charger was the only Dodge that didn’t advance.
John Hale won the day’s second race, sending John Force to the showers in a pedalfest; Blake Alexander shut down No. 2 qualifier Del Worsham with his best pass of the weekend; Jack Beckman was 17 feet ahead of Chad Head at the finish line; Tommy Johnson Jr. ended Robert Hight’s race day with a hot run and Ron Capps retired the last of the John Force Racing Camaros by handing Courtney Force another first-round exit.
In the quarterfinal opener, Jack Beckman lost to Tim Wilkerson by 0.0081 seconds or about four feet. The next race was a Charger-Charger matchup between Alexander and Johnson: Alexander hazed the tires an pedaled to the finish line while the Make-A-Wish Charger lost its timing belt and stopped at about the 330-foot mark. Capps sent top qualifier Cruz Pedregon to the showers with another clean pass. John Hale, who was making just his fifth start in Funny Car competition, overcame a slow start to beat Alexis DeJoria to the finish line by 0.2761 seconds, roughly 96 feet. Team owner Jim Dunn said, “It has to be luck, he’s brand new at this.”
Alexander smoked the tires in the first race of the semifinals and it cost him: Hale made a clean pass all the way to the lights.
Wilkerson’s Levi, Ray & Shoup Mustang was the only non-Mopar to make it to the semifinals. In an incredibly close race, Ron Capps made it an all-Mopar finals by 0.0001 seconds, just about an inch.
In the final round, John Hale’s Cinderella story came to an end as Ron Capps overcame a slower start with a faster pass to claim his first Wally of the season and move up to the No. 2 spot in the driver standings. This is Capps’ 43rd Funny Car win, tying him for second place in total victories in Pro Funny Car competition.
In Pro Stock, it was three up, three down as all three Dodges were eliminated in the first round.
Allen Johnson got a slow start but was making good time when fuel problems caused a misfire and Johnson had to shut down, losing to Drew Skillman.
In the last two races of the opening round, Alan Prusiensky fell to Jason Line and V. Gaines lost to Shane Gray with clean passes all ’round.
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRIVER STANDINGS
FUEL FUNNY CAR
Matt Hagan – Mopar Express/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger (2)
Ron Capps – NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger (1)
Del Worsham – DHL Toyota Camry
Robert Hight – Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro
John Hale – USD Dodge Charger
Tommy Johnson Jr. – Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger
Alexis DeJoria – Patron XO Cafe Incendio Toyota Camry
Courtney Force – Traxxas Chevy Camaro
Cruz Pedregon – Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry
Tim Wilkerson – Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
Jack Beckman – Infinite Warrior Charger
Rodger Brogdon – RoofTec Chevy Camaro (1)
Jason Line – Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (1)
Drew Skillman – Ray Skillman Chevy Chevy Camaro
Chris McGaha – Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro
Sebastian Vettel delivered Ferrari’s first Formula 1 podium finish since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix by coming in third in today’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
In his first race for the Scuderia, Vettel was 34.523 seconds behind 2014 F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton, who won the race, and brought in 15 points for Ferrari.
Last year, Fernando Alonso finished fourth in this race.
Kimi Raikkonen, driver of the other new Ferrari SF15-T car, ran as high as eighth before mechanical problems forced him to retire.
The race was marred by mechanical failures. Of the 17 cars that qualified, only 11 made it to the checkered flag and just six avoided being lapped by the dominant Mercedes cars, which finished first and second.
Kyle Weatherman and the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge Charger finished fifth in today’s ARCA-Mobile 200 in Irvington, Alabama.
This is the second race in the 2015 ARCA presented by Menard’s season and the second top-five finish for Dodge.
Weatherman, a 17-year-old high-school junior from Wentzville, Missouri, is the primary driver in the driver development program set up this year by Cunningham Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing.
ARCA MOBILE 200 – DODGE RESULTS
Bobby Hamilton Jr.
Nitroforce Industries Titan 1000
Wayne Peterson Racing
Jubilee Foods-Ride to Give
Crosley-T&T Construction-Glad Precision
Greg Hutto, Jr.
Carter 2 Motorsports
ARCA fans might notice that Tom Hessert and the No. 77 Dodge are missing from the list. That’s because Hessert, the top Dodge driver in the ARCA point standings last season, was driving a new composite-bodied Ford Fusion for the first time. Didn’t help; Hessert finished 11th, just like he did in the season opener, and could hurt: Hessert’s long-time sponsor, Barbera’s Autoland, is a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealer. Cunningham needs all the sponsors it can get, so it seems a bit unwise to chase one off.