Schumacher, Capps, Connolly, Smith get New England wins
Sunday, June 22, 2014

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Ron Capps raced to his first victory of the season in Funny Car Sunday at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock), and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at New England Dragway.

Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger to the win over Alexis DeJoria with a 4.095-second run at 315.19 mph to claim the 41st victory of his career in Funny Car.

Ron Capps

“It was huge to get [crew chief] Rahn Tobler back his mojo,” said Capps. “He was beating himself up. He found something overnight. He and Eric [Lane, assistant crew chief] worked all night on what they were going to do this morning.”

It was the first finals appearance for Capps since Brainerd last season. He had reached five semifinals this season before advancing to this final to face DeJoria. With the victory, Capps grabbed the final transfer spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, which will occur during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend.

“It was big because we haven’t been in the winner’s circle since Brainerd,” said Capps, who defeated Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon, and Courtney Force to advance to the final round. “It was bigger because there was one spot left in the Traxxas Shootout. Nobody wanted to talk about it in our pit area, but that was it.”

Capps leaves Epping fourth in the Funny Car points standings. Funny Car points leader Robert Hight reached the second round, falling to John Force Racing teammate John Force.


Tony Schumacher
In Top Fuel, Schumacher piloted his U.S. Army dragster to a pass of 3.824 at 323.27 to defeat points leader Doug Kalitta and pick up his second victory of the season. In earlier rounds, he raced past Steve Torrence, Antron Brown, and Clay Millican.


“The fans that paid good money to go to a drag race got the best show I’ve seen this year,” Schumacher said of the close action all weekend long. “It was outstanding racing. It’s cyclical. You go up and down. Right now we’re up, and it’s outstanding.”

It was the 74th career victory for Schumacher, a seven-time world champion, and first at the Northeastern track. With the win, Atlanta Dragway now stands as the only track that Schumacher has yet to record a victory.

“I’d like to have that,” Schumacher said of the win in Georgia. “It would be really cool. Of all the records we’ve set and we’ve set everything there, that’s the one that’s out there.”

Kalitta’s Mac Tools dragster reached its sixth final of the season. With the finals appearance, Kalitta increased his points lead over Brown to 156 markers.


Dave Connolly
In Pro Stock, Connolly reached his first final since 2012 and made the best of it with his performance of 6.536 at 213.23 in his Charter Communications Chevy Camaro to defeat Gray Motorsports teammate Jonathan Gray.


“I had very high expectations of this team,” Connolly said. “I know the caliber of people working on it. The talent pool is deep. What a great weekend.”

It was the 24th win of Connolly’s career and first since Reading in 2012. Connolly advanced to the final with round-wins over Kenny Delco, Vincent Nobile, and Greg Anderson.

“This class is brutal right now,” Connolly said. “It’s tough. One-thousandths of a second separate us every weekend. Today was no different.”

Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens and her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro team had their race end early following a second-round defeat to four-time world champion Anderson.


Angie Smith
Angie Smith secured the first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of her career with a winning run of 6.905 at 191.89 on her Kandy Magazine Buell, defeating husband and teammate Matt Smith, whose NitroFish Buell slowed as it approached the finish line.


“In this sport, I'll take it any way I can get it," said Angie Smith. "It's my first one, I'm proud to be here. I'm really tired of dusting all of [Matt's] Wallys. I at least want to dust one of mine at the house. Now I have one, and I'm good with that."

It was the first time that a husband and wife met in the final of an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. Matt Smith, the reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, lost in the Epping final for the second straight season, falling to teammate John Hall last year.

Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines had won three races in a row, but both riders fell to Angie Smith in the second round and semifinals, respectively. Hines continues to lead the points in the two-wheel category.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues June 26-29 in Chicago with the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Related stories
Friday: Brown, Hight, Gray, Arana Jr. lead record-breaking day in New England
Saturday: Brown, Hight, Gray, Krawiec top qualifiers in New England



Updated 6/22/2014 (Following the 11th of 24 events; season victories in parentheses)
Place Driver Points
1. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster (1) 1001
2. Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster (3) 844
3. Shawn Langdon, Indianapolis, Al-Anabi Racing dragster (1) 783
4. Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, Texas, Battery Extender dragster (2) 709
5. Tony Schumacher, Chicago, U.S. Army dragster (2) 670
6. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contactors dragster 651
7. Khalid alBalooshi, Los Angeles, Al-Anabi Racing dragster (1) 587
8. Richie Crampton, Indianapolis, GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster (1) 546
9. Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol Edge dragster 540
10. J.R. Todd, Indianapolis, Optima/Advance Auto Parts dragster 485
1. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang (4) 970
2. Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry (2) 716
3. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang (1) 713
4. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger (1) 683
5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Brownsburg, Ind., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger (1) 682
6. Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang (1) 658
7. Del Worsham, Villa Park, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry 645
8. Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry (1) 599
9. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang 569
10. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger 564
1. Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro (3) 972
2. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, Dodge Dart (2) 789
3. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Team Mopar Dodge Dart (3) 776
4. Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (1) 733
5. Shane Gray, Mooresville, N.C., Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro 713
6. Dave Connolly, Mooresville, N.C., Charter Chevy Camaro (1) 709
7. Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro 671
8. V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Oil Dodge Dart 520
9. Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro 492
10. Jonathan Gray, Mooresville, N.C., Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro 400
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE (following the fifth of 16 events)
1. Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (2) 482
2. Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (1) 445
3. Hector Arana Jr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell 351
4. John Hall, Hamden, Conn., Matt Smith Racing Buell 338
5. Matt Smith, King, N.C., Matt Smith Racing Buell 306
6. Scotty Pollacheck, Medford, Ore., Quality Tire Buell 283
7. Michael Ray, New Braunfels, Texas, Gottspeed/Star Racing Buell 270
8. Angie Smith, King, N.C., Kandy Racing Buell (1) 228
9. Hector Arana Sr., Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell 224
10. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Tilly's Restaurant & Pizzeria Suzuki (1) 218