Home Schumacher, Capps pick up wins for the first time this season at Thunder Valley

Schumacher, Capps pick up wins for the first time this season at Thunder Valley

Rod Mullins
thunder valley nhra
Don Schumacher Racing stood tall on the winner’s podium with wins for Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher (l) and Funny Car driver Ron Capps (r) along with Jeg Coughlin, Jr. who picked up the win in Pro Stock on Sunday at Thunder Valley in the Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee. (NHRA photo)

Sunday afternoon in Thunder Valley, it was the Don Schumacher Racing Show. And boy, did they celebrate the wins.

For Tony Schumacher, driver of the US Army Top Fuel dragster, it was his first win in more than a year and for Funny Car winner Ron Capps, his first win this year.

Schumacher pulled off a run of 3.946-seconds at 313.58 mph in his U.S. Army dragster to take down Mike Salinas in the final round. Schumacher had been to the final round three times this season and this was his first win in almost a year.  The victory at Thunder Valley was also Schumacher’s 150th of his career, with six career victories in Bristol in eight career final rounds at Thunder Valley

“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.”

Capps secured his first victory of the season and 59th of his career as his 4.234 at 296.37 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T was enough to take down Bob Tasca III in the finals. It seems that Capps held true to his word and assessment on Saturday that the back-to-back winner at Thunder Valley had figured out the track that had played havoc with his and other teams cars and equipment.

For Don Schumacher Racing, the win by Capps secured his 300th career victory in Nitro in the NHRA history books.

“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.

Coughlin Jr. brought home the Pro Stock victory after driving to a 6.709 at 205.10 in his JEGS.com/Elite Performance 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, Ohio from June 21-24.

By Rod Mullins | Augusta Free Press

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins

Rod Mullins covers NASCAR for AFP, and co-hosts the mid-week “Street Knowledge” focusing on NASCAR with AFP editor Chris Graham. A graduate of UVA-Wise, Rod began his career in journalism as a reporter for The Cumberland Times, later became the program director/news director/on-air morning show host for WNVA in Norton, Va., and in the early 1990s served as the sports information director at UVA-Wise and was the radio “Voice of the Highland Cavaliers” for football and basketball for seven seasons. In 1995, Rod transitioned to public education, where he has worked as a high school English, literature, and creative writing teacher and now serves as a school program coordinator in addition to serving as a mentor for the robotics team.