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Home > LATEST STORIES > Tony Schumacher’s First Win of 2018; Ron Capps and Jeg Coughlin Jr. Top Pro Categories at Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals | Presented by Nitto Tire

Tony Schumacher’s First Win of 2018; Ron Capps and Jeg Coughlin Jr. Top Pro Categories at Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals | Presented by Nitto Tire

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Text and Photos Courtesy of NHRA/National Dragster

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Tony Schumacher was able to lock down his first Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday as he emerged victorious at the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were also victorious in their respective categories at the 11th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Schumacher powered to the Winner’s Circle with 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. This was Schumacher’s third final round of the season and the 150th of his career, as he now has six career victories in Bristol in eight career final rounds at the facility.

“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, No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican and Scott Palmer as he secured the first runner-up finish of his career.

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. He has now earned back-to-back victories at Bristol Dragway as the 2016 Funny Car world champion also secured 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. 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.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Final finish order (1-16) at the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

  1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Mike Salinas; 3. Steve Torrence; 4. Scott Palmer; 5. Pat Dakin; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Antron Brown; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Brittany Force; 10. Leah Pritchett; 11. Shawn Reed; 12. Richie Crampton; 13. Dom Lagana; 14. Bill Litton; 15. Terry Totten; 16. Terry McMillen.

FUNNY CAR:

  1. Ron Capps; 2. Bob Tasca III; 3. Courtney Force; 4. J.R. Todd; 5. Robert Hight; 6. Jack Beckman; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Cruz Pedregon; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Del Worsham; 11. Jonnie Lindberg; 12. Shawn Langdon; 13. Jim Campbell; 14. Matt Hagan; 15. John Force; 16. Jeff Diehl.

PRO STOCK:

  1. Jeg Coughlin; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Tanner Gray; 4. Drew Skillman; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Vincent Nobile; 7. Tim Freeman; 8. Chris McGaha; 9. Jason Line; 10. Bo Butner; 11. Alex Laughlin; 12. John Gaydosh Jr; 13. Wally Stroupe; 14. Alan Prusiensky; 15. Deric Kramer; 16. Tommy Lee.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Sunday’s final results from the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the 11th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Tony Schumacher, 3.946 seconds, 313.58 mph def. Mike Salinas, 5.251 seconds, 152.18 mph.

Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.234, 296.37 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.300, 286.98.

Pro Stock — Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.709, 205.10 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.741, 205.07.

Pro Modified — Khalid alBalooshi, Chevy Camaro, 5.924, 247.38 def. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.948, 242.10.

Top Fuel Harley — Tii Tharpe, Dixie, 6.491, 220.33 def. Doug Vancil, Weekend, Foul – Red Light.

Factory Stock Showdown — Joseph Welch, Dodge Dodge Challenger, 8.275, 164.67 def. Arthur Kohn, Chevy Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

Super Stock — Scott Stillings, Pontiac Grand Am, 8.854, 148.72 def. Ed Longhany Sr., Plymouth Duster, 10.690, 121.79.

Stock Eliminator — Eddie Longhany Jr, Chevy Camaro, 10.698, 118.70 def. Joe Santangelo, Camaro, 10.686, 113.69.

Super Comp — Tyler Caheely, Dragster, 8.928, 170.71 def. Jacob Elrod, Dragster, 8.930, 165.01.

Super Gas — Steve Furr, Chevy Camaro, 9.917, 160.81 def. Ray Miller III, Chevy Camaro, 9.927, 164.21.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Jeff Brooks, Henry J, 6.720, 206.29 def. Royce Freeman, Chevy Camaro, 6.933, 202.18.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com — Aaron Stanfield, Dragster, 6.320, 217.84 def. Joe Fisher, Dragster, 6.498, 197.54.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Final round-by-round results from the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Mike Salinas, 4.023, 295.53 def. Leah Pritchett, 4.011, 287.72; Scott Palmer, 4.017, 304.39 def. Bill Litton, 4.172, 261.07; Clay Millican, 4.018, 295.14 def. Terry Totten, 4.542, 182.58; Tony Schumacher, 3.917, 316.82 def. Terry McMillen, 5.112, 141.40; Antron Brown, 3.897, 316.82 def. Richie Crampton, 4.057, 297.22; Doug Kalitta, 3.998, 286.38 def. Brittany Force, 3.942, 307.51; Steve Torrence, 3.970, 303.71 def. Shawn Reed, 4.018, 283.25; Pat Dakin, 4.015, 307.30 def. Dom Lagana, 4.107, 272.12;

QUARTERFINALS — Salinas, 4.035, 299.20 def. Millican, 9.938, 76.57; Palmer, 4.067, 302.41 def. Kalitta, 4.292, 230.92; Schumacher, 4.028, 288.64 def. Dakin, 4.041, 298.14; Torrence, 4.232, 253.33 def. Brown, 5.090, 155.65;

SEMIFINALS — Salinas, 4.042, 301.07 def. Palmer, 4.356, 211.89; Schumacher, 4.038, 297.02 def. Torrence, 4.104, 254.04;

FINAL — Schumacher, 3.946, 313.58 def. Salinas, 5.251, 152.18.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.757, 227.23 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 5.978, 124.51; Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.169, 307.65 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.382, 262.18; J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.213, 300.26 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.362, 252.61; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.133, 303.09 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.183, 289.82; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.582, 229.00 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 5.030, 159.02; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.243, 296.37 def. John Force, Camaro, 5.824, 128.57; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.283, 281.30 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.569, 266.37; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.253, 291.26 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 5.381, 142.06;

QUARTERFINALS — C. Force, 4.197, 298.14 def. Johnson Jr., 5.139, 158.45; Tasca III, 4.233, 292.90 def. Pedregon, 5.757, 126.33; Todd, 4.203, 295.92 def. Beckman, 4.333, 277.49; Capps, 4.208, 299.33 def. Hight, 4.233, 300.73;

SEMIFINALS — Capps, 4.242, 298.93 def. Todd, 4.372, 285.65; Tasca III, 4.219, 298.60 def. C. Force, 4.271, 286.62;

FINAL — Capps, 4.234, 296.37 def. Tasca III, 4.300, 286.98.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.739, 204.45 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.776, 204.45; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.736, 205.32 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.729, 204.88 def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.726, 203.95; Tim Freeman, Camaro, 6.787, 202.58 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.823, 201.94; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.754, 205.13 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.715, 204.23 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 9.845, 93.14; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.716, 204.35 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.027, 176.70; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.719, 205.10 def. Tommy Lee, Camaro, Broke – No Show;

QUARTERFINALS — Gray, 6.789, 204.94 def. Freeman, Foul – Red Light; Coughlin, 6.740, 205.26 def. McGaha, 16.733, 48.09; Anderson, 6.723, 204.73 def. Nobile, 6.755, 204.29; Skillman, 6.727, 203.98 def. Enders, 6.743, 204.54;

SEMIFINALS — Coughlin, 6.750, 204.51 def. Skillman, Foul – Red Light; Anderson, 6.768, 204.91 def. Gray, 6.764, 205.19;

FINAL — Coughlin, 6.709, 205.10 def. Anderson, 6.741, 205.07.

 

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Point standings (top 10) following the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

  1. Steve Torrence, 896; 2. Clay Millican, 786; 3. Tony Schumacher, 760; 4. Doug Kalitta, 717; 5. Leah Pritchett, 663; 6. Antron Brown, 588; 7. (tie) Brittany Force, 552; Terry McMillen, 552; 9. Scott Palmer, 461; 10. Mike Salinas, 421.

Funny Car

  1. Courtney Force, 937; 2. Jack Beckman, 736; 3. Robert Hight, 717; 4. J.R. Todd, 694; 5. Ron Capps, 693; 6. Matt Hagan, 669; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 606; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 508; 9. John Force, 502; 10. Bob Tasca III, 500.

Pro Stock

  1. Greg Anderson, 823; 2. Tanner Gray, 768; 3. Vincent Nobile, 758; 4. Erica Enders, 738; 5. Drew Skillman, 679; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 671; 7. Chris McGaha, 659; 8. Bo Butner, 642; 9. Deric Kramer, 627; 10. Jason Line, 569.

 


Mike Galimi
Mike Galimi is the Director of Content & Marketing at ProMedia Publishing and Events with nearly 20 years of experience in motorsport writing and photography.
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