This past weekend, the Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger teams and the John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro headed to Pomona, California to square off in the Auto Club NHRA Finals – the last event of the 2017 season. Entering this final race, Robert Hight and his Camaro were in the top spot in the title run while Ron Capps and his Charger were close in second, with the last race of 2017 being the deciding factor in the championship battle.
In short, if Capps and his Charger made if further, Don Schumacher Racing would take home another Funny Car championship, but if Hight and his Camaro could simply outlast Capps – John Force Racing would bring home the first championship for the modern Chevrolet funny car program.
Things looked good early on for Ron Capps and Don Schumacher Racing, with his Charger sitting 6th on the ladder while Robert Hight and his Camaro were in the 15th spot. In fact, all four of the DSR Dodge Charger funny cars were in the top half of the qualifying order, so the Mopar race cars looked strong headed into the elimination rounds.
However, that was where it all fell apart for the Ron Capps title run.
In the first round of eliminations, Ron Capps and his Dodge Charger took on Del Worsham in his Toyota Camry. Worsham pulled a slightly better reaction time and he ran a slightly quicker ET, beating Capps and knocking him out in the first round of the event. At that point, Robert Hight had pretty much tied up the title, but he ended up driving his Camaro all of the way to the finals.
Hight and his Camaro knocked off Tim Wilkerson, Matt Hagan and teammate Courtney Force to get to the final round while Tommy Johnson Jr beat Bob Bode, Alexis DeJoria and teammate Jack Beckman to reach the finals.
In the finals, Tommy Johnson Jr pulled the better reaction time and when Hight went up in the smoke, the DSR Dodge Charger raced to the final funny car event win of the year. However, Robert Hight and his Camaro got the last laugh, taking home the 2017 NHRA Funny Car Championship.
Final Championship Standings
Robert Hight won the 2017 NHRA Funny Car Championship, beating Ron Capps by 98 points. Courtney Force is 3rd, Jack Beckman is 4th, Matt Hagan is 5th, Tommy Johnson Jr is 6th, John Force is 7th, Tim Wilkerson is 8th, JR Todd is 9th and Cruz Pedregon rounds out the top 10. That is Chevy, Dodge, Chevy, Dodge, Dodge, Dodge, Chevy, Ford, Toyota and Toyota.
This is the first championship for the modern Chevrolet Camaro funny car program after rejoining the ranks for the 2015 season. 2017 is the first full season for the current Camaro funny car body that was developed with help from GM, having been introduced in the middle of the 2016 season.