NHRA: Dodge flaunts new 2015 Charger R/T Funny Car; will John Force move to Mopar power?

9 Comments

Speculation continues to swirl as to which major auto manufacturer 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force will switch to in 2015.

Force ended a nearly 20-year association with Ford following the 2014 season after the manufacturer announced it was reallocating its resources to other parts of its overall motorsports program.

Now comes this video of what a brand new 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Hemi Funny Car will likely look like when the new 24-race season begins Feb. 5-8 with the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

Defending Funny Car champ Matt Hagan, who did considerable testing in the Charger R/T late last season and into the off-season, is expected to show up at Pomona with a new Charger R/T.

Will Force, who lost the title to Hagan by 42 points in November, be far behind?

Numerous rumors have floated around for nearly three months as to which manufacturer Force will align himself with. With Ford gone, that leaves three potential new suitors: Toyota, Chevrolet and Dodge.

The latest we’ve heard is Force may finally make that big and long-expected announcement of a new manufacturer some time in the next week or two.

Force has already announced that PEAK Antifreeze will be the primary sponsor on his Funny Car in 2015, after a 30-year association with Castrol Oil also came to an end after the 2014 season.

At the same time, Dodge is looking to really promote its awesome brand new Charger R/T Hellcat and its sister, the Challenger Hellcat R/T — both having 707-horsepower motors, making them the fastest street cars in production in the U.S. today.

As a result, one has to wonder if Force may move to the Dodge/Mopar camp in 2015 as well for not only his own race car, but also the Funny Cars of teammates Courtney Force (John’s daughter) and John Force Racing president Robert Hight.

It would appear to be a match made in drag racing heaven: the fastest cars on the streets in the U.S. joined by the all-time winningest champion and race winner in NHRA history. We’ll soon find out.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

SupercrossLIVE.com
Leave a comment

Marvin Musquin answered one question at Indianapolis last week, but the biggest one may well plague him for the next six weeks.

Musquin has won a battle, but can he win the war?

After standing on the podium in eight of the first 10 races, Musquin finally showed the field he was capable of winning in Indy when he grabbed the holeshot and led every lap on the way to Victory Lane. He was never seriously challenged and it was the Musquin that Supercross fans expected to see all season.

It was a long time coming. Musquin must have felt like victory was just around the corner after finishing second in the overall standings in Anaheim II’s Triple Crown race. He was third in the first Main that night and second in the last two Mains.

As it turned out, that single race defined his season until last week. Musquin stood on the podium all night, but he finished two spots behind Cooper Webb in the first Main and was one spot back in the second. It was only as time ran out that he was able to beat Webb by a single spot in the third Main. If Musquin had won either of the first two Mains, he would have had the overall victory – denying Webb his first career win in the process.

Webb’s Anaheim win revitalized the rider and gave him the confidence to rattle off four more wins in the next seven races.

Meanwhile, Musquin scored podium finishes in the next seven races, making him almost perfect. In another season, a record like that would have been enough to give him a comfortable points lead. In 2019, he sit 14 markers out of first, which is the points’ equivalent of the difference between first and 11th in one race. In other words, Webb cannot lose the points lead at Seattle unless he finishes outside the top 10 while his teammate wins.

Looking at the numbers another way the scenario is not quite as hopeless. Musquin needs to shave only 2.3 points off Webb’s lead each week to win the championship. Three points separate first and second. Five points differentiates first from third, which is where Webb finished in Indianapolis. Webb is vulnerable as his 10th-place finish at Glendale and an eighth at San Diego attest.

Those bobbles came early and Webb seems to have forgotten how to make a mistake.

A third-place is Webb’s worst finish in the last six weeks and since Anaheim II when Musquin started his impressive string of podium finishes, Webb has recorded an average finish of 2.2. That came with a worst finish of eighth on an extremely muddy and heavy track in San Diego. Musquin has a worst finish of only sixth, but his average of 2.8 still lags behind Webb.

Worse still, since Anaheim II Musquin has finished behind Webb in every race except for the outlier of San Diego.

It is no longer a question of keeping pressure on Webb. Musquin cannot expect his teammate to make a mistake; he has to find a way to pass him on the track. If Webb adds only two points to his lead at Seattle, Musquin’s fate would no longer be in his hands. He would need to gain 3.2 points per race. With that scenario, Webb could finish one spot behind Musquin every week and still win the championship.