Capps, NAPA Dodge team make progress in NHRA Gatornationals

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 16, 2014) – The NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team made another stride toward championship contention Sunday when it advanced to the semifinals of the 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla.

The team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler continues to develop the Don Schumacher Racing Dodge for driver Ron Capps, and Sunday marked the furthest he’s advanced into championship eliminations after qualifying sixth.

Ron Capps NAPA Dodge Funny Car Gatornationals 2014_frontThe 2014 NHRA Gatornationals also marked the debut of assistant crew chief Eric Lane, who joined the NAPA team two weeks ago after Tobler’s longtime assistant was prompted to crew chief for Tommy Johnson Jr. and DSR’s Make-A-Wish team.

Tobler and Collins had been assisting with the running of Johnson’s team until a permanent crew chief was in place.

“It was great to have Tobler be able to concentrate solely on our NAPA Dodge and having Eric with us,” Ron said. “It was pretty cool seeing John Collins over there on the Make-A-Wish Funny Car and running his own team. Having John as a crew chief and Eric with us really is going to help our whole program at DSR.”

Ron Capps NAPA Dodge Funny Car Gatornationals 2014_frontqtrRon moved up two spots to seventh in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings heading to Las Vegas for the next event in two weeks and is a little more than one round victory out of third.

“We really needed to make a few points up and climb up in the points so it’s good. Now we can focus on Vegas.”

“It was a nice feel-good weekend for us. We had (NAPA director of events and sponsorships) Mike Rearden and his wife in the house with us, and that’s always great. “

FUNNY CAR

Event winner: Robert Hight (John Force Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Cruz Pedregon (Cruz Pedregon Racing) 4.068 sec., 308.21 mph

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T

Qualified: No. 6

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
First Round: CAPPS (4.132 sec., 308.14 mph) def. Jeff Arend (4.561, 194.07); Quarterfinals: CAPPS (4.136, 307.16) def. Jack Beckman (5.844, 121.34); SEMIFINALS: Robert Hight (4.168, 301.20) def. CAPPS (7.663, 89.63)

QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 4.157 sec., 288.03 mph, (Session 1); 4.121, 302.14 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 6.731, 94.45, (Session 3); 4.949, 156.19 (Session 4)

NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS

(Unofficial, Through Gainesville, third of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

driver, (wins), points

1. John Force, (1), 316
2. Robert Hight, (1), 273
3. Alexis DeJoria, (1), 187
3. Del Worsham, (0), 187
5. Bob Tasca III, (0), 184
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR., (0), 168
7. RON CAPPS, (0), 164
8. MATT HAGAN, (0), 161
9. JACK BECKMAN, (0), 151
10. Courtney Force (0), 146

about author

Nick Palermo

Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.

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