JOLIET, Ill. (June 30, 2013) – Ron Capps would much rather win event titles and go further into championship eliminations with his NAPA Batteries/Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Funny Car than the semifinals, but the veteran driver knows it’s the big picture that counts.
Capps with crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant John Collins ran the third quickest time ever in Funny Car – 3.988 seconds at 320.28 mph – Saturday night to win the pole for Sunday’s championship eliminations and set Route 66 Raceway track records.
His Dodge Charger R/T posted impressive runs (4.086 and 4.073) to win his first two rounds before losing in the semifinals to John Force, who advanced to the final round where he lost to Capps’ Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.
Capps was disappointed but put the day into proper perspective.
“Losing in the semis is better than losing in the quarterfinals and definitely better than losing in the first round,” he said.
“We’re starting to get our swagger back. Qualifying No. 1 was a boost for the NAPA team and to do it with the NAPA Batteries/Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund on our Dodge made it more special.
“It was a great weekend; almost a fantastic weekend. We just couldn’t keep our tires hooked up against Force, but we gained a lot of ground on the cars ahead of us. That’s key. Championships seem to always be won in the summer months. It hardens the team and makes them stronger.”
Capps moved up one spot in the Mello Yello Funny Car standings to fifth and trails Hagan, the points leader, by 169 points heading to next weekend’s event at Norwalk, Ohio.
Sunday: 9 p.m.-midnight, (ET, delayed), eliminations
July 5-7, Norwalk, Ohio
The following are Capps’ Route 66 Nationals results and other notes:
Event winner: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Ron Capps (DSR) 3.988 sec., 320.89 (both track records)
Ron Capps, NAPA Batteries/Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 1
First round: CAPPS (4.086 sec., 308.43 mph) def. Bob Bode (4.792, 172.76)
Second round: CAPPS (4.073, 310.55) def. Robert Hight (4.096, 310.77)
Semifinals: John Force (4.097, 314.46) def. CAPPS (5.998, 125.09)
Session 1: 4.069 sec., 311.27 mph
Session 2: 4.733, 170.62
Session 3: 3.988, 320.28
MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial through 12 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN, 904
2. Cruz Pedregon, 798
3. John Force, 762
4. JOHNNY GRAY, 743
5. RON CAPPS, 735
6. JACK BECKMAN, 717
7. Courtney Force, 710
8. Tim Wilkerson, 676
9. Del Worsham, 664
10. Robert Hight, 603
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.