Capps Takes NAPA Dodge to Second Straight Semifinal
LAS VEGAS (March 30, 2014) – A semifinals finish at Las Vegas isn’t what Ron Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car wanted but the veteran driver wasn’t completely disappointed that he was unable to extend his record for five Funny Car titles at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Ron’s day nearly ended in the opening round when he lost traction, but opponent Tim Wilkerson’s much quicker time of 4.087 seconds was disallowed when he left too early for a redlight disqualification in the NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals at Las Vegas that extended Ron’s day.
“You make your own luck out here,” Ron said. “Usually I say that but everyone out here considers Tim a helluva racer, one of the best. The way I look at it is, a guy like that doesn’t go up there and redlight unless he had to push everything, which is what I would do if I had to race a car like we had with Rahn Tobler this weekend.
“Tim is a pretty tough competitor. If he’s pushing it like that it means we were really on his mind and that’s a huge compliment.”
In the next round, Ron faced Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman and they nearly matched elapsed times, but Ron’s 4.133 edged Beckman by two-thousandths of a second.
“It’s much like a video game where you can hear something out to the side but you’re trying to concentrate on what’s in front of you and it gets the adrenaline going even more. So when you see the win light in front against a teammate it’s sort of like beating a brother or something.”
The semifinals pitted Ron against Funny Car points leader Robert Hight, which was a rematch of the semis two weeks ago at Gainesville, Fla. Unfortunately, Ron lost for the second straight time to Hight. Hight’s 4.073 (315.86) topped Capps’ 4.133 (310.84).
“We felt like we owed them one from Gainesville, but we just didn’t give it enough. We knew we had to go up there and run a (4.08) or an .09 and they ran an .07. We knew they were going to be tough.
“The good thing is we have our race car back. Tobler is very, very confident now. The changes we made are paying dividends and (assistant) Eric Lane has just been a gem to work with Tobler. I’m excited about these next few races. I know for sure a win is coming soon. I feel like this team is really back to where it was the last couple of years.”
Event winner: Alexis DeJoria (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 Qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing) 4.006 sec., 325.37 mph
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 6
First Round: CAPPS (7.856 sec., 82.57 mph) def. Tim Wilkerson (4.087, 299.26 mph), DQ, redlight; Quarterfinals: CAPPS (4.133, 311.63) def. Jack Beckman (4.135, 311.27); Semifinals: Robert Hight (4.073, 315.86) def. CAPPS (4.133, 310.84)
FRIDAY: 4.164 sec., 306.19 mph, (Session 1); 4.075, 314.61 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.094, 313.88, (Session 3); 4.052, 315.34 (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Through Las Vegas, fourth of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight (1), 367
2. John Force (1), 358
3. Alexis DeJoria (2), 299
4. RON CAPPS (0), 241
5. Del Worsham (0), 224
6. Courtney Force (0), 207
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (0), 205
8. MATT HAGAN (0), 204
9. JACK BECKMAN (0), 202
10. Bob Tasca III (0), 194