Capps Upset in Opening Round of AAA Texas Fall Nationals

Capps’ first-round upset at the AAA Texas Fall Nationals near Dallas lessens chances for NAPA AUTO PARTS team with four events remaining.

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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 22, 2013) – Ron Capps has made comebacks before in his drag racing career and after being upset Sunday in the first round near Dallas he is facing one of his most challenging climbs.

A loss in the opening round of the AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, dropped Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team from second to sixth in the NHRA Countdown for the Championship playoff after two of six events.

After crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant John Collins produced qualifying times of 4.096 seconds (306.88 mph) and 4.102 (305.22) on Saturday, Capps said they weren’t trying to doing anything radically different.

But Capps’ Dodge Charger R/T lost traction early and lost with a time of 4.537 sec. at 199.61 mph to Tony Pedregon’s 4.241 at a slowing 259.81.

Teardown“We weren’t trying to do anything special, just repeat what we did in qualifying,” Capps said. “It looked safer than it was in qualifying but it went out there and smoked the tires. It moved around a little bit before that and tried to go to the inside on me.

“We saw Robert (Hight) run that 4.06 right before us. Tobler wasn’t doing anything other than try to run what we ran in qualifying. You don’t expect it when it goes out there and spins the tires like that. Tony was ahead of us then he slowed up.”

Capps, who qualified fourth for championship eliminations, trails Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Matt Hagan, who lost in the second round, by 102 points heading  to Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis on Friday.

“This is a huge blow to our championship hopes,” a somber Capps said. “You can’t dwell on it too long. You have to go back out and do the best you can. Hopefully we’ll get our stuff together and go to St. Louis and win there.

“It’s just the way it is.”

The following are summaries for Capps in the Fall Nationals:

FUNNY CAR
Event winner: Cruz Pedregon (Cruz Pedregon Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing) 4.052 sec., 311.85 mph

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 4
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: Tony Pedregon (4.241 sec., 259.81 mph) def. CAPPS (4.537, 199.61)
FRIDAY QUALIFYING
Both sessions rained out
SATURDAY QUALIFYING
Session 1: 4.096 sec., 306.88 mph
Session 2: 4.102, 305.22

MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
(Unofficial through Sept. 22 near Dallas; DSR drivers in CAPS)

FUNNY CAR
  1. MATT HAGAN         2,272 (—)
2. Cruz Pedregon         2,221 (-51)
3. Robert Hight             2,209 (-63)
4. John Force               2,208 (-64)
5. JACK BECKMAN     2,196 (-76)
6. RON CAPPS            2,170 (-102)
7. JOHNNY GRAY       2,155 (-117)
8. Courtney Force        2,141 (-131)
9. Tim Wilkerson          2,089 (-183)
10. Del Worsham           2,068 (-204)
2013 REGULAR SEASONS: C. Force, CAPPS, GRAY, C. Pedregon, HAGAN, C. Pedregon, GRAY, GRAY, HAGAN, J. Force, C. Force, HAGAN, GRAY, C. Pedregon, CAPPS, HAGAN, CAPPS, Hight.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Hight (Charlotte), C. Pedregon (Dallas).

NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Sept. 13-15 –Charlotte, N.C. (Finals: TF/Morgan Lucas def. SPENCER MASSEY; FC/Robert Hight def. MATT HAGAN)
Sept. 19-22 – Texas Motorplex, Dallas (Finals: TF/Doug Kalitta def. Shawn Langdon; FC/Cruz Pedregon def. John Force).
Sept. 27-29 – Gateway Motorsports Park, St. Louis
Oct. 3-6 – Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.
Oct. 24-27 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
Nov. 7-10 – Auto Club Raceway, Pomona

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