Strong Qualifying Effort for Capps Yields a No. 2 Start and Round Win
After an impressive qualifying performance which included two ‘session best’ runs, Ron Capps and the NAPA Brakes team qualified second for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Capps was able to navigate a tricky race track and earn the win in round one, but traction issues sealed his fate in round two.
Capps posted the best qualifying run of the round during the second and third sessions, earning the No. 2 seed and entering race day armed with lane choice and six bonus points.
The defending NHRA Four-Wide Nationals champion faced Robert Hight, Jonnie Lindberg and Dale Creasy in the first quad. Capps was out in front early, leading the quad before succumbing to tire smoke at 700 feet. Capps wasn’t the only driver to encounter issues. All four cars lost traction on the undeniably tricky race track which had crew chiefs scratching their heads all day. Capps pedaled the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger down the track and across the stripe in 4.585 seconds, earning the round win.
In the second elimination round, Capps was first off of the starting line, but again, there were traction problems, and Capps let off of the throttle early. He crossed the finish line in 5.233 seconds, falling to his DSR teammate, Tommy Johnson Jr., and the eventual Four-Wide winner, Cruz Pedregon.
“The car was running great the second round,” said Capps who remains seventh in the Mello Yello Funny Car points ranking.
“Obviously, the first round was a battle of attrition, having to pedal it and keep it off the centerline and wall. Our NAPA Brakes team advanced to the second round. It was running right down through there and for some reason the oil sending unit shut off the ignition. We’re going to have to figure out why it did that, but it’s a little heartbreaking to have something just shut the ignition off. It’s there for a reason, because in years past some drivers didn’t know when to shut them off when something was going wrong, and it’s helped that. We have less oildowns now, but it can also cause the same thing we saw today where it just shut (the ignition) off halfway down the run, so we’ll figure it out.
“We had a great car all weekend. It was so much fun to make that Q3 ‘middle of the heat’ run of 3.96 when nobody else was going down the track. I can feel (Rahn) Tobler’s got his mojo back. It’s a great thing going back into Atlanta, obviously. Atlanta is headquarters for NAPA, Coca-Cola and Mello Yello. If we have to get a win for the first time this year, that’s the best place to do it.”
Ron Capps returns to the seat of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car on Friday, May 4, where he will begin qualifying for the NHRA Southern Nationals, the final stop on the current three-race swing.
Start / Finish: Qualified No. 2 / Lost in the second round to Tommy Johnson Jr. and Cruz Pedregon
Points Earned: 63
2018 NHRA Mello Yello Series Points Standing / Total: 7th / 352
Next Race: May 4-6, Commerce, Ga., NHRA Southern Nationals
How to Watch or Listen: FS1; NHRA All Access