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Capps Bows Out Early at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte

Ron Capps and his NAPA Auto Care Toyota GR Supra looked strong in qualifying at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, but the three-time Funny Car world champion didn’t have the Sunday eliminations results he was looking for after a final-round finish at the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals two weeks ago. The No. 5 qualifier, Capps struggled to find traction on the starting line Sunday afternoon, leading to a first-round exit.

Crew chief Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli tuned Capps to the quickest and fastest pass of Friday’s first qualifying session, a 3.877 E.T. at 335.40 MPH, to earn three bonus points. Capps had traction issues in the second session, but he came back on Saturday and ran a pair of 3-second passes, a 3.994 E.T. and a 3.901 E.T., to qualify fifth.

In Sunday’s first round of eliminations, Capps lined up against No. 4 qualifier Alexis DeJoria, No. 12 qualifier J.R. Todd, and No. 13 qualifier Buddy Hull to form the Funny Car Marquee Matchup. Capps drove into tire smoke after smashing the throttle pedal in his NAPA Auto Care machine and wasn’t able to recover. He noted the team is still figuring out the characteristics of the new car they brought out earlier this month.

“Man, these weekends are tough,” said Capps, a four-time winner at zMAX. “I was so excited for Guido. We unloaded and went to No. 1 qualifier. It shows the hard work that our NAPA Auto Care team did testing Monday after Vegas. I’ve talked time and time again about how we have to get ahead of the competition. Guido and our team could easily go off of what we ran last year, and we would probably win races and have a shot at a championship, but we’re looking to be better and that’s the sort of thing I love about this team.”

Capps, who’s in his third year as a driver and team owner, pointed out the off-track highlights of an otherwise challenging weekend.

“Obviously, Vegas was such a great race Friday through Sunday, and then you get to Charlotte and all the NASCAR fans came out and we almost sold the place out every day,” Capps said. “It was just an incredible crowd, and we love doing [these Four-Wide races]. We love especially doing it earlier in the year. We see the same fans when we come back in the Countdown for the second race of the playoffs.

“Had a blast all weekend with our Toyota crossover event, and then having my NAPA teammate, Christian Eckes, come hang out with us on Friday, which was a lot of fun,” Capps continued. “I was hoping to take the Wally to NAPA headquarters on Tuesday, but I’m looking forward to hanging out with my NAPA teammates, Brad Sweet, Chase Elliott, and Christian Eckes. It’s a fun event we do every year at headquarters, and then we’ll focus on going to Chicago.”

The Ron Capps Motorsports Funny Car team will have a few weeks away from the track before the next stop on the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series schedule, the Route 66 Nationals, May 17-19, at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., outside Chicago.

Start / Finish: No. 5 / def. in first round
Points Standing / Total: No. 6 / 274 pts. (-125)

Next Race: May 17 – 19, Joliet, Ill., Route 66 NHRA Nationals
How to Watch or Listen: FS1, NHRA.TV

NAPA Racing:@NAPARacing
Ron Capps: @RonCapps28
Ron Capps Motorsports: @TeamRonCapps

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Established in 2021, Ron Capps Motorsports is a single-car NHRA Funny Car team owned and operated by reigning and three-time world champion Ron Capps. Headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., the team made its on-track debut in 2022 and competes on the 21-race NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit thanks to the support of NAPA Auto Parts, Toyota, and GearWrench.

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