BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 21, 2016) – Losing in a semifinal round usually ruins a racing weekend, but all things considered it was three very good days in northern Minnesota for Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane.
When Capps advanced to the semifinals Sunday where he lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, it clinched the No. 1 seed for the NAPA team when the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff begins after the NHRA U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend near Indianapolis.
That ensured that he will start the Countdown with a 30-point lead over the second-ranked team in the Countdown when championship points are reset in two weeks after Indy.
He holds a 215-point lead over Courtney Force and is 221 ahead of Del Worsham, who won Sunday’s Brainerd title.
“That’s the perfect position to be in, but we’re not looking at the championship yet,” said Capps, who won the 50th event title of his career Saturday and is seeking his first Mello Yello season championship.
That wasn’t all the NAPA team accomplished at Brainerd.
On Saturday, the NAPA Dodge defeated Del Worsham in the rescheduled final round from the race that began two weeks ago near Seattle. It was the 50th Mello Yello title for Capps and the fifth this year through 17 events for the NAPA team.
“Just an incredible job by our NAPA guys,” Capps said.
“Before the semis we were told by NHRA to be back up there in less than 40 minutes and we had a little bit of damage from the second round which is very, very abnormal for this team. We had a lot of work to do on the car and it was crazy, we had a cheering crowd around our pit area just to watch these guys put the car back together. It was great.”
The NAPA team returned to the starting line for the semifinals to face DSR teammate Matt Hagan, whose time of 3.893 seconds at 331.20 mph narrowly beat Capps’ 3.923 (319.29).
“I didn’t see or hear Matt until a little bit after halftrack, my car started going off to the right and they got us at the top end of the track.
“We are going to be in these battles from here on out. Without a doubt, the DSR Funny Cars are the cars to beat. It’s going to be tough. It’s a nice precursor of things to come for the fans and the racers. It’s going to be fun.
“Whoever wins Indy has the chance to say that they beat the best because these Funny Cars are so incredible right now.”
2016 NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals Results:
Winner: Del Worsham (Kalitta Motorsports)
No. 1 qualifier: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.822 sec.-world record, 333.02-track record
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 5
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: CAPPS (3.919 sec., 322.42 mph) def. John Hale (6.435, 101.45)
Second round: CAPPS (3.909, 305.56) def. Jack Beckman (4.087, 238.85)
Semifinals: HAGAN (3.893, 331.20) def. Ron Capps (3.923, 319.29)
FRIDAY: 3.897 sec., 321.73 mph, (Session 1); 3.866, 324.98, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.014, 322.42, (Session 3); 3.876, 327.27(Session 4)
2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
Top 10 after 17 of 24 events
|1||Ron Capps (5)||1413|
|2||Courtney Force (1)||1198|
|3||Del Worsham (1)||1192|
|4||Jack Beckman (1)||1146|
|5||Matt Hagan (2)||1115|
|6||Robert Hight (1)||1040|
|7||John Force (2)||1003|
|8||Tommy Johnson Jr. (1)||999|
|9||Tim Wilkerson (2)||915|
|10||Alexis DeJoria (1)||765|
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), the winningest team in drag racing history, has raced to claimed more than 340 NHRA national event victories and 17 Mello Yello World Championship titles. Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields professional teams competing in both the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series and Factory Stock Showdown, including the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driven by 2016 World Champion Ron Capps.