ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 2, 2013) – It was a disappointing trip for NAPA Funny Car driver Ron Capps at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at Englishtown, N.J., for the 44th annual NHRA Toyota Summernationals.
But despite a subpar No. 11 qualifying position and loss in Sunday’s opening round, Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler at least were pleased with the performance of Don Schumacher Racing’s Dodge Charger R/T. In fact, the NAPA AUTO PARTS team thinks it has identified a problem that limited its performance.
Capps and Tobler tuned their Funny Car to a 4.123-second run at 306.19 mph that was their best of five tries over the weekend and tied for fourth best in the opening round. It would have been quick enough to win five of the eight first-round match-ups.
But it wasn’t enough to defeat former world champion Cruz Pedregon, whose 4.088-second pass against Capps was the quickest through eliminations on Sunday.
“That makes us feel like we are on the right path to get our NAPA Dodge on track so we can challenge for the championship,” Capps said. “We found the problem that has been holding us back. Now it’s on to Bristol (Tenn.) in two weeks, and we’ll be ready to run when we get there.”
Tobler added, “We had an equipment malfunction throughout qualifying and didn’t get a real shot at the racetrack until that run on Sunday. Today was one of the only runs when we made a full run when everything worked and we just came up a little short.
“But we know what the problem was and were able to correct it before first round. We ran the fourth quickest time of the round but unfortunately it was against the quickest time.”
NEXT EVENT: June 14-16, Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals, Bristol, Tenn. Join us at the dragway or watch the action on ESPN2.
Event winner: Jack Beckman or Matt Hagan
No. 1 qualifier: Matt Hagan (DSR) 4.050 sec., 315.64 mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 11
First round: Cruz Pedregon (4.088 sec., 308.00) def. CAPPS (4.123, 306.19)
Session 1: 4.861 sec., 163.67 mph
Session 2: 4.155, 300.40
Session 3: 4.240, 286.92
Session 4: 4.419, 226.53
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
(Unofficial standings through nine of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN, 689
2. JOHNNY GRAY, 645
3. Cruz Pedregon, 639
4. RON CAPPS, 544
5. JACK BECKMAN, 543
6. Tim Wilkerson, 534
7. Courtney Force, 522
8. Robert Hight, 483
9. Del Worsham, 476
10. John Force, 437
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.