TOPEKA, Kan. (May 19, 2013) – Ron Capps climbed right back into the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points chase with a semifinal performance in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T on Sunday in the Kansas Nationals.
Capps was able to move to within 79 points of new leader Johnny Gray, his Don Schumacher Racing teammate who won the title at Heartland Park Topeka. Gray’s third win of the season.
“Points-wise, we climbed back into it a little more,” said Capps, who was helped with first round losses by former points leader Cruz Pedregon and DSR’s Matt Hagan, who was ranked second.
Capps could have gained even more ground but his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T ran into a red-hot Robert Hight of John Force Racing in the semis.
Capps said crew chief Rahn Tobler expected Hight and crew chief Jimmy Prock to produce a good run against them, and they were right. Hight completed his run against Capps in 4.044 seconds at 311.92 and the NAPA Dodge lost traction and slowed to a 5.933 (122.28).
“We were trying to run a 4.04 or 4.03, but it just stuck the tire because the track was so good … probably better than we thought it would be,” Capps said. “It just shook them loose a little bit. You have to be pretty darn good to run what Robert did against us.”
Capps said his NAPA team will head back to DSR Headquarters near Indianapolis and replace the front half of the chassis before the next event at Englishtown, N.J., in two weeks where Capps clocked the quickest run in Funny Car history at 3.964-seconds last year.
“It will be like taking a new car to Englishtown, and we know the racing conditions will be near perfect there.”
The following are Capps’ results and other notes from the Kansas Nationals:
Event winner: Johnny Gray (DSR)
No. 1 qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.043 sec. (track record), 313.22 mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 10
First round: CAPPS (4.085 sec., 310.34 mph) def. Tim Wilkerson (4.338, 236.55)
Second round: CAPPS (4.183, 300.46) def. Courtney Force (4.233, 300.73)
Semifinals: Robert Hight (4.044, 311.92) def. CAPPS (5.933, 122.28)
Session 1: 4.147 sec., 304.32 mph
Session 2: 7.818, 85.73
Session 3: 4.087, 309.77
Session 4: 4.089, 305.70
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial after eight of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. JOHNNY GRAY, 591
2. Cruz Pedregon, 581
3. MATT HAGAN, 568
4. RON CAPPS, 512
5. Courtney Force, 485
6. Tim Wilkerson, 457
7. Robert Hight, 447
8. JACK BECKMAN, 444
9. Del Worsham, 397
10. John Force, 385
NEXT EVENT: May 30 – June 2, NHRA Summer Nationals, Englishtown, N.J.
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.