CAPPS CONTINUES TO ROLL, WINS HIS SECOND STRAIGHT FUNNY CAR RACE IN HOUSTON BAYTOWN, Texas (April 2, 2006) - Ron Capps claimed his second straight 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car win today at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at...
CAPPS CONTINUES TO ROLL, WINS HIS SECOND STRAIGHT FUNNY CAR RACE IN HOUSTON
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 2, 2006) - Ron Capps claimed his second straight 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car win today at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway, padding his points lead to 68 over John Force, whom he defeated in the semifinal round.
Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif., captured his 19th career win, 18th in Funny Car, in 40 final rounds, and matched his crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch's win record as a Funny Car driver from the 1970s through early 1990s.
The final-round match-up saw Bob Gilbertson, Capps' guest at the Supercross event in Houston Saturday night, go up in smoke, as Capps was there for the taking with his slowest elapsed time of eliminations, a 5.005/203.47.
En route to the finals, Frank Pedregon was Capps' first victim, as the driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus defeated him with a 4.845-second pass at 316.38 mph. Del Worsham was the next to fall to Capps' path of consistency in eliminations, which is becoming his trademark this season, losing to Capps' 4.820/321.42.
Without lane choice in the semifinal, Capps eliminated 13-time champion John Force, the casualty of his final-round victory at the last event in Gainesville, Fla. Capps' round-win record over Force now stands at 13-37, with Capps winning the last six of their nine meetings. Capps ousted Force with a 4.849/317.64 to Force's 4.985/306.26.
"I'm still kind of in shock," said Capps, who struggled to qualify in the top half this weekend, but ended up No. 4 in the last session. "We looked at the ladder this morning and saw what could happen. You spend all Saturday night looking at the ladder and hypothetically going over every single scenario. We knew Force was on our side and knew Del was going to be second round if we got by our first round, which was going to be tough. Every round is tough.
"Sometimes these guys put up these big numbers through qualifying, and we did what we did to qualify that last run on Saturday and get in with the .76. And somebody runs hard and throws a big number up, and for a second you kind of worry, like, 'Can we do that? But I've always had faith on race day and sure enough once again, Ace did it.
"Force ran a 4.76 the round before, had lane choice. In fact, Del did too. When I raced Del he had lane choice over a tenth on us and we went down what was considered the bad lane and ran an .82.
"We had a hurt motor (in the final) and I knew it. I did the burnout, and I backed up and I was telling my guys, It's not good . So I was picturing it was going to go away, which it did at half-track. I couldn't lift so there was a chance we would get an oildown (penalty) if it hurt itself. We didn't get an oildown, it didn't spray oil, but it just started going away really bad. We'll find out what the problem was.
"That was a weird final round, to step on the throttle and have it go away at half-track and knowing that I had to stay on the gas to get the victory, at the same time not wanting to hurt yourself or get caught on fire. It was just a grueling day."
Ed McCulloch, almost apologetic, had this to say: "Well I don't know what to say, but we drew a little out of the luck bank there in the final round. It wasn't real pretty, and I'm not real proud of it. We'll take the win any way we can get it. It was big racing Force in the semifinals, and this whole deal is all about points. It doesn't matter how you get them, the bottom line is that you have to get them. This team has pulled through and endured. At Gainesville we had trouble in qualifying and we pulled through it, and here we had some problems early on and we recovered. To me, that just shows a good group of guys who have their stuff together."
As for Capps matching his win record: "Well if that makes us equal, he's a better man than I am. He's got a long ways to go; it's not even close," said McCulloch.
Don Schumacher Racing scored its second straight double-win of the season, with Angelle Sampey also winning back-to-back events today in Pro Stock Motorcycle.