Baytown: Ron Capps Saturday summary

Capps qualifies No. 3 in Houston, hits the sand BAYTOWN, Texas (April 9, 2005) - Ron Capps' 4.814-second ET at 314.17 mph, set in Friday's cool second session, held up through two more rounds of qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals...

Capps qualifies No. 3 in Houston, hits the sand

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 9, 2005) - Ron Capps' 4.814-second ET at 314.17 mph, set in Friday's cool second session, held up through two more rounds of qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway, placing him and the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car third in the field of 16.

Today's final qualifying round was not without drama, however, as Capps hit the dirt at the end of the quarter-mile when the throttle stuck open following his 4.922/298.60 pass.

"We were trying to run a low 4.80 and it got out there and it actually got out of the groove, put a cylinder out and spun the tire," he said. "We had Robert Hight next to us, he pulled out, and out of the corner of my eye I could see him, and I just could tell a cylinder was out. So I went to lift about four seconds into the run and it kept going.

"The throttle was stuck wide open. I was spending a lot of time, using the loop (a safety device on the throttle), trying to pull it back, and the throttle wouldn't come back.

"A lot of stuff goes through your mind. You're trying to get the car stopped and not hit your opponent and then you're thinking about not hurting the car at the finish line.

"But at that point when it sticks that far down - (co-crew chief) Dan Olson saw on the computer that it went over six seconds under power, which is way past the finish line - it turns into a pretty scary ride.

"I thought about making the turn at the end. I figured I was going a little too fast and just put it into the sand.

"We're lucky it went in at a good angle, and it didn't hurt the body too bad. It looks like it didn't hurt the chassis, which is the main concern. It got a little dirty. The Brut guys are up to the challenge to get the thing back together."

There was concern when Capps did not exit the car immediately after landing in the sand. "The throttle was hung open down there," he explained, "and my foot was jammed behind the throttle pedal up against the bell housing. How it got it back in there I don't know.

"I had been doing everything I could to get the throttle to come back with the loop and I guess I resorted to trying to stick my foot underneath the throttle. My foot was stuck in there and I couldn't get out of the car right away.

"We are probably going to run the other body. We could run this body if we had to. It's not hurt that bad. It's got a small crack in the fender well, but these Dodge bodies are tough. We can run that body again, no problem. We have a brand new Dodge Stratus that we just got that we wanted to run anyway. We feel good about it."

Capps faces Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Cruz Pedregon , Robert Hight