CAPPS RACKS UP POINTS, REACHES SEMIS IN BRAINERD BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 14, 2005) - Ron Capps has made up ground at a rapid rate in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship in the last few races. The driver of the Brut Dodge ...
CAPPS RACKS UP POINTS, REACHES SEMIS IN BRAINERD
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 14, 2005) - Ron Capps has made up ground at a rapid rate in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship in the last few races. The driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T has reached the final round in three of the last four races, winning once. In today's fifth race of that string, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway, he made another strong run, this time to his fifth semifinal round finish of the season.
Capps lost a close pedal-pushing contest against Eric Medlen in the semis, the only match-up for which he didn't have lane choice today. It was a smoke-filled contest as both drivers stumbled to the finish line, but it was Medlen first across it with a 5.924/18.78 pass to Capps' losing but close 5.983/228.42. Margin of victory: .0455 of a second.
En route to the semifinal, Capps defeated Jim Head (4.861/319.60) and Tony Bartone (4.879/313.80).
He hung on to fourth place in Funny Car points as the battle for the crown has closed up among the top four drivers. Robert Hight and Capps' teammate Gary Scelzi (1 and 2 in points) both went out in the opening round and John Force was runner-up today, putting Capps just 23 points behind Force, 31 behind Scelzi in second, and 45 short of Hight in the lead.
"Well, we knew we had to keep lane choice all day and that was the battle," said Capps. "This track was so good on Saturday looking forward to race day, and this was going to be one hell of a day for the fans who love side-by-side racing."
An early oildown in the Top Fuel eliminations and a 40-minute clean-up, however, produced a very undesirable right lane, not to mention the hotter conditions because of the delay. "It just turned into a one-lane race track," said Capps. "It's unfortunate that it did because the fans were robbed of a lot of good side-by-side racing. This track has really come around to be a great track and it showed in qualifying."
"Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) had thought maybe we had a chance in cloud cover to get down that right lane in the semis, but he walked down there right before our run and he just shook his head, saying there was probably no chance of getting through there with a decent number."
"The Brut Dodge rattled and then all of a sudden I didn't see Eric out of the window and I thought, Uh-oh, he's in trouble too, so we got into a pedalfest. His car knocked the supercharger off right at the finish line, so I thought I got him. I guess not."
"That's OK. We tightened up the points. Ace, Ronnie (Thompson, assistant crew chief) and all the Brut guys did a great job this weekend. We qualified well. We did everything you would want to do except win the race. We just need to keep going like we're going."
Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 19-21.