Finishing second to DSR teammate by 2 points does not diminish remarkable season by Capps, Tobler, NAPA team
Ron Capps completed a sensational season of NHRA Funny Car drag racing but was edged out of winning a championship on the last day of the season and finished runner-up for the fourth time.
And for the second time, it was another Don Schumacher Racing teammate to further delay the realization of Capps' dream.
Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler were unable to catch teammate Jack Beckman, who started Sunday with a two-point lead over Capps.
"It's been one of those seasons. It's been an emotional roller coaster," said Capps, who switched crews with Beckman after not qualifying for the fourth event of the season. The reorganization also included moving crew chief Rahn Tobler from Beckman to Capps.
"We changed crews, and I got hooked up with Rahn Tobler," Capps said. "The unfortunate part is we had such a great record-setting year; six final rounds in a row and then to set the quickest run in the history of the (Funny Car) in Englishtown. I just felt like it was almost, you know, it'd be a bummer if we couldn't end it with a championship finally.
"It hurts a lot, but it's encouraging we have Rahn and all our crew guys coming back for next year at least."
What upset Capps most, just a few moments after his season ended, was when 16-year-old daughter Taylor ran to him at the end of the track after the last run.
"I was OK until my daughter was emotional down there. She came over and hugged me. She was crying so she made me start crying. I was fine until then. I felt like someone stole my dog, not just kicked it. She comes over and hugs me and she's bawling. What are you gonna do? Your little girl's bawling, so I'm bawling."
To win the world championship, Capps needed to win one more round than Beckman in eliminations. In the semifinals, Capps was the first pair to run and his impressive run of 4.091 seconds at 313.95 mph was topped by rookie Courtney Force's 4.069 (318.24).
That means a mere 0.0195 seconds denied Capps the world championship.
Capps rallied from sitting in the 16th qualifying position on Saturday evening to win the pole in the night's last qualifying session.
Capps defeated former world champ Tony Pedregon in the first round and another world champion, Robert Hight, in the second round.
"The hard part is you can sit in the offseason and you look back to find where you could have gained those two points," Capps said. "Things like that will eat you alive if you let it. It's like a football team or a baseball team at the end of the season, looking back at how they lost. Hopefully I won't have to do that again."
His optimism is buoyed by knowing Tobler and his entire crew will return next season after winning a series-best five event titles in eight championship rounds, and three poles.
"I'll just try to look forward and I know we've got a great team. We're gonna come out swinging in 2013 so that'll be fun."
Don Schumacher Racing