GAINESVILLE, Fla. - For a straight-line sport, drag racing can have more twists and turns than a sports car road course.
Ron Capps and his NAPA Filters Funny Car team ran into some turns they weren't expecting during this weekend's NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla.
After finishing second in this season's first event of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and winning the second one, the third event was far from being a charm.
Capps was paired in the first round against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman's team, which qualified 11th and had lost in the first rounds of the first two events of the season. But Beckman's team was able to get around Capps after the NAPA Filters Dodge Charger R/T lost traction and smoked the tires.
"We knew that team over there with Jack and those guys would be a challenge," Capps said. "It didn't matter where they qualified.
"Today the track wasn't tricky," Capps said of temperatures that were about 20 degrees cooler that during qualifying. "It turned out to be the best track we saw all weekend.
We just underestimated the track, and a lot of guys did. We were the first pair out (in Funny Car) after we watched the Army team blow the tires off at the hit (of the throttle) so that changed Rahn's approach a little bit. We just backed it down a little bit too much.
"The car wants to run so well, and we got a little behind in qualifying. We've had a great start to the season and this just reminds you how tough this can be."
Capps, however, was able to celebrate with the DSR family after Antron Brown won the Top Fuel title to give the organization its 200th NHRA national event title. Capps has contributed to that list 25 times.
"Reaching 200 is something everyone who has ever worked at DSR can be proud of," Capps said.
DSR's Johnny Gray won the Funny Car title and moved into a tie with Capps for the points lead.
He did, however, see a silver lining to Sunday.
"The only bright side of the whole story is it might have made my daughter a little happy because she thinks she's our good-luck charm, and she might be. And she will be in Vegas for our next race so all will be good."
Don Schumacher Racing