Commerce: Ron Capps final summary

CAPPS TAKES BACKUP BRUT CAR TO SEMIS IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (May 15, 2005) - Ron Capps took the Brut Dodge Stratus backup Funny Car through two strong rounds today in the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway before landing in the...

CAPPS TAKES BACKUP BRUT CAR TO SEMIS IN ATLANTA

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 15, 2005) - Ron Capps took the Brut Dodge Stratus backup Funny Car through two strong rounds today in the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway before landing in the semifinal round.

He first dismissed Bob Gilbertson in the opening round, with a 4.856/319.37, then Eric Medlen in the second round with a 4.797/320.66, while also brushing the wall after the finish line.

In the semifinal round he faced Robert Hight, but smoked the tires early, losing with a 9.861/96.71 to Hight's 4.798/323.74.

Why the backup car? The answer is simple:

"We pulled out the backup car on Monday after Bristol (two weekends ago)," explained Capps, who qualified No. 2 here in this car. "And on the first lap it ran a 4.81. So the team loaded everything up and ran back to Murph McKinney's (chassis shop). We took our primary car back there and, sure enough, we discovered it was bent.

"It explains why Ace was really fighting the car and it wasn't reacting to the changes he was making, which was really frustrating for him.

"So, basically this weekend has been like starting the season over for us. Ace had to learn this car a little bit, and obviously it showed. It reacted to his changes this weekend, initially with the 4.785 in qualifying, and the .85 in the first round. He then stepped it up and we ran a 4.79 in the second round. We're really excited now for the next eight races.

"Everything worked out well," he added. "I've always done well here in Atlanta. I've been to three final rounds. I felt like we were going to have a good weekend when we ran a .78 Saturday night.

"Those two runs were under very hot and humid conditions. In these next eight races 90 percent of them will have conditions like that. And we're encouraged about having that baseline that Ace had today, especially in the humidity in the middle of the day. There were a lot of positive things to come out of this weekend."

As for the semifinal round: "I'm not sure what happened. Ace is trying to figure out why. It shouldn't have smoked the tires like that. Everything on the computer pretty much looks normal. I'm sure after a couple of hours of looking they'll figure out what happened."

When Capps brushed the wall in the second round against Medlen, it was a a combination of the sun setting in the eyes of the drivers and his parachute levers.

"The parachute levers on all these Schumacher Dodges are mounted by the brake handle on the tinwork instead of being mounted up high, as in other Funny Cars," said Capps. "When they're mounted up high you have to lengthen your arm restraints. They're mounted very nicely, but the brackets had twisted and broke. I hit the parachutes and the two levers split the brake handle.

"I tried to keep it off the wall, not hurt Eric in the other lane and I was looking down trying to get my parachutes unwrapped from my brake handle and at the same time trying to get the car stopped. It just took a little bit of my attention away from watching where I was going, and I just brushed up against the wall. The header took most of the brunt. It just touched the body, and we ran it again.

"The sun was just setting in that round against Medlen. I didn't see the tree. I ran the quickest run of the day (up to that point) and I didn't see a thing. I mean I could barely see the wall. There was such a glare coming right at you. I asked who won. I thought Eric had won. I really did. To be honest with you, neither of us could see down there. It was the perfect time of the day when the sun happened to be setting down at the end of the track.

"And with all the other stuff going on, it didn't help."

Capps moves into seventh in the Funny Car point standings, with 371 points, 118 out of first, and 57 out of fifth.

Next up is the Pontiac Performance Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, on May 20-22.

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Ron Capps , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight