CAPPS OUSTED IN OPENING ROUND IN E-TOWN, REMAINS NO. 1 ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 24, 2007) - Ron Capps held onto his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points lead, despite being ousted in the opening stanza of eliminations at the ProCare...
CAPPS OUSTED IN OPENING ROUND IN E-TOWN, REMAINS NO. 1
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 24, 2007) - Ron Capps held onto his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points lead, despite being ousted in the opening stanza of eliminations at the ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park today.
Driving the Brut "Test Drive" Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, Capps is now 123 points ahead of Robert Hight, who was eliminated in the second round.
Following a long delay when Tommy Johnson Jr.'s car caught on fire in the run in front of him, No. 5 qualifier Capps met up with No. 12 Tim Wilkerson in the first round, a driver he has twice defeated in their previous match-ups this season. Capps launched first off the line with a .108-of-a-second reaction time (.000 is perfect). Wilkerson followed with a .114, but at half-track it was Wilkerson's race as he passed Capps to take the win on a hot and sticky track, recording a 5.015-second elapsed time at 276.69 to Capps' 5.053/288.15.
"Tommy had that bad fire in front of us and the longer we sat the hotter it got," said Capps, the defending event champion. "You can tell from all the elapsed times that it got very difficult after that. The right lane (Capps was in the left) was actually a little worse because it had big pit marks of concrete that had come up from half-track on, so it was a matter of negotiating. And the left lane seemed a little better, and that's why you saw most of the Fuel cars take the left lane.
"We felt comfortable enough that we were going to go down there and run a mid-4.90, but it locked the clutch up and then it started slowly spinning the tires and then it got worse. And out popped Tim Wilkerson in my side window. He spun the tires pretty good, too, just not as bad as we did.
"It's just one of those deals. We ran Tim twice before this season and we beat him, and I knew sooner or later the odds were going to run out on us.
"No matter what, we are leaving here with the points lead. Right now we're focusing on the rest of the six-race swing coming up. We wanted to repeat as a winner like we did last year, but conditions were unbelievable all weekend."
"The track was pretty tricky for everybody," said crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch. "Wilkerson fired a shot at us. He ran really good early and got away with it and it was good enough to get around us. More power to him; he did a good job.
"We ran a lot better than a lot of them did out there, but it wasn't good enough in that round. That's how it goes."
Next up is the inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, June 28-July 1.
"We're excited about Norwalk," said Capps. "I've already heard that ticket sales have exceeded most of the race tracks in the past, some of our biggest races, and we're not even into that weekend yet."