Las Vegas: Ron Capps Saturday summary

POINTS LEADER CAPPS GRABS NO. 6 IN VEGAS QUALIFYING LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps just keeps rolling along, grabbing the No. 6 position in the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T during ...

POINTS LEADER CAPPS GRABS NO. 6 IN VEGAS QUALIFYING

LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps just keeps rolling along, grabbing the No. 6 position in the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T during qualifying for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals today at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Despite a few dramas, including a fire at the top end Friday night after posting his quickest pass of the weekend, a 4.771-second elapsed time at 321.35 mph, and two tire-smoking passes today under the hot Vegas sun, Capps continues to pinch himself to make sure he really is leading the Funny Car point standings after four events, which he says he owes to crew chief, Ed "Ace" McCulloch.

His first attempt was his second best of qualifying, a 4.811/320.74, but the last two resulted in a 6.096/148.35 and 6.753/128.86.

"It's an amazing sport," he says. "You come to completely different conditions, you have a guy like Tony Pedregon who doesn't qualify, and in the race before (champion) Gary Scelzi doesn't qualify. This class is so tough right now.

"I'm beside myself. We tested the water a couple of times today. The Brut Dodge hadn't smoked the tires on me in a long time or at any of the tracks yet this year. Ace is kind of sticking his foot over the edge of the cliff and just seeing what we can get away with during race conditions, and that's what happened today. So, I think we know where the edge of the cliff is. And, as good a racer as Ace is, I know we're going to be good tomorrow.

"You always want to go down the track every time, but I never doubt these Brut Dodge guys. It's been a grueling weekend already once again.

"I'm having a great, great time. It's fun leading the points, but, you know what, every race we show up at we have to prove ourselves and that's what we're doing right now."

As for the fire on Friday night: "The fire was another thing," he explains. "I was sitting back in the car thinking I haven't been on fire in a long time or had an engine problem, and that tells you just how good the team is. But it lit on fire when I stepped off the pedal. As soon as I hit the (fire extinguisher) bottles it went out.

"John Force said he almost ran into me in Houston when I beat him. He couldn't see where I was. I said, Hey, that's 'the champ' talking, how could he not see where I was? Sure enough, when I hit the bottles, the fire went out but the windows went black and I could not see. I was hoping that I wasn't going to run anybody over. I got it stopped, got out, lifted the Stratus body up and we saved it. It didn't get hot and we're going to be able to continue running the car. It's been a great car, obviously, the last couple of races for us."

Capps faces Scott Kalitta in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Scott Kalitta