CAPPS SQUEAKS INTO GATEWAY FIELD, IN NO. 15 MADISON, Ill. (June 24, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps struggled all weekend to qualify, ending up in the No. 15 spot with the 4.954-second elapsed time at...
CAPPS SQUEAKS INTO GATEWAY FIELD, IN NO. 15
MADISON, Ill. (June 24, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps struggled all weekend to qualify, ending up in the No. 15 spot with the 4.954-second elapsed time at 309.06 mph he set in Friday night's session for the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
His first pass on Friday, a 5.079/279.56, in hot and steamy conditions, placed him No. 1 at the time, but the later 4.954/309.06 pass was good for only No. 11. The driver of the Brut Dodge Charger R/T wasn't able to improve in the last two sessions, producing a 5.419/193.85 and finally a smoky 6.300/138.93 in the best conditions of the weekend tonight.
"We're fighting something," explained Capps, who also receives support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels. "Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and (team consultant Dan) Olson are working so hard trying to figure out what's fighting us. We have obviously a gremlin somewhere that we're trying to get out of here and it's going to be tough."
Add to the mix that he faces his teammate and No. 2 qualifier Whit Bazemore in first round of eliminations on Sunday, and the going gets even tougher. "Todd (Okuhara, Bazemore's crew chief) and everybody on the Matco Tools team are doing a great job over there, and it's not somebody we want to run right off the bat for Don Schumacher," he said. "But, right now, we're going to be racing ourselves, because we have to figure out what's wrong with this car. I have all the faith in the world that the Brut Dodge team is going to have a great car for us to race tomorrow; we just have to hope that we find what's wrong."
As for the smoke at the end of the last run: "The first run today it had a problem. It actually put the No. 8 cylinder out, which moved me to the right a little bit, and right after that it put No. 7 out and it moved me right back into the groove. So I thought it put No. 8 out and picked it back up and moved me back, so I thought it was OK. It ended up hurting itself.
"I lifted soon after that, but the damage was done. This last run it just went out and I was ready for anything because of the run before. I was ready to get off the throttle and, sure enough, it went out and just nosed over real quick. I got off the throttle and I coasted down a little ways and all of a sudden it lit up with the oil. I knew it had kicked a rod out and had oil in there. It's unfortunate because Ace and the guys worked so hard.
"These things are so tough anyway, to throw something in there that's hiding from you makes it so hard on the crew chief and team. I do not envy them right now."