CAPPS IS RUNNER-UP IN MEMPHIS, MOVES TO SECOND IN POINTS MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2005) - Ron Capps looked like he was on his way to winning his second night race of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today, but he came up .1243 of a...
CAPPS IS RUNNER-UP IN MEMPHIS, MOVES TO SECOND IN POINTS
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2005) - Ron Capps looked like he was on his way to winning his second night race of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today, but he came up .1243 of a second short when he lost the Funny Car final round of the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park to Eric Medlen.
He did, however, leapfrog over his teammate Gary Scelzi, whom he beat in the second round, and John Force, who also lost in that round, in the Funny Car point standings and is now in second, just 30 points behind Robert Hight, who lost to his teammate and eventual winner Eric Medlen in the semifinals.
On his way to his fifth final round of the season in the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car and his 35th career, Capps first defeated his teammate Whit Bazemore in the opening round with a 5.143/280.78 to Bazemore's 5.230/272.56, then disposed of his other teammate Scelzi with a 5.139/284.56 to Scelzi's 5.153/283.79, both close contests.
In the semifinal round match-up against his former teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., without lane choice, Capps squeaked out a stellar pass of 4.986/295.59 to win that round and earn a spot in the final.
Medlen took off with an outstanding reaction time of .053 to Capps' .103, but that's not what lost the race for Capps, as Medlen crossed the finish line in 4.911 seconds at 300.13 mph to Capps' losing 4.985/302.35.
"It was just a treacherous weekend for everybody," said Capps of the near 110-degree heat index and 139-degree track temperatures. "We had everything thrown at us, including the weather, and then we had kind of a one-lane race track for the first couple of rounds. Then the Safety Safari did a great job. They made it so that from then on, in the semis and finals, it seemed like the lanes were pretty equal.
"Having to race our teammates wasn't what we wanted, but the John Force teammates (High, Force, Medlen) also had to do the same on the other side of the ladder. So we were watching that side as well to see what was going to happen.
"Just a good day overall. Obviously, we wanted to win, but to move up in the points and to be where we're at going to Indy (U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend) is great. It's something you always sit down at the beginning of the year as a team and say, Look at Indy. You want to be there, and just be in the hunt. And we're definitely there.
"We were kind of slowly trying to sneak in there, but I don't think we can do that much anymore."
Any dramas throughout the day? "It seemed like just a lot of little things were happening," he said. "That's what happens out here. The Brut team rebounded each time. We had a lot of problems, things that you don't expect to go bad or break, and they did. We had a timer that went bad and the guys just snapped right on it and fixed it before getting it up to the staging lanes. We would always be in a rush and it just seemed like every round had it's own drama in the pit area.
"The semis was huge for us," added Capps, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship. "We didn't have lane choice and to run a 4.98 in the right lane beating T.J. was a big run.
"And we just felt like we had a lot more for the final and Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) is kicking himself right now because he felt he left a lot on the table. We were trying to run a high 4.80. He knows what happened. It's part of the process of getting to know your car.
"By no means were we trying to run .98. It's the way it ended up."
Next on the schedule is the prestigious U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Aug. 31-Sept. 5.