RON CAPPS GRABS POLE FOR SUNDAY’S BIG O TIRES NHRA NATIONALS
LAS VEGAS, October 29, 2011 – Saving the best for last, Ron Capps drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car onto the pole in today’s final qualifying session for Sunday’s 11th-annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals here on the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Demonstrating a complete reversal of fortune from the last race when he did not qualify, Capps picked up his first number-one starting spot of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season and 11th of his career.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver blistered the track in 4.080 seconds at 315.49 miles per hour, a track speed record, to earn a first-round race with 16th-qualifier Todd Lesenko when final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. PDT.
“The run was bad ass,” exclaimed Capps. “I was in the trunk of the Charger and as I went down the track I was thinking there was no way this was going to stick until the finish; I figured we’d lose traction and that would be it. It didn’t and it was great.”
According to the California native, the turn-a-round from the Phoenix event to here was a testament to the resiliency of the team.
“I’m especially proud of Tim Richards (crew chief) and my ‘NAPA Know How’ guys who didn’t quit after the last race. It’s tough to fly here after packing up on Saturday in Phoenix and spending the following Monday testing instead of going home to be with your family, but it went really well and gave everyone the spark they needed to come out and do what we did today.”
The NAPA team produced three solid runs during the two days of qualifying. Friday afternoon opened with a 4.155 pass at 307.09 mph and improved in the evening session to 4.141 at 308.78 mph.
In the heat of this afternoon’s first round, Capps lost traction making a 5.660 lap at 122.10 mph, but came back later with the pole-clinching lap.
“It was disappointing and frustrating not qualifying in Phoenix, but having to qualify for every race without any ‘provisionals’ like they have in NASCAR is what makes our sport cool,” he explained. “We just hope we continue this and have a long day tomorrow.”