By Don Schumacher Racing
Ron Capps Grabs Second-Starting Spot For Sunday’S NHRA Ohio Race
Ron Capps today drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T into the second starting spot – his best qualifying effort of the season – for Sunday’s fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals here at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
The Southern Californian’s initial run of 4.095 seconds at 299.26 miles per hour earned him a first-round contest with 15th-qualifier Melanie Troxel in the final eliminations which begin at 11 a.m. ET. On a rapidly warming track under sunny skies later in the day Capps went 4.147 at 288.77, in a round marked by no driver breaking the 4.10 barrier.
Robert Hight, winner of last week’s Bristol (Tenn.) race, was quickest in both rounds, taking the pole position with a 4.065 first-round run at 306.53.
“I think lane choice will be a big factor tomorrow and I’m thrilled we’ll have it against Melanie,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “The Baders (track owners) have done a great job with this facility, including a new surface for the track.
“But the newness of the surface, which does not have enough rubber on it, has created some traction issues at the top end for both lanes, but the left is the worst. You can be real quick early, but have to be careful at the end.”
Capps credits Tim Richards, in his fifth race as crew chief of the NAPA car, with today’s success and the team’s improved performance.
“We are just getting better and better as Tim spends more time with this team and this car,” he said. “A great veteran crew chief like Tim needs data from us getting down the track and we’ve been doing that since Topeka – both in qualifying and on race day.
“That second run today was real important in getting ready for tomorrow because the conditions will probably be more like that than the conditions (cool, overcast) we had in the opening round. Even though we only had two qualifying rounds (Friday’s two were rained out), Tim was able to get data under the two most likely types of weather situations we’ll face during the race. With his experience, that’s just what he needs.”
The NAPA team entered the weekend in ninth place of the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, less than three rounds out of sixth.
“We’re getting better, more consistently getting down the track and will make our move in the standings as we race on,” he said. “Under Tim’s leadership, my NAPA guys have a bounce in their step and a renewed confidence which translates into even better performance.”