CAPPS COMPLETES EMOTIONAL SEASON THIRD IN FUNNY CAR POINTS POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2006) - Ron Capps had a heartbreaking finish to an emotional Funny Car season today, ending up third in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings after ...
CAPPS COMPLETES EMOTIONAL SEASON THIRD IN FUNNY CAR POINTS
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2006) - Ron Capps had a heartbreaking finish to an emotional Funny Car season today, ending up third in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings after leading the rankings through the majority of the year's 23 events.
Capps, driving the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T, with support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels, came into this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals 71 points behind leader John Force and two points ahead of Robert Hight. He leaves in third after losing to Force in the second round, while Hight lost to Force in the semifinals. Force technically captured his 14th title after winning the first round. Only a national elapsed-time record (20 bonus points) and a win by either Capps or Hight - if Force had lost the second round - could have changed the outcome.
This is the second straight season in which Capps battled with Force for the championship to the final event. In 2005, Force, Capps and Capps's teammate Gary Scelzi fought an emotional war, with Capps taking runner-up to Scelzi by eight points. Force ended up third.
Capps won a very close race against Tim Wilkerson in the opening round of eliminations today, defeating his opponent with a solid 4.755-second pass at 330.47 mph, his first 330-mph run of his career. Wilkerson clocked in with a similar 4.774/330.47.
In the second stanza, Force had the edge over Capps at the start by .008 of a second. It was tight, but when Capps suddenly veered to the right, his chances to win his first Funny Car championship were over, as Force crossed the line in 4.742 seconds at 326.95 mph to Capps' losing 5.262/204.29.
"It was an emotional day again," said Capps, following today's loss. "Pomona has been rough. This time we lost second place to Robert. Just unbelievable. You get asked about how it feels to go through a day like today, the end of a season like this season's been, to lead like we did during the year and to not win the championship when you're almost thinking it's a sure thing at certain points of the season.
'The answer is, it's tough on the guys, it's tough on me. The great news is that this is the down side, the (other) great news is I got all my guys back on this Brut team next year. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and I are going to get to work together again next year, and we're excited about the new points system.
"The media ask what it feels like, and unless somebody has absolutely put every single bit of their self into something - you wake up, you go to bed, you think about it all the time, your family sacrifices because you're so involved in it - and are not able to win, you can't explain it to somebody.
"It's devastating right now. We will have to regroup again and try to win Don Schumacher a championship next year."
As for the run against Force, "We had something break on the valve covers that spilled oil under the right tire and that's the reason the car jumped sideways. We ran 330 (mph) the run before, we were locked together with Force in that round. We felt like, looking at the computer, it was going to be a close race. He ran .74 and we felt like we were going to run a low .70. You never know what would have happened. He did win and that's the bottom line. It's unfortunate because the Brut Revolution Dodge had oil all over one side.
"It could always be worse. The thing could've gone into the wall or something, but it's unfortunate. The Brut Revolution guys did a great job and when a part breaks like that you can't blame anybody for it, it just happens. My guys have given me a car every single run this year that was second to none. So, it's one of those deals.
"We hit 330 mph and it still seems like a slow run compared to some of these guys. So I felt great. I was so pumped and excited and then Wilkerson was out my window. I had no idea we had run that good. It's all relative, but when a guy like Wilkerson goes up there and runs the way he did, you're happy for him, but at the same time, I thought, here's another guy taking a shot at us, just like the last third of the season here. Guys have gone up there and really thrown everything they've got at us and we've gotten beat a lot that way.
"When you have a target on your back like it seems that we have you just have to raise the bar a little bit yourself. That first round was a close one. It was hard to get by. We had lane choice against Force. We felt great until that piece broke and it spilled oil."
Said McCulloch: "There's really not a whole lot to say. We had a good year, we started out really good, we stumbled the last three races and that put us in a hole. And here we are. Other than that, there's not really a whole lot to say.
"There are 16 or 20 other cars out there who are trying to win. Force's operation is as good as it comes; we came up short.
"If I were to blame anything, I'd have to say it was the last three races where we were junk. Nobody's fault but our own.
"I could say we could go out and win more races next year, but that's going to be hard to do. And next year the way the points structure is, who knows? I'm not going to change anything I do. I'm going to go out and run the thing the way I see and hopefully we can do a better job next year.
"It takes a little while to get over this, but we'll get over it."
Capps ends the season third in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point rankings, with five wins, three runners-up, two semifinal and eight quarterfinal finishes, and a win-loss record of 37-18.
Since joining Don Schumacher Racing in 2005, Capps has earned one season runner-up championship finish, eight wins, seven runners-up, seven semifinal and six quarterfinal finishes, and has a win-loss record of 74-38.
Career-wise, including his two seasons in Top Fuel, Capps has 22 wins, 23 runners-up, 39 semifinal and 46 quarterfinal finishes, qualified No. 1 seven times and holds a career 281-212 win record.