CAPPS HOLDS ON TO FOURTH IN POINTS, IS OUSTED IN FIRST ROUND IN SEATTLE KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) - Ron Capps, driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car, was ousted in the first round of eliminations today at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA ...
CAPPS HOLDS ON TO FOURTH IN POINTS, IS OUSTED IN FIRST ROUND IN SEATTLE
KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) - Ron Capps, driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car, was ousted in the first round of eliminations today at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, yet held on to fourth place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings.
Three of the four top contenders for the Funny Car championship were eliminated in the opening round today, including John Force and Capps' teammate Gary Scelzi, which left the door open for Robert Hight, who took over the top spot last week in Denver, to extend his margin by reaching the final round again. Hight lost to his teammate Eric Medlen in that contest.
No. 9 qualifier Capps faced No. 8 qualifier Phil Burkart Jr. in the opener. Both cars registered respectable reaction times: .090 for Capps, .071 for Wilkerson. But it was Wilkerson leading the way to the finish line, winning with a 4.873/311.13 to Capps' 4.907/315.12 and a margin of victory of .0535 of a second.
"We didn't have lane choice," said Capps, "but we didn't feel like it made a big difference. We had a good look at every car that went down the quarter-mile in front of us, since we were in the last pair. We watched my teammate Scelzi go out and we watched Force go out, the two guys in front of us in the championship points."
"We felt like this was a good time to focus on making up some POWERade points and we just failed to do that. We're highly disappointed. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) is kicking himself right now. We just gave it what we thought the track would hold, and hindsight being 20-20, it would have held more. We should have won that round. This one probably has hurt and left a mark worse than the other ones all year, as far as first round losses go."
"We'll just have to see how this points chase plays out," added Capps, who is now 50 points behind Scelzi in third, 61 short of Force in second, and 145 out of first place, held by Hight."
"This time of year is exciting right now. When you're thinking about points this much and you're in the hunt, it's an invigorating feeling, but you have to take advantage of every opportunity."
Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 29-31.