Charlotte: Ron Capps final report

CAPPS TIED IN NO. 7 IN COUNTDOWN POINTS AFTER QUARTERFINAL FINISH IN CONCORD CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2008) - Ron Capps entered the first of six nationals events in the Countdown to 1 playoffs of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series No. 9...

CAPPS TIED IN NO. 7 IN COUNTDOWN POINTS AFTER QUARTERFINAL FINISH IN CONCORD

CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2008) - Ron Capps entered the first of six nationals events in the Countdown to 1 playoffs of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series No. 9 in the standings, and leaves the Inaugural NHRA Carolina Nationals tied in No. 7 with Gary Densham.

Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Capps finished in the quarterfinal round today at the all-new zMax Dragway @ Concord after defeating Melanie Troxel in the opening round of eliminations with a 4.153-second lap at 168.49 mph. His second-round match-up with Robert Hight was a tough one, as the temperatures on the new surface were heating up and Capps was facing that round without lane choice. The No. 10 qualifier benefited in the opening stanza, where he was relegated to the right lane, which, in the end, turned out to be the more desirable option.

Staged in the left lane, Capps took off with a nearly-identical reaction time to Hight's, and while both cars struggled to make it to the finish line, it was Hight first to cross the stripe with a 4.241/286.74 to Capps' losing 4.371/255.87. Margin of victory: .1357 of a second.

"Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and the NAPA guys were nervous because we were the last pair that session and the first two cars had blown the tires off at the hit of the throttle. And we thought, Oh, boy, it's going to be a deja vu moment, like we had in Indianapolis our first round (where he lost to Troxel when he lost traction at the hit of the throttle.)

"So Ace went up there and kind of tickled the tune-up a little bit to try and back it down to make sure. Then, of course, the car in front of us, Ashley Force, goes out and runs the quickest run of the round. She got beat, but we saw that she went down the track.

"It was a scramble for Ace to get the car set up. He did a great job, but we'd gone up there to try to run a little better than we did the round before. I just think the heat on the track took its toll. Robert was having problems next to me, then mine went into trouble. I gave it a pedal and it hooked up and took off and I thought we had at least a chance to get the win light. But Robert got his through to the finish line before ours.

"The first round was huge for us to begin the Countdown on the right foot," added Capps. "You don't want to start off like (points leader) Tim Wilkerson did (who lost first round and fell to fifth. We know that he's going to be good down the stretch. We know how he feels. We did the same thing last year, leading the points coming into the Countdown and then having them disappear.

"It's going to be a tight five races."

Next up is the second of the remaining five events of the Countdown to 1 playoffs, the 23rd annual NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas, Sept. 18-21.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Gary Densham , Ashley Force , Melanie Troxel