Don Prudhomme Racing Report NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, June 13 CAPPS QUALIFIES SIXTH, LOSES TO PHIL BURKHART JR. IN FIRST ROUND In a fairytale world, Ron Capps would've driven the Copenhagen Racing Camaro...
Don Prudhomme Racing Report
NHRA Pontiac Excitement Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, June 13
CAPPS QUALIFIES SIXTH, LOSES TO PHIL BURKHART JR. IN FIRST ROUND
In a fairytale world, Ron Capps would've driven the Copenhagen Racing Camaro Funny Car to victory Sunday at National Trail Raceway, putting a happy ending on an emotional week.
In reality, Capps was a first-round victim of Phil Burkhart Jr. on another hot, humid Midwest afternoon, ending a seven-day period that saw Don Prudhomme replace crew chief Roland Leong with Todd Okuhara, Leong's assistant crew chief.
"We set some goals for the weekend," said Capps. "The first was to qualify in the top half of the field. The second was to get past the first round. The rest would be icing on the cake. Unfortunately, we didn't get past the first round. We dropped a cylinder very early in the run but it picked back up. I heard his car for a long time, then the engine shot a spark plug through the body and, at that point, our engine nosed over and he went by me. I looked for the win light in my lane but it wasn't lit.
Capps was timed in 5.229 seconds at 271.62 mph to Burkhart's 5.197 at 290.44. Burkhart went on to win his first NHRA race, beating Tim Wilkerson in the final.
"We are very excited to have Todd as the crew chief," Capps added. "He has a big future, and I'll try to help him any way I can. I'm very proud of what the whole team accomplished here. The car went down the track on every run. I didn't have to pedal it once this weekend.
"We made more than 120 runs this year (including testing), before this race. That's more than most teams make in a year, but our team hasn't quit. I'm proud of the way our guys handled themselves."
Okuhara - assisted by Dale Armstrong, crew chief on Prudhomme's Top Fuel dragster - whittled the car's best elapsed time from a 5.326 in the first qualifying session to a 5.249, to a 5.253, to a 5.124 in the final session. That time placed Capps sixth overall.
The team has 10 days to prepare for the Sears Craftsman Nationals, the season's first race to be run under the lights. Qualifying will be Thursday and Friday with eliminations Saturday night.
Qualified: No. 6, 5.124 seconds, 288.77 mph
First round: Frank Pedregon def. Capps.
Pro Winners: Doug Herbert in Top Fuel, Phil Burkhart Jr. in Funny Car and Warren Johnson in Pro Stock.