Commerce: Ron Capps final report

CAPPS MAINTAINS POINTS LEAD AFTER SECOND-ROUND EXIT IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - Ron Capps maintained his hold on the Funny Car class points lead following his second-round exit at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta ...

CAPPS MAINTAINS POINTS LEAD AFTER SECOND-ROUND EXIT IN ATLANTA

COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - Ron Capps maintained his hold on the Funny Car class points lead following his second-round exit at the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

Capps drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge to a first-round triumph over Mike Smith with a solid 4.118-second pass at 303.03 mph then met his demise against a resurging Tim Wilkerson in the quarterfinal, which was held following a three-hour-plus rain delay.

They launched with nearly identical reaction times, but it was Wilkerson first at the finish line as Capps dealt with a dropped cylinder early in the pass, slowing to a losing 4.179/292.08.

"It put the No. 3 cylinder out pretty early in the run," explained Capps, who has won three of the first five events of the season. "This session was hard fought for the crew chiefs because the weather was coming and going and the sun was popping out after the storm came through. It was just playing tricks on these guys trying to keep up with the tune-up.

"So, we felt comfortable. We did lose lane choice, which was mostly the driver's fault. First round I was staging the car and I put it in a little more than I probably should have staging and that little bit ended up costing us lane choice because Wilkerson ran a 4.10 and we ran a 4.11 that round.

"Whether or not it had anything to do with the cylinder going out, we're not sure. But we thought we could run down that left lane just fine. It's part of the learning curve and it's part of the trust Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and I have in each other and also a part of coming together as a team and doing as well as we have been lately.

"So, it was a good race. At least we didn't go out first round; you have to look at it optimistically. We now get a weekend off and we'll go to St. Louis where I think the weather is going to play a big part as well."

Next up is the 13th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis, Mo., May 1-3.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Tim Wilkerson