CAPPS QUALIFIES NO. 11 IN TEXAS, TAKES ON FORCE IN FIRST ROUND ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2006) - With five races left in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and two drivers in the heat of battle for the Funny Car champion, what better...
CAPPS QUALIFIES NO. 11 IN TEXAS, TAKES ON FORCE IN FIRST ROUND
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2006) - With five races left in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and two drivers in the heat of battle for the Funny Car champion, what better scenario could there be for the fans than having those two drivers face each other in the first round of eliminations?
And so that is the case here at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, as points leader Ron Capps, who qualified No. 11 today, faces second-in-points and 13-time champion John Force (No. 6 qualifier) in the opening stanza on Sunday.
After four rounds of qualifying, 17 points separate the pair. Capps, driving the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T, with additional support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels, posted his quickest elapsed time Friday night at the Texas Motorplex, a 4.865-second pass at 317.27 mph, following a 5.173/263.26 in the first session.
Today's third attempt produced a 4.872/316.60, good for No. 7 at the time, but cooler conditions following a shutdown for a thunderstorm that passed through the area provided the teams a chance to establish outstanding times. A number of drivers qualified in the 4.7-second range, while Capps smoked the tires early, coasting to a 7.853/105.69 lap, dropping him to No. 11.
"Before that last run we were in the show pretty good," said Capps. "We just felt very comfortable, that we needed to see what the track was going to hold. We know conditions tomorrow are going to be pretty good from what the weather predictors say.
"As Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) said on the radio before the run, 'No guts, no glory,' and we were taking a shot at it.
"This time of the year, the way the season has been going (back and forth with Force for the championship), the way the end of the year last year ended up for us (finishing second by eight points, but ahead of Force in third at the final event) to be racing Force first round here in Dallas is epic.
"As a fan of the sport, I'd want to get my ticket for the front row and if I'm at home I definitely want to get in early. It's just everything you want as a fan. As a driver we're both going to be going nuts tonight, but this is what it's all about. This is going to be a lot of fun."
Capps' win-loss record against Force is 15-37. Force has lost the last four meetings. This is their sixth match-up in 2006 and Capps is 4-1 going into eliminations. Three of the last four meetings were in the final round.
Capps is a three-time championship runner-up and is looking for his first Funny Car crown.