Capps Takes Back NHRA Funny Car Point Lead With New BRUT Revolution Dodge Charger At U.S. Nationals SEMI-FINAL FINISH PUTS CAPPS PAST FORCE BY 19 POINTS IN F/C POINTS CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 4, 2006) Ron Capps looked worn out Monday afternoon...
Capps Takes Back NHRA Funny Car Point Lead With New BRUT Revolution Dodge Charger At U.S. Nationals
SEMI-FINAL FINISH PUTS CAPPS PAST FORCE BY 19 POINTS IN F/C POINTS
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 4, 2006) Ron Capps looked worn out Monday afternoon after the 52nd annual U.S. Nationals drag races at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
But the personable driver of the new BRUT Revolution Dodge Charger Funny Car could manage a smile after his semi-final finish at the world's biggest drag racing event. Capps' third round loss to Robert Hight still enabled the veteran California driver to take back the NHRA POWERade Funny Car point lead as the series heads to Reading, Pa., on Sept. 14-17.
With John Force's red light first round loss, Capps now takes a 19-point advantage in the current Funny Car standings with five races remaining in the 2006 campaign. Capps had led the points since March and only relinquished his top position at the last race in Memphis two weeks ago. Capps leads Force 1,300 to 1,281.
In the semi-final matchup, Capps left the starting line first over Hight with a great reaction time of .062 seconds to the Auto Club racer's .081 but Hight's car drove around Capps' BRUT Revolution machine with a quarter-mile time of 4.768 seconds at 324.67 to Capps' 4.841, 319.67. "We didn't want to beat ourselves in the semi-finals by smoking the tires," said Capps after his loss. "Ace (Ed McCulloch, Capps' crew chief) played it safely and maybe a little conservative for that round. But the two cars that ran in front of us both smoked the tires (Whit Bazemore and Jim Head). So that wasn't something we wanted to do with a point battle going on. We have won a lot of races this year by being safer than sorry. Those guys (Hight and his crew) could have had a hiccup and we win that round. But Hight's car just ran around us for the win. Overall, we got the point lead back and that is important for the BRUT Revolution team."
In the quarterfinals, there was drama in the staging lanes for the BRUT Revolution crew. As the 8,000-horsepower, nitro-burning engine started, a fuel leak developed and Capps feared his Indy dreams would be dashed immediately. But McCulloch's quick thinking allowed Capps to make his burnout. McCulloch utilized a glove to wrap around the leak and Capps was able to stage the car at the "Christmas Tree." Capps took his blue and silver machine to victory with a 4.865, 314.53 run. His opponent, Scott Kalitta, smoked the tires off the starting line and had to coast to the finish at 6.677, 129.53.
"That was a hectic round for us," said Capps. "I thought the NHRA guys were going to shut us down. I kept yelling, 'No, this is Indy. Don't shut us down!' Ace saved the day with his quick decision to use the Ringer Glove on the fuel leak. Once we got that fixed, the car ran smoothly. But that was a wild scene before that run."
In the first round, Capps defeated former U.S. Nationals winner Gary Densham with a run of 4.769, 323.66 to Densham's 4.805, 324.51.
"This is Indy and weird things are going on," said Capps after his first round win. "Force had a red light and there was a lot of hole shots and upsets in the first round. The hole is open for us to take over the point lead. John left a little crack in the opening and we wanted to kick it open. Now it is up to us to take advantage."
The week-long activities with the U.S. Nationals and the unveiling of the new BRUT Revolution colors on the Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger Funny Car was taxing for Capps, who was after his sixth 2006 win.
"To leave Indy with the point lead is very important for our team," said Capps. "You hear a lot of stats of drivers who have left Indy with the point lead and have gone on to win the point championship. We hope that will continue for us this year. The week was pretty long with all of the attention to the unveiling of the new BRUT Revolution car. I don't think we were ready for the fans' reaction for the car. They really loved the colors and that is exciting for the BRUT folks and our crew. The week was wearing on me with all of the media interviews and sponsor events. But once we saw the fans' reaction, it was all worth it."