SCELZI EXTENDS POINTS LEAD; HIGHT, MEDLEN FALL BACK Facing virtual elimination from the race for the 2005 POWERade Funny Car championship, Ron Capps scored a pressure-packed victory in Sunday's fifth annual Ameriquest Mortgage Nationals at Route...
SCELZI EXTENDS POINTS LEAD; HIGHT, MEDLEN FALL BACK
Facing virtual elimination from the race for the 2005 POWERade Funny Car championship, Ron Capps scored a pressure-packed victory in Sunday's fifth annual Ameriquest Mortgage Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, one that enabled him to move from fifth to third with only three races remaining.
En route to his second win of the year, Capps beat two of the other four drivers in contention for the $400,000 championship. He bested Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford in round one by only .003 of a second before stopping 13-time champion John Force and the Castrol GTX Start Up Ford in the semifinals by just .011 of a second.
When the tour moves this week to the Texas Motorplex for the 20th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, Capps will be two points behind Force and just 45 behind his teammate, points leader Gary Scelzi.
Hight fell from second to fourth and Eric Medlen, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford, dropped from fourth to fifth, 100 points behind the leader,
Ashley Force, 22-year-old daughter of the 13-time champion, failed to make the starting lineup for the first time in her career. Ms. Force, who came into the race fourth in Lucas Sportsman Series national points, struggled all weekend long with a Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster that was plagued by ignition problems. She missed he starting lineup by only .004 of a second.
"It's not over at all," Force said of the Funny Car points race. "Everybody said Capps was out of it and now he's right back in the hunt. Eric and Robert could do the same thing. It's a real fight and it's great. It's great for the fans, for the sponsors and it's great for the drivers. You're in this thing and you know you can make a difference."
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 56, Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 5th at 4.702 seconds, 328.46 mph.
Race results: Beat Phil Burkart Jr., Tommy Johnson Jr.; lost to Ron Capps.
Notable: Lost ground to points leader Gary Scelzi.
Quotable: "Scelzi came to dance and now Cappsy is right back in it. It's fun to be part of it and, believe me, Robert and Eric aren't out of it, either." -- JOHN FORCE.
ERIC MEDLEN, 32, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 10th at 4.742 seconds, 324.83 mph.
Race results: Beat Whit Bazemore; lost to Tony Pedregon.
Notable: Lost a position in the POWERade point standings but remains within 100 points of leader Gary Scelzi.
Quotable: "This one was my fault. You should be able to do better than that (a .118 of a second reaction time). All I can do is try to make it up to my guys this week in Texas." -- ERIC MEDLEN.
ROBERT HIGHT, 36, Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 9th at 4.737 seconds, 325.69 mph.
Race results: Lost to Ron Capps.
Notable: Had the third quickest time of the round (4.779) and forged a .024 advantage at the start but couldn't handle Capps' 4.751.
Quotable: "We made a lot of changes (after qualifying) and the car responded. If we had been racing anybody but Capps, we would have gotten past first round. But we weren't. Those guys are running good. They deserve all the credit." -- ROBERT HIGHT.
ASHLEY FORCE, 22, Castrol/Hot Wheels A/Fuel dragster (Top Alcohol
Qualifying position and performance: 17th at 5.449 seconds, 259.56 mph.
Race results: Did not qualify.
Notable: Overnight work to rectify an ignition problem produced a four-tenths of a second improvement but she missed the field by .004 of a second.
Quotable: "It's very disappointing but I really feel bad for my guys because they worked so hard to get me in the show."
Oct. 7-9 O;Reilly Fall Nationals Dallas, Texas
Oct. 21-23 ACDelco Las Vegas NationalsLas Vegas, Nevada
Nov. 3-6 Auto Club of S.C. Finals Pomona, Calif.