CAPPS IS RUNNER-UP TO TEAMMATE SCELZI IN CHICAGO, EXPANDS POINTS LEAD JOLIET, Ill. (June 10, 2007) - Ron Capps expanded his points lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class today after a runner-up finish to his teammate Gary...
CAPPS IS RUNNER-UP TO TEAMMATE SCELZI IN CHICAGO, EXPANDS POINTS LEAD
JOLIET, Ill. (June 10, 2007) - Ron Capps expanded his points lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class today after a runner-up finish to his teammate Gary Scelzi at the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
Capps, driver of the Brut "Test Drive" Charger R/T, now leads Robert Hight, who did not qualify for this event, by 140 points. Scelzi is third, 198 points behind.
After defeating Tim Wilkerson in the opening stanza with a 4.755/326.87, then Cruz Pedregon with a 4.862/313.66, Capps continued to demonstrate his team's trademark consistency by eliminating his other teammate Jack Beckman in the semifinal with a 4.842/319.98. Beckman fouled out, but not before the pair set up a dramatic start to that round.
With lane choice in the final round, Capps and crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch were ready for the challenge. Capps took off first at the light by a mere .003 of a second (.078 to .081 and virtually identical). It was neck to neck with Capps holding a slight edge, until Scelzi chased him down at the 1000-ft. mark and took the win by four feet with a 4.838/321.42 to Capps' losing 4.850/318.39.
"We had such a great car today," said the California native. "I'm such a huge Gary Scelzi fan that with him retiring at the end of the year, we hugged each other in the staging lanes and had a little talk. It was more of a 'Let's do this more often, especially before you quit at the end of the year' kind of talk. It was such a great feeling to be in the final round, especially against Gary, because we're so tight.
"We went up to the final round and Ace pretty much said he was going to leave it alone for the semis and if they beat us, they beat us. We knew Zippy (Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff) was going to step on it and try to run better, and he did.
"I let the car get a little out of the groove, for whatever reason. I told Ace I don't know why it went right on me right away and then I had to fight it. That might have been the difference between a win and a loss. I told the Brut guys I was sorry and I felt like I could have handled the car a little better.
"But, it doesn't hurt so bad, because the Mopar/Oakley Dodge team helps us a lot, and we help them."
As for his race against Beckman, "What a weird race," he said. "He left and I thought I stutter-stepped mine and when I heard his it stopped my foot for a second and when the car started going he was out in front of me. I was actually looking at his car going down the track the whole time and I'm thinking OK, I got left on, I got drilled and what am I going to tell Ace. Maybe I'll shut it off so it won't like such a holeshot. Then I thought, Ace knows that trick, I'm not going to shut if off. OK, maybe I should run it through so he knows what it ran. Then I thought, But what if it blows up at the finish line? He'd be mad at me for losing on a holeshot and mad at me for blowing it up. So, I had all these thoughts in just fractions of seconds, and then I pull the parachutes and I see my win light on already. It was just the strangest race.
"We were lucky. That was one for the books."