CAPPS WINS HIS THIRD RACE OF YEAR IN AN ALL-DSR SHOOTOUT LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2005) - With teammates Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi on opposite sides of the Funny Car ladder in today's ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor...
CAPPS WINS HIS THIRD RACE OF YEAR IN AN ALL-DSR SHOOTOUT
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2005) - With teammates Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi on opposite sides of the Funny Car ladder in today's ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the perfect scenario would have been that the two would meet in the final round.
And that's how the script played out, as Ron Capps, in the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T, defeated Scelzi in a close final match-up, launching him into second and within two points of new leader Scelzi in the exciting 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship chase, which comes down to one final race in two weeks.
Capps collected his third win of the season, the 17th of his career.
Scelzi was on his game and took off with a .042 reaction time to Capps' .071, but it was Capps first at the finish line with an outstanding pass of 4.780/325.69. Margin of victory: .0103 of a second.
John Force, who came into this race in the lead, was ousted in the opening round, so was Robert Hight, opening the door for the all-Don Schumacher Racing final round.
Capps first defeated Tim Wilkerson in the opener with a stunning 4.793-second pass at 328.14 mph, the top speed of the weekend, then dismissed Mike Ashley in the second round with a 4.821/324.05.
Tony Bartone was Capps' next victim in the semifinal, with Capps snagging the win with a 4.820/323.50.
"I'm still in awe. I can't believe it," said Capps. "I wanted to hurry up and stage the cars. We were rolling up there and the longer we waited, I thought, Oh, God, this is just adding to the pressure. I knew Zippy (Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff) and Ace (Capps' crew chief Ed McCulloch) are real tight, they talk a lot. And the cool thing is that they know what each other is doing. They're real honest with each other, but they run the cars different. They're not identical cookie-cutter tune-ups and so one guy knows what the other guy is doing.
"They're raising each other's level and it just gets better and better and all that's done is take Don Schumacher Racing up another notch and do what Force's team has done in the past. And it's been ideal, it really has.
"With that being said, rolling up there for the final, I said, This is going to be a real good race or we're both going to smoke the tires because they had every knob twisted and I thought, Oh boy, here we go. And Ace told me, he said, Look, if the car smokes the tires, I swear to God we're not diving, I'm getting after it, so don't even think about it.
"And I knew Zippy was doing the same.
"I still can't believe it. And I'm glad I could see out the side. I didn't know it was that close."
As for the nerves he's become famous for these last few weeks: "I've come to grips with the fact that it's just going to be that way," he said.
"Today I was able to do my job every run. Ace was telling me to move over two feet at half track and back around the bump, and I was doing it, when normally my eyes are closed until about half track," he said with a laugh. "I pulled the parachutes and [went], Holy cow, I just did everything he said.
"We were low ET every round. Ace and the Brut crew threw out that 4.790 in the first round at 328.14, which was top speed for the day, when guys were smoking the tires in front of us, and I said, Whooo, here we go, and we were keeping lane choice. I was shallow staging and we were doing everything as a team to keep lane choice and just do everything right.
"We are peaking at the right time. And I feel so good about going to Pomona. Every round, every point is going to count like you can't believe."
Said McCulloch: "When it's your day, it's your day. When it's not, it's not. Today was our day. The Brut guys made the right calls, our guys didn't make any mistakes. Ron was on his game. Today was the day and it was an excellent day. We did what we had to do, Force did what we wanted him to do. I can't say enough about our guys and our team. It's a young team and it'll do nothing but get better.
"It feels wonderful," said team owner Don Schumacher, who also had a Top Fuel win with son Tony Schumacher and a runner-up with Angelle Sampey in Pro Stock Motorcycle today. "To have Gary and Ron No. 1 and 2 in points, separated by two points, and Tony already locking up the championship, winning the Budweiser Shootout, and the race, made it just a phenomenal, phenomenal weekend."
Next up is the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 3-6, which will close out the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.