Las Vegas: Ron Capps final summary

CAPPS DRIVES HIS WAY INTO THE SEMIS IN VEGAS LAS VEGAS (April 17, 2005) - Ron Capps was on a bullet train through the field in eliminations today in the NHRA Nationals on The Strip in Las Vegas, but his trip to his second Funny Car final round...

CAPPS DRIVES HIS WAY INTO THE SEMIS IN VEGAS

LAS VEGAS (April 17, 2005) - Ron Capps was on a bullet train through the field in eliminations today in the NHRA Nationals on The Strip in Las Vegas, but his trip to his second Funny Car final round of the year in the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car was cut short in the semifinals.

He first sent 13-time Funny Car champion John Force packing in the opening round, helping his teammate Whit Bazemore regain the class points lead. Capps showed Force the door with a 4.951-second pass at 302.48 mph to Force's tire-smoking 5.709/186.79. It was payback time, as it was Force Capps had lost to in that final round in Phoenix.

Bob Gilbertson was his victim in the second round, in an excruciatingly close match-up, which Gilby lost by a margin of three feet. Capps triumphed with a 5.024/308.35 pass to Gilbertson's 5.034/306.95.

Tony Bartone, 16th in the point standings coming into this race, 13th after reaching the final round, was Capps' opponent in the semifinal. Bartone ended Capps' trip to the final with a strong 4.928/307.09 run against Capps' 4.963/305.91, winning that round by a margin of .0688 of a second.

Capps' teammate Whit Bazemore defeated Bartone in the final round today.

"Considering what we went through on Saturday," said Capps of his qualifying into the field in only the final session, "to turn around in the heat of the day and make it into the semis is pretty good.

"I'll be honest with you, you don't ever underestimate Jim Dunn (Bartone's crew chief/owner), but we were very surprised they ran that well. I told Ace, I said, Hey, more power to them.

"We weren't trying to run any better. We were trying to run exactly what we ran, a mid-.90. That's what we thought the track would hold and they threw one out there and they beat us. All you can do is shake their hand.

"They're a good bunch of people. It would be nice to see Tony get some success. They've been struggling."

But beating John Force in the first round was the highlight for Capps and the Brut team. "He also struggled to get into the show," said Capps. "We barely get in and we end up having to run the champ. That was a big round. You stand back and you kind of figure, OK, we're going to have to run those guys eventually. But the fact is he's all the way up there in points. You have to run them eventually. You might as well run them early and gain some points on them, and that's what happened.

"We buckled down and went down the lane in the first round. Bazemore owes me dinner, I know that. It's just been one of those days. Grueling, tough conditions, wind blowing, extreme heat. It's kind of fun to dig down real deep like that for everybody on the team and do as good as we did."

Capps moves up to sixth in the point standings, just 137 out of first place.

Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., April 29-May 1.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Tony Bartone , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force