POMONA, Calif. - Ron Capps was involved in one of the closest Funny Car finishes Sunday, but the win light went to Gary Densham in the first round of the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. Capps, beginning his ...
POMONA, Calif. - Ron Capps was involved in one of the closest Funny Car finishes Sunday, but the win light went to Gary Densham in the first round of the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
Capps, beginning his fourth season at the controls of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car, was ahead until the final 300 feet. That's when the car's rear tires lost traction and Densham was able to gain the advantage, winning by seven-thousandths of a second. Densham won with a 5.166-second, 292.46-mph time to Capps' 5.163 at 278.40.
"The car left the starting line great and was running good," Capps recalled, "and was probably on a high 4.90-second run when, for some reason, it struck the tires real hard about three seconds into the run. It doesn't do that too often that far down-track. I gave the throttle a quick pedal and that saved it but Densham was right next to me. Then he nosed ahead of me and beat us. It was heartbreaking.
"We'd tested so well at Phoenix (three weeks ago) and were pretty excited about coming here but we got stuck behind the 8-ball," continued Capps. "We had to replace the fuel pump before Saturday's qualifying and that's like starting all over again, and we didn't get down the track on either run."
Capps lauded crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch, who "made a really good call" in getting the car ready for Densham. "The incremental times had us ahead by seven-hundredths (of a second) at half-track and almost four-hundredths at 1000 feet, before the tires started smoking."
The next event, the Checkers-Schucks-Kragen Nationals, takes place Feb. 25-27 at Phoenix.
Qualified: Sixth, 5.016 seconds at 296.24 mph. First round: Gary Densham def. Capps.
Pro winners: Gary Scelzi, Top Fuel; Jerry Toliver, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Pro Stock