CAPPS TAKES STRING OF STRONG RUNS TO RUNNER-UP FINISH IN POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2006) - Ron Capps continued his string of consistent straight qualifying runs today in Funny Car final eliminations for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA ...
CAPPS TAKES STRING OF STRONG RUNS TO RUNNER-UP FINISH IN POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2006) - Ron Capps continued his string of consistent straight qualifying runs today in Funny Car final eliminations for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at the Auto Club Raceway, taking himself all the way to the final round.
It was a heart-breaking final, as Capps and Robert Hight were dead even heading down the quarter-mile after launching with near-identical reaction times of .078 for Capps, .079 for Hight. At about the 900-ft. mark, however, Hight took the slightest edge and held it to the finish, defeating the 2005 Funny Car championship runner-up by a mere six feet or .0118 of a second.
No. 10 qualifier Capps' 4.775-second elapsed time at 323.50 mph (to Hight's winning 4.763/317.94) was the last of a series of stellar passes, including a 4.790/322.19 he used to beat Tim Wilkerson, a 4.813/325.85 to defeat Jim Head in the second round, and a 4.815/322.58 to oust Bob Gilbertson in the semis.
"We talked after qualifying about how disappointed we were with the effort," said the driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T. "I know Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) especially was. We didn't want to be 10th without lane choice going into first round, but, just like at the NHRA Finals here last fall, we went out first round and got the win and held onto lane choice to get to the final.
"We didn't feel lane choice was a factor once it cooled down. We figured Hight would take the right, and we wanted the left lane anyway. The track was great in both lanes.
"I gotta take my hat off to my Brut guys without sounding too much like a cliche. They did a hell of a job; the car went down the track every single run all weekend.
"It's a great start. It hurts more, though, when it's that close it seems like.
"We talked about how we wanted to just continue with our momentum from last year, and I think we have accomplished that this weekend. I've got a good hot rod; it's been a fun weekend.
"Guys were throwing those big numbers out there during Saturday qualifying, and we were trying to, but Ace didn't want to get too greedy. It may have looked like we were off our game a little bit, but we were consistent. I told my guys, 'let those guys throw those big numbers out,' because if we are in the field and I show up Sunday morning, I have more than a shot with Ace. No question in my mind, I could be 16th and I would still have a shot."
"Today was good day," said McCulloch. "We are disappointed obviously because we didn't win, but the highlight is we ran down the track every run no matter what the conditions were. We ran between a 4.81 and a 4.77 no matter what.
"The only thing I'm a little bit disappointed with is in the better (cooler) conditions it didn't run better. We should have been able to run a low .70 earlier in qualifying. I figured some things out last night that helped our mph today. Had I figured those out before, we probably would have qualified stronger.
"We are off to a better start this year than we were last year, so we'll go to Phoenix and keep going from there."
Next up is the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals in Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 24-26.