Without lane choice, Capps goes out in opener in Reading READING, Pa. (Sept. 18, 2005) - Lane choice was clearly critical today in first round of Funny Car eliminations at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, as not one Top Fuel...
Without lane choice, Capps goes out in opener in Reading
READING, Pa. (Sept. 18, 2005) - Lane choice was clearly critical today in first round of Funny Car eliminations at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, as not one Top Fuel victory came in that lane before the Funny Cars lined up for their competition.
Ron Capps, who was disallowed an opportunity to qualify the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car in Friday night's session, which historically sets the quickest and fastest times of the weekend, and therefore missed qualifying in the top half of the field, fell victim to that lane.
Capps, third in Funny Car points, faced No. 2 in points Robert Hight in that stanza. He shot into the lead at the starting line by .007 of a second and held it until the car got out of the groove and Hight drove around him to win with a 4.779-second elapsed time at 325.92 mph to Capps' disappointing 4.880/299.66.
As a result, Capps dropped to fifth in the point standings, and is 82 points out of first place (Gary Scelzi), with four races remaining in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"Lane choice definitely affected us," said Capps. "We didn't have it. We were very optimistic about running Robert at this point in the game. You gotta make a move, so the way the cards fell we had to run Robert in the first round, and the chance of running (teammate Gary) Scelzi in the second round wasn't very appetizing.
"The lack of a run Friday night hurt us bad because you have to have lane choice first round, there's no doubt about it, especially because of the transition here on this track. The transition here is a little shorter, at around 500 feet, and every car in the right lane did the same thing.
"The Brut Dodge went over the transition and just darted to the right so quick and moved out of the groove. Up to that point it was ahead of Robert and running great, and it just got out of the groove and spun the tires and he went around me.
"It hurt us a little bit in the points chase. We just need to stay in it. We're coming up to some tracks that are going to be very exciting to go to, for the fans, for us, and as a driver. And I feel really good about our Brut guys. So things are still OK."
Crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch was disappointed but stoic today. "All of the good cars in Top Fuel went to the left lane (in that first round)," he said. "Doug Foley went down the right lane; it looked pretty nice. But you could see all the other cars, at the transition, make a big move out there.
"The Brut Dodge went really well. It appeared to me like we were ahead of him. By the numbers we were ahead of him. It was going extremely well until it got to that transition point. It made the little wiggle out there, kicked the tires loose and it was over from there.
"The whole moral to the story is you need to go into first round having lane choice."
Next on the schedule is the O'Reilly NHRA Nationals, Sept. 23-25, 2005.