CAPPS RELINQUISHES POINTS LEAD TO FORCE BY ONE POINT IN READING MOHNTON, Pa. (Oct. 1, 2006) - The 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship is beginning to resemble the gut-wrenching end of 2005, as Ron Capps and John Force...
CAPPS RELINQUISHES POINTS LEAD TO FORCE BY ONE POINT IN READING
MOHNTON, Pa. (Oct. 1, 2006) - The 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship is beginning to resemble the gut-wrenching end of 2005, as Ron Capps and John Force are gearing up for a head-to-head battle in the last three remaining events, following the results of today's rescheduled Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Driving the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Capps lost in the opening round of eliminations to Phil Burkart Jr., the same driver who then disposed of Capps' teammate Gary Scelzi and eventually Force in the semifinals. With Force's third-round dismissal, he now leads Capps by one point.
Not to be missed in the mix is Force's teammate Robert Hight, winner of the last two events, who came into the event 93 points behind leader Capps, and is now 35 points behind Force, 34 back of Capps, after his runner-up finish today.
In the race against Burkart, Capps took off with a .071 (of a second) reaction time to Burkart's .055 (.000 is perfect), but a cylinder loss at the top end of the quarter-mile resulted in a 4.909-second lap at 258.27 mph to Burkart's winning 4.783/322.81. Margin of victory: .1422 of a second.
"We're not sure what happened," said Capps, who also receives support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels. "It put a cylinder out there a little ways. There's an advantage to being near the back of the pack (seventh pair), and sometimes a disadvantage. The cloud cover was on the track for the first few rounds of funny Car, and then the sun popped out. It definitely changes the conditions and makes it hard on the crew chiefs. It felt like it had better numbers and the car was running better than it had all weekend, even when we posted the .71 (in qualifying), but it really pulled hard in the middle and put a cylinder out.
"When it does that it upsets the motor and it looks like it may have just quit running, sheared the inside teeth on the belt. These Gates belts are pretty awesome to go through what they do, but when you put them through that kind of torture, like putting a cylinder out, it's not a happy engine. So, he drove around me.
"I became a cheerleader after that. I was hoping Tommy Johnson could be my best friend out there in the second round against Force. He's one of my best friends anyway, but we were cheering him on. He lost to Force on a holeshot, though, but then Phil Burkart did the job in the semifinals.
"Hey, it's been up and down like this for a while," said Capps of the one-point margin between him and Force. "The fans are getting every bit of an emotional roller-coaster ride as spectators that we're getting as drivers and crew members, owners and crew chiefs. Nobody can capitalize. The Matco Tools guys did a great job going up there and almost beating Force (in the opening round, when teammate Jack Beckman lost to Force on a holeshot).
"We had destiny in our own hands for this race and we just didn't do it. We're just going to focus on Richmond. I have a feeling its going to be 'deja vu' from last year."
Next up is the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., Oct. 6-8.