Ron Capps not deterred by first-round NHRA upset in Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. - It wasn't the storybook ending Ron Capps wanted for his family vacation in Northern California, but the driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T isn't hanging his head.

Ron Capps
Ron Capps

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Capps was upset when he lost in the first round of Sunday's championship eliminations in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Napa Valley when his Funny Car lost traction and veteran Gary Densham sailed past him.

What made it more frustrating for Capps was that Densham's time of 4.486-sec. and a slowing 248.16 mph was there for the taking had Capps' loss of traction not slowed even more to 5.118 (162.80).

But Capps had won the past two titles at Sonoma, and knows streaks in racing end whether good or bad.

But a solid No. 3 qualifying effort enabled Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler to clinch a spot in the 10-driver Countdown to the Championship that will be contested over the last six events of the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

And one bad run doesn't ruin a weekend when focus is on the big picture of winning the series championship.

In addition to winning elimination rounds that lead to event titles, Capps had wanted to cut into Robert Hight's points lead. Capps was able to hold the No. 2 spot in the standings despite his early departure but lost 20 more points to Hight who leads by 81 points.

"We're disappointed that our day ended so soon, but our NAPA Dodge was solid all weekend except for the first round," Capps said.

Capps first run Sunday came right after No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon uncorked a run of 4.060 that was quickest of the day.

"We saw Cruz run that (4.060 seconds) right before we went up and thought the track would hold more," Capps said. "It was a surprise when our tires got loose because this NAPA car with (crew chief) Rahn Tobler has been so consistent."

In addition to qualifying No. 3, Capps and Tobler set the track speed record at 317.57 in qualifying.

"We could have made up some points on Robert, but we're confident going to Seattle next week," said Capps, who trails Hight by 81 points.

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 3
Event winner: Johnny Gray, DSR
No. 1 qualifier: Cruz Pedregon 4.028 seconds
First round: Gary Densham (4.486 sec., 248.16 mph) def. CAPPS (5.118, 162.80)

Session 1: 4.146 sec., 297.55 mph
Session 2: 4.046, 317.57
Session 3: 4.768, 170.21
Session 4: 4.135, 306.40

(through Aug. 29, 2012; Sonoma, Calif.; * clinched spots in Countdown)

1.* Robert Hight, 1112
2. *RON CAPPS, 1031
4. Mike Neff, 899
6. Cruz Pedregon, 761
7. Courtney Force, 740
8. Jeff Arend, 717
9. Bob Tasca III, 687
10. John Force, 674
11. Tim Wilkerson, 605
12. MATT HAGAN, 583

Aug. 3-5, NHRA Northwest Nationals, Pacific Raceways, Kent, Wash.

Source: Don Schumacher Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson , Johnny Gray , Jeff Arend , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Bob Tasca III , Mike Neff , Courtney Force
Article type Race report
Tags capps, cruz, densham, dodge, gray, hight, napa, nhra, pedregon, sonoma, tobler