Seattle Funny Car Story

Ron Capps Wins Third Funny Car Title of Season; Captures Fifth Win for Camaro SEATTLE; August 2, 1998: Ron Capps, driver of the Copenhagen Camaro Z28 Funny Car, collected his third title of the 1998 Winston Drag Racing Series today,...

Ron Capps Wins Third Funny Car Title of Season; Captures Fifth Win for Camaro

SEATTLE; August 2, 1998: Ron Capps, driver of the Copenhagen Camaro Z28 Funny Car, collected his third title of the 1998 Winston Drag Racing Series today, his fourth of his career, at the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals at Seattle International Raceway, defeating No. 1 qualifier John Force for the second time in three final-round meetings this season.

Force had the advantage in reaction times (.465 to .480) at the start, but Capps credits the exceptional aerodynamic qualities of the Camaro body with helping him beat Force's Mustang at the finish line by a margin of .102 of a second with an elapsed time of 5.136 seconds at 288.27 mph to Force's 5.253/274.72.

"We left together, he was a little bit ahead of me, maybe a fender," said Capps. "By half track he still had a fender on me, but I said, you know what, you are all mine, my Camaro is so planted where everyone else has been hazing their tires. And, sure enough, in the corner of my eye I watched his nose disappear."

Capps' victory in the Funny Car owned by legendary Don "the Snake" Prudhomme is the fifth for the Camaro brand this year in eight final round appearances. Chuck Etchells, driver of the Kendall/Ma Ma Rosa's Pizza/Superwinch Camaro Z28, has won two titles.

The battle for the Winston Championship in the Funny Car category is tightening up, as Capps moves into second place behind Force (999-988). No. 4 qualifier Etchells, who arrived in Seattle the points leader, drops to third after being eliminated in the first round today (937).

"I'd be lying if I said we just take one round at a time," added Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif. "At this point in the season you are fighting tooth and nail for that extra point. It's a fierce battle for the championship with eight races left; it's going to be a fun season. Whoever wins, it's going to be a lot of fun looking back at this year. I hope I can say that at the podium (at the awards ceremony)."

No. 7 qualifier Capps defeated Cory Lee, Cruz Pedregon and Tony Pedregon to reach the finals, and is the only NHRA driver to have won at Seattle International Raceway in both Top Fuel and Funny Car (he won the Top Fuel title here in 1995).

"It's great to see the team work so well together," said Prudhomme, "and to watch them win rounds and whether it's John Force or whoever, it doesn't matter who they're racing. Beating Force is extra sweet."

Next event on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) schedule is the VisionAire NorthStar Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., on Aug. 20-23.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Chuck Etchells , Cruz Pedregon , Cory Lee