CAPPS HANGS ON TO POINTS LEAD, DESPITE FIRST-ROUND EXIT IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Ron Capps was on target for an outstanding Sunday Funny Car eliminations at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals after posting four stellar passes to...
CAPPS HANGS ON TO POINTS LEAD, DESPITE FIRST-ROUND EXIT IN SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Ron Capps was on target for an outstanding Sunday Funny Car eliminations at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals after posting four stellar passes to qualify No. 6.
However, for the second straight event of the Western Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.), the driver of the Brut Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car was ousted by his teammate Whit Bazemore. Last Sunday it was in the final round, today it was in the opening stanza.
With second-in-points John Force losing to his teammate Eric Medlen in the quarterfinal, Capps maintained his points lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship, and now leads Force by 70 markers (1139-1069), with eight events left in the season.
The result was similar to last weekend's final round, as Capps faltered slightly, while Bazemore took off to the finish line with a 4.902-second elapsed time at 315.78 mph to Capps' losing 4.975/293.41.
"The part that hurts the worst is that we had such a great car," said Capps, who also receives support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels. "Sometimes you wake up on Sunday morning and realize that, when you have such a good car in qualifying, it's almost your race to lose. You feel more pressure. That's how I felt this morning. It felt so good.
"For whatever reason - and we're going to watch the replays - the car moved out of the groove pretty hard on me. Whether that was my fault, we're going to see. I just made a comment last night how well the Brut Dodge has been handling and driving all weekend long. I feel so bad for Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and (team consultant Dan) Olson and the Brut guys because they give me such a great car every time. They really have made it easy on me.
"In that run it got out there and just moved out of the groove. It was going to run another low 4.80 (-second elapsed time) and it would have been low ET or second low ET of the round. You can't get out of the groove like that.
"It's going to leave a mark and it's going to hurt a little bit, but we have two weeks to get all that out of our system before we race in Brainerd, Minn."
Racing against your teammate is always tough. "Everybody asks me why I say we don't want to run the Matco Tools car. If for no other reason, it's because that car runs like our car. Ace and Todd (Okuhara, Bazemore's crew chief), Phil (Shuler, assistant crew chief) and Dan Olson communicate really well, so they learn from each other. And the cars are set up the same and, of course, Whit is a great driver. I don't want to race them because they're a great team. Unfortunately, it's also a Don Schumacher Racing car. We're going to have to race them (at some point) and they're one of the best cars lately, and it's no mistake that they won Seattle.
"We knew we had our work cut out for us, and, while it's not a car I want to race early on, it's good for everybody involved except today for the Brut team."
Next up for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 11-13, 2006.