CAPPS BOUNCED BY FORCE IN GATEWAY OPENING ROUND MADISON, Ill. (May 4, 2008) - Ron Capps was unable to foil John Force's record-breaking 1000th career round win today when he lost to the 14-time champion in the opening stanza of Funny Car ...
CAPPS BOUNCED BY FORCE IN GATEWAY OPENING ROUND
MADISON, Ill. (May 4, 2008) - Ron Capps was unable to foil John Force's record-breaking 1000th career round win today when he lost to the 14-time champion in the opening stanza of Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T, Capps had the quicker car of that contest, recording a 4.856-second elapsed time at 319.07 mph to Force's slower yet victorious 4.862/320.20, which will go into the history books as a holeshot win.
Force himself admitted he deep-staged at the starting lights, a practice not often credited to him, but one that often confuses the onlookers. Force's reaction time of .064 came as a result of that deep-staging, while in fact, at least according to Force, Capps' .109 reaction time (.000 is perfect) launched him out the gate an instant before Force.
"It's confusing to a lot of fans," said Capps. "That's one of the unfortunate parts. Whenever I win on a holeshot I try to remember to explain to people that it's not always what it seems. There are a lot of numbers going on. Force apologized for deep-staging, which he doesn't have to do. That's just part of driving.
"The best part of it is that it's still early in the season," continued Capps, who remains ninth in the point standings. "Yeah, we have the Countdown to think about, but to run what we ran in the (less-desirable) right lane was very good. I saw his fender out there and I actually clicked mine off early and still ran that number in the right lane, which obviously wasn't the lane of choice. It would have been by far the quickest in that lane had I run it to the finish line (it was the second quickest). That was just a great job by Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and the guys.
"It's unfortunate, because obviously it wasn't meant to be. We're bringing out a new Murf McKinney chassis. We've been running this car here since last June and it has the updated tubing after Force's accident, but we're going to bring out the new Murf car that is the new 'mandatory-by-Denver' car and start running it here tomorrow and get ready for Bristol.
"I have the best guys in the world. They're behind me, win or lose, and I'm behind them win or lose, but it's tough to swallow when you lose. Especially with the hoopla of John winning his thousandth round. There's a great silver lining in it, though, and you have to look at the positive and go from there.
"But this one hurts a lot."
Capps tried to explain further the subject of deep-staging: "What's so hard to explain to the fans is there is so much room when you stage a car that you can roll in farther and deeper," he said. "And it just makes the driver's reaction time look better. And a lot of owner/drivers are able to do that because they really don't have to answer to anybody.
"If Ace and I are looking for lane choice - and every team will tell you the same thing - we'll win a lot of those and lose a lot of those by reaction times. And the deeper you are the worse the elapsed time is, and vice versa. (Lane choice is given to the driver with the quicker elapsed time of his previous round win.)
"It's still one of those things in our sport that maybe someday they'll fix. John was very diplomatic about it because he got out an apologized to me. For one thing, it would be nice down the road - and I've heard other drivers talk about it - if NHRA would do something to take that confusion away from the fans and have a straight-up E.T. and a straight-up reaction time. But it's been that way for years and it's part of the adjustment a driver makes and part of the mind games, if you will, when a driver goes up to the starting line. I grew up in this sport so I understand it, but it's very confusing to a lot of people
"But, you know what, you're either going to be part of history or you're going to make history. And obviously today we were part of history."