Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
(April 6-9)

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Ron Capps
NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger

Capps extends points lead, goes to fourth final

Las Vegas, Sunday: Ron Capps had another dream of a race day today. Well, almost. He reached the final round for the fourth time this season in the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. And, although he didn't win, he was runner-up and extended his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points lead to 105 over John Force. Force was ousted by Capps' teammate Whit Bazemore in the second round.

The final round saw a match-up between Capps and Cruz Pedregon. It was an ugly contest for both, as each lost traction. Pedregon was the first to recover to take the win with a 5.417/266.16 to Capps' losing 6.474/229.31.

The consistency the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car has become famous for was demonstrated again today, as Capps first disposed of Scott Kalitta with a 4.886/315.27 lap, then, without lane choice, sent Del Worsham packing in the second with a 4.874/318.99 pass, and, again without lane choice, disposed of his teammate Bazemore in the semis, posting a 4.888/317.05.

"It hadn't smoked the tires like that in a long time," he said of his final-round loss to Pedregon. "So, we'll have to take a look at it and see what happened. I pedaled it in case something happened to Cruz, but he had enough for the win.

"Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) never worries about who's in the lane next to him. He races what the race track will give him, but maybe we got a little too greedy in the final. It sure would have been nice to have another win, but to get to the final round and extend the points lead over John Force is great for the big picture. But, we sure wanted to give the Brut people another win.  

"We battled adversity all day. It was one of those deals where we fought some great guys on our way to the final, and most of them had lane choice. Ace and the guys kept working at it, and got us to the final round again.

"It's bittersweet," he said of not scoring a third back-to-back win. "It sure would have been nice to get it, but it's been a great start to the 2006 season so far.

"Ace and Dan Olson (team consultant) are working great together. Time and time again, we go to (different) condition to (different) condition, from track to track, and to be able to adapt to each situation like they do is awesome. It's a dream to drive the Brut Dodge right now. Sometimes I'm pulling the parachutes on Sunday and I'm shaking my head because it's so unbelievable to be driving this car right now."

On his 105-point lead over John Force: "It's early in the year," he said. "If it was the Vegas race in the fall, then I'm sure we'd be feeling a lot more comfortable. I've been around long enough to know that the worst thing you can do is get cocky. We just have to keep our noses down, and keep doing what we're doing. Those POWERade points are so important. We know that from losing the championship by eight points last year. Every round win is important."   

As for the Brut team's ability to adapt to the new Goodyear tire: "You hear some complaints about the new tires," he said. "We ran the same set of Goodyears on all four runs today. We've been getting five or six runs out of a tire. As far as we're concerned, they are great. We haven't had a tire look funny yet."

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