O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals
Capps expands lead on Force with quarterfinal finish
Dallas, Sunday: Points leader Ron Capps gained ground on John Force in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship chase today by defeating the 13-time champion (and second in points) in the opening round of the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.
Their first-round contest was billed as the "monster match-up" of the weekend, and it didn't disappoint the legion of Capps and Brut fans, as Capps drove the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T straight down the quarter-mile to dismiss a tire-smoking Force with a 4.874-second elapsed time at 309.06 mph to Force's 9.026/77.44. Reaction times were nearly identical: .085 for Force, .087 for Capps.
Capps, who receives additional support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels, failed to capitalize on that victory any further, as he lost the second round to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Mike Ashley (4.821/313.95 to 4.890/316.97).
With that, Capps now leads Force by 37 points, with four events remaining in the season. Robert Hight, third in the standings, won today's event, moving him within 93 points of Capps.
"It could have been worse," said Capps, who is aiming for his first Funny Car crown. "Obviously, we got by a huge round first round. It's kind of what's been going on all year long. It's hard to capitalize. They've had a hard time capitalizing on those moments they needed to and we obviously feel like we didn't capitalize when we should have.
"I didn't sleep, I was nervous. It was just an epic round, like I said yesterday. It was as big as I've ever been involved in in my career. It was tough to think about it all night long, but we got past it. It's too bad we didn't go further.
"I tell you, I cut a tire pretty good down there," he said of the second round. "It's like the third time this weekend that we've run over something. It's cut the front tire as well as the rear tire. There is obviously stuff being left on the track. It's not the reason we lost, but it definitely made it an issue.
"The car did a big wiggle down there before the finish line and cut the tires pretty bad, the front and the rear."
As for the agonizingly tight battle for the championship, "It's getting down to the wire," he said, "and it's going to be another one of those fights to the end and it's great for the fans, but nerve-wracking for John and me. We all need to be careful, because we're going to have Hight sneaking up on as well. We need to stay focused."
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