Capps posts strong run, is ousted in first round
Houston, Sunday: Driving the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Ron Capps suffered an early exit today at the NHRA Spring Nationals, the fourth round of the 24-event 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
For the fourth straight national event, he found himself facing one of the strongest cars and toughest Funny Car competitors in the opening round of eliminations. Capps squared off against Tim Wilkerson, who posted the quickest elapsed time of the round (which also held up through the second round), a 4.870-second push at 319.37 mph, to defeat Capps' solid 4.953/309.27.
"You look at the ladder and our run would have won a lot of other rounds," said Capps, the No. 5 qualifier. "This morning, Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) was Captain Intensity. He might as well have had a blue-and-yellow cape on. He was like, 'You know what, it's right in front of me. I've been missing it.' And he changed everything completely around in the clutch department, which is a big big move for a crew chief to make. But had we run yesterday with what he changed this morning and had a couple of runs under our belts, this car would have been very fast today. It was already pretty fast.
"John Force for years has put up with the fact that guys go up there and treat you like you're the San Antonio basketball team. They are the champs and everybody is wanting to beat them. And they're going to have their A game, so you have to go to bat every time with your A game. And people are really getting up to race us. It's a great thing, but when you looked at the ladder it hurt to see that guys were winning with six-second runs and smoking the tires, and here we ran 4.95 and the car was very safe.
"We went down the track, we didn't beat ourselves. It's hard to hold your head up when you lose, but we have a great race car. And I'm very confident.
"We know that Tim Wilkerson can run well and he has. And we expected him to run that well, but we thought we could beat him."
What's up next for the NAPA Dodge team? "There's a very big light at the end of the tunnel," said Capps. "We're going to stay here and test on Monday. Ace is really happy with the run. Even though we lost the round there's a lot of racing left. It's still early in the year. I feel bad because obviously NAPA Auto Parts' reputation off the track is number one and we feel like we need to get the performance up to match that on the track for them. They're very good people to work with, and they know it's coming. They believe in us. We're excited to go to Vegas."
Currently, Capps is tied in 15th with his teammate Jerry Toliver in the point standings.
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