Capps earns No. 5
Sonoma, Saturday: Ron Capps kept a steady pace throughout qualifying for the 21st annual NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., grabbing the No. 5 position for Sunday’s eliminations rounds.
Driving the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, he kicked off this weekend's event on Friday by posting a solid 4.289-second elapsed time at 276.46 mph to garner sixth place, then followed that with his quickest pass of the weekend during the Friday evening session, a 4.121/292.77, the fifth quickest of that round which placed him fifth.
In Saturday's final two qualifying attempts under a hot Northern California sun, a strong wind and track temperatures hovering around the 130-degree mark, Capps first recorded a tire-smoking 7.032/90.20, but redeemed himself, his crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and his NAPA AUTO PARTS crew by posting a stellar 4.226/290.32 in his final try in the hottest part of the day. It was again the fifth quickest of the round and solidified his No. 5 position.
"Everything is good, we're racing on Sunday," said Capps, a Northern California native. "It's strange to have to get used to these numbers racing to 1000 feet, but the racing is really good. The carnage is down, parts breakage is down and, more than anything else, I love it for the fans. I have 30 family members out here, so I hear first-hand what it's like for the fans. And I sneaked up to the starting line a couple of times and watched Top Fuel and saw great racing.
"Once again, Ed McCulloch, (assistant crew chief) Ronnie Thompson, and our NAPA guys did a heck of a job to get us qualified fifth. It was a little bit of a pressure situation again like we used to have, where you had to get down that Friday night run, and that round was very important.
"Being fifth in qualifying will keep us up in those points and we have Gary Densham first round who is right there on our tail in the POWERade points chase, so we have a big day ahead of us,” added Capps, who is sixth in the rankings. Densham is eighth, 19 points back.
"That last run in the same conditions we're going to see tomorrow was invaluable. Qualifying is qualifying. It's nice to qualify at the top, but what excites me as a driver is having a car that can go down the track in the same conditions as race day and that's what Ed McCulloch and the NAPA guys have given me."
As mentioned, Capps faces Gary Densham in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations on Sunday.
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