After slow start, Capps qualifies No. 14
Richmond, Saturday: After a slow start in the first two qualifying rounds for the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, Ron Capps placed the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into No. 14 with a career-best (racing to 1000 feet) 4.088-second pass at 291.76 mph in today's third qualifying round - the fifth quickest lap of that session.
His Friday laps included a tire-smoking 8.443/78.71 and a 4.135/295.98 (DNQ).
With nearly ideal fall conditions both days, the final session produced a number of career-best (to 1000 feet) passes, setting a 16-car field in which the top three (Cruz Pedregon, Tony Pedregon and Mike Neff) had identical 4.041-second runs. Capps was unable to join the party, posting a 4.120/292.46.
"What a session," said Capps, who faces Neff, directly in front of him in the Countdown to 1 point standings (Nos. 10 and 9), in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations. "This track has been super-fast and conditions are everything that these nitro engines want. We made our best run in the first session today. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) really got after the NAPA Dodge. It reacted. This track, as fast as it is, has some really quirky bumps in it and a lot of drivers are talking about how much of a handful it is to drive here. Usually, the quicker the cars run the more of a handful they are, but here those bumps are really upsetting.
"It's really hard to keep the car in the groove, so our focus is going to be to put a little more downforce in the front end to keep the NAPA Dodge planted. If I can keep the car in the middle of the groove we have a good shot of running an .04 or an .05 tomorrow if the conditions are the same.
"It's there. Our first run today was a great run. The NAPA guys responded. We weren't part of the top 12 coming into today, and to show up this morning and jump right in at the top of the pack was just an excellent job by everyone.
"Obviously, we have a great match-up on Sunday. We're not even thinking of the Countdown right now; we're thinking about getting a win for NAPA, and I think we have the car to do it."
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