Capps is runner-up in season finale
Pomona, Sunday: Ron Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team streaked to their second final round of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at the season-ending NHRA Finals before bowing out to newly-crowned Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon. Capps ended up eighth in the final point standings for the year.
En route to his 54th career final round, enjoying lane choice in every stanza, Capps first dismissed Bob Tasca III with a solid 4.142-second pass at 299.13 mph, then eliminated Ashley Force with an even quicker 4.114/300.33. In the semifinals he met up with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, whom he also dispatched with another consistent pass, a 4.116/301.27.
It was the final round against Pedregon that saw the first chink in Capps' armor when he inadvertently deep-staged several inches too far at the starting lights. Cruz launched first with a .058 (of-a-second) reaction time to Capps' .109 (.000 is perfect) and, although Capps crossed the finish line with a quicker elapsed time of 4.078 seconds at 304.53 mph, the second quickest elapsed time of the weekend, it was Pedregon credited with the win on a holeshot advantage, despite a slower pass of 4.087/303.30.
"I've never done that," said Capps of his starting-line hiccup. "I was kind of shocked. When Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) brought me up to light the pre-stage light and I rolled in to light my first light, I rolled in and lit the second light. I was as surprised as anybody that I had done that. I just told myself, Contain yourself, just do everything as you're supposed to do. So, I waited a few seconds and pulled the fuel pump on like normal, let the clutch pedal out like normal and then rolled in there and waited for Cruz to stage.
"I knew the car was on a good run, and I saw his header flame was out my window. Maybe it did affect me. I didn't think I was affected by it even though I was surprised that I did it. It's a mistake that I just don't make.
"To win on a holeshot in the semis (against Beckman) and then lose on one in the finals is tough. Thatís just the way it happens so often. The numbers are so skewed that when you hear 'holeshot' it's not always so.
"Beating Jack in the semis was a great race to get us in the final. I was excited. It's the end of the season, you get a couple of months off and you want to end on a good note. We had a great day. It could have been a fantastic day with a win. I was really excited to get down there and do a winner's interview. This team needs it. Unfortunately, it didn't happen this time
"It's been an up-and-down year, but I think we still ended on a high note, and we were able to test some things this weekend, and Ace showed that he could run performance-wise as good as anybody going into 2009. That excites me."
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