Capps scores runner-up
Sonoma, Sunday: No. 10 qualifier Ron Capps powered the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car straight to his fourth final round of the season today at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals, but fell just .0999 of a second short of beating his teammate Gary Scelzi for a second season win.
The Scelzi/Capps match-up marked the second all-Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car final round. The first was in Atlanta in 2004, when Gary Scelzi defeated Whit Bazemore.
Capps and Scelzi took off at the starting light with nearly identical reaction times: .073 for Capps, .069 for Scelzi. It was a close race to the 1000-ft. mark until Capps slowed to a 5.079-second elapsed time at 293.60 mph and a loss to Scelzi's fiery 4.984/295.21, due to a supercharger explosion at the finish.
To reach the semifinals, the California native defeated 13-time Funny Car champion and second in points John Force for the third time this season in the first round, opening the door for both Capps and Scelzi to move up in the standings. It worked for Scelzi, who moved into second, but Capps remains in fourth place.
There is good new, however, as Capps is now just two points behind Force, 72 behind Scelzi in second, and 88 short of first place, making this Funny Car season one of the closest in recent history.
Capps then dismissed Force's teammate Eric Medlen in the quarterfinal with a 4.880/313.07 and his teammate Whit Bazemore in the semifinal with a 4.963/311.34.
"Great weekend," said Capps, who struggled in qualifying, but shone in eliminations. "People want to comment how our weekend was going up to Saturday night, and it's never as good as you want it to be. And especially when you don't qualify as good as you want to. This team is good at racing from Saturday forward and concentrating on race day.
"If you're in the show anything can happen and we proved that again. To be able to beat Force first round and step up to the challenge on a hot and greasy race track like today was all day and to run as good as we did, was a testament to crew chief Ed 'Ace' McCulloch and the Brut crew, even though we fell off in the final.
"There was quite a pretty bad vibration on the burnout and during the run," he explained.
"We did a lot of hard work. The guys worked their butts off changing the rear end between rounds. We had a brake problem, we had a lot of things thrown at us and they rose to the occasion. We're happy. Obviously, if we had won it would have been better, but we're very happy with the results."
Ace was a bit philosophical: "In the big picture of Don Schumacher Racing we had a wonderful day. In the smaller picture, in the Brut world, we wanted to win. But if we had to lose, to lose to Scelzi or a team car, that's great. Good for them. We advanced in the points. That's cool. We were trying to win. I haven't looked at the computer yet, so I don't know what the car did. We'll see. It shouldn't have slowed down that much."
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