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02.20.13

Capps Grabs Impressive Semi-Finals Win in Pomona

NHRA Drag Racing - Pomona, CA

Ron Capps was happy with the overall performance of his NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team Sunday in the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Southern California.

But he would have been ecstatic if the opener of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season ended one round sooner so his last memory of the Winternationals was not losing in the final round to Courtney Force when she produced the quickest Funny Car run of the event at 4.025 seconds and 317.12 mph while Capps smoked the tires.

“It rattled the tires loose, and I couldn’t catch it. We just got beat by a better car on that run,” Capps said. “Right now we’re disappointed we didn’t win in the final because when you get into a final there’s nothing to do but win.

“I’ve said it time and time again, Courtney has one of the best cars out here, and she can drive it. That car is going to run hard all year. She’s going to be a thorn in everybody’s side.”

Capps, the veteran driver for Don Schumacher Racing, prefers remembering his semifinal win over teammate Johnny Gray. Gray’s Dodge Charger R/T had been dominant through the first two rounds and Capps’ crew chief Rahn Tobler was a little handicapped when Gray earned his choice of lanes because he was quicker than Capps in the previous round.

“The semifinals against Johnny was like a final round for us,” Capps said. “We were backed into a corner, didn’t have lane choice and Johnny’s car was one of the premier cars today.

The NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge overcame what many thought was a lesser performing lane and uncorked its best run of Winternationals with a time of 4.036 at 316.23 mph to Gray’s 4.056 (301.07).

“When you go in and feel like you’re racing a quicker car and people are counting you out because you’re off a little bit, and then you find it and throw down a run like that ... those are moments that stand out when you look back. I wish you could bottle up moments like that.

“Tobler showed his tenacity and his NAPA Know How. He put together a 4.03 when the sun was still out. It planted me back in the seat. It was one of those runs that felt like we won a final round. It was huge.

“I wouldn’t want to have to run our car. We’ve got a great NAPA hotrod, and we just have to keep our heads up. It’s a great start, and I’m glad we can race again in a few days.”

The next three-day Mello Yello event is the NHRA Arizona Nationals that begins Friday at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.

FUNNY CAR

Event winner: Courtney Force (John Force Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: C.Force (JFR), 4.036, 318.24 (Saturday)
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Qualified: No. 6

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

1st round: CAPPS (4.108 sec., 313.58 mph) def. John Force (4.119, 313.07)
2nd round: CAPPS (4.251, 241.84) def. Gary Densham (5.808, 105.41)

Semifinals: CAPPS (4.036, 316.23) def. Johnny Gray (4.056, 301.07)

Final: Courtney Force (4.025, 317.72) def. CAPPS (6.090, 116.32)

THURSDAY QUALIFYING

Session 1: 5.115 sec, 146.91 mph

FRIDAY QUALIFYING

Session 2: 4.102, 314.53

SATURDAY QUALIFYING

Session 3: 4.073, 311.92

Session 4: 4.433, 204.70
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES

(unofficial, after 1 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

FUNNY CAR

1. Courtney Force, 124

2. RON CAPPS, 94

3. JOHNNY GRAY, 76

4. Gary Densham, 60

5. Cruz Pedregon, 56

6. Matt Hagan, 52

7. Bob Tasca III, 51

8. Todd Lesenko, 51

9. JACK BECKMAN, 43

10. Del Worsham, 38

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