MADISON, ILL (May 3, 2009) – Ron Capps reached his fourth Funny Car final round of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season today and the 58th of his career, but failed to turn it into his fourth victory of the year in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge. He did, however, extend his points lead to 119 markers over event winner Del Worsham.
En route to the finals, Capps and crew chief Ed “Ace” McCulloch put together a string of consistent elapsed times before losing on a holeshot advantage to Worsham: Capps defeated Terry Haddock with a 4.166/297.94, John Force with a 4.134/296.18 and Cruz Pedregon with a 4.135/299.13, each time maintaining lane choice.
The final stanza saw Worsham take off with a .044 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Capps’ .081, which was enough for Worsham to take the victory with a slower 4.135/302.48 pass to Capps’ quicker but losing 4.121/301.33. Margin of victory: a mere 10 feet.
"First of all, what a great event this was for the fans,” said Capps. “Great side-by-side racing all day. Ace gave me such a great hot rod. We ran 4.11s in both qualifying sessions, and then to go 4.15, 4.13, 4.13 and 4.12 on race day was just a great job by the NAPA AUTO PARTS guys.
"We knew Del's car could run and that they could step up. A close race like that I don't mind losing, even though it still hurts. With E.T.s being so close like that a lot of it is give and take at the starting line.
"We extended our points lead, which is a great thing. It's just been really exciting all day today to drive this NAPA car. Ace really worked on helping me as a driver in the last few races and helping the car react better for me, and it's really made me more comfortable. He's real good like that and he thinks like a driver as well. It's been a fun day in that respect where I can step on the gas and not even think about pedaling the car. I knew it was going to go down the track.
"The track was great. We fought for lane choice all day. It was important to us to stay in the right lane and I focused as a driver on doing that and the team focused on giving me a great race car to do that.
"And when you have all the pieces of the puzzle together like that, that's what's important. And we didn't want to get over in that left lane, even though it was good as well. We just felt like the right lane was a little better. So we kept it all day.
“Del is a close friend off the track. It's good to see everybody get a win. My Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman winning last race was great. Everybody needs that once in a while.”
Next up is the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, May 15-17.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS, after seven events:
1. Ron Capps, 562 (runner-up today)
2. Del Worsham, 443 (winner today)
3. Tony Pedregon, 437
4. Jack Beckman, 427
5. Ashley Force Hood, 427
6. Matt Hagan, 413
7. Robert Tasca III, 375
8. John Force, 363
9. Tim Wilkerson, 349
10. Robert Hight,, 337