BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 17, 2009) – NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps advanced to the quarterfinal round today at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway after defeating Bob Bode in the opening face-off. He maintains his No. 1 status in the standings, and is now 57 markers ahead of today's winner, Del Worsham.
Driving the NAPA Adaptive One Brakes Dodge Funny Car for the first and only time this season before he returns to his usual mount, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge, Capps took the win over Bode with a 4.217-second lap at 251.16 mph, despite dropping a cylinder which caused engine damage, an oildown and a lengthy clean-up of the track surface.
With repairs done and without lane choice, Capps faced Tony Pedregon in the second round. Capps was first off the line with a .045 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Pedregon's .108, but the NAPA Dodge was soon up in smoke and It was Pedregon's win at the finish line, with a 4.143/300.26 to Capps' 4.503/262.90.
"You have to really tip your hat to all these crew chiefs because we had tough conditions today," said Capps of the drop in temperatures from 80 degrees on Saturday to the 60s today with cloud cover. "The sun was out on Friday and Saturday, with patches of clouds, but it was hot and humid.
"Everybody knew a cold front was coming and when we we woke up Sunday morning it was overcast, cool and fast. And these engines breathe so well in these conditions. The track was great but it just showed that everybody wasn't quite as ready as they thought. And a lot of people overpowered the track.
"We did as well first round. It went out there and caught a couple of bumps and put a cylinder out. On race day you have to leg it to the end and that's what we did, and we ended up spilling a little bit of Valvoline oil down there.
"It was incredible because I don't think there was one fuel car - Dragster or Funny Car - that went down the track without some type of a problem or an oildown. It kind of caught everybody by surprise.
"Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) did a great job. The NAPA Adaptive One Brakes car was on a great run the first round and to still run a 4.21 was amazing.
"We lost lane choice second round. I think that was the big difference, because the left lane was definitely a little bit better than the right. When it rained all night it peeled up a little bit in the right lane just enough to make a difference.
"We had planned to stay here and test all day tomorrow, which we still are. Don Schumacher has rented the track and invited a couple of other teams to test with us. We're going to make as many laps as we can.
"We'll just keep chugging away. It shows the determination of Ace and the NAPA guys to just keep after it."
Next up is the NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan., May 29-31.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS, after eight events:
1. Ron Capps, 616
2. Del Worsham, 559 (winner today)
3. Tony Pedregon, 528 (runner-up today)
4. Ashley Force Hood, 505
5. Jack Beckman, 479
6. Matt Hagan, 448
7. Tim Wilkerson, 426
8. Bob Tasca III, 407
9. John Force, 399
10. Cruz Pedregon, 386
11. Mike Neff, 369
12. Robert Hight, 347