ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14, 2009) - Ron Capps fell to third place in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings today after being defeated in the opening round of eliminations.
Without lane choice as the No. 10 qualifier, he faced No. 7 Tim Wilkerson in what proved to be the less-favorable right lane following the Top Fuel first round. Capps launched first off the starting line and led the first 660 feet of the 1000-foot race track before losing at the finish stripe by 17 inches to Wilkerson. Capps' 4.138-second lap at 298.34 mph was no match for Wilkerson's 4.085/301.60.
In the preceding Top Fuel opening round, not one winner came out of the right lane.
Capps now trails today's event winner Tony Pedregon by 26 points and runner-up Ashley Force Hood by six markers.
"There's always going to be lane choice advantages and we didn't have it. And that's our own fault for not having it because of where we qualified," said the four-time season winner.
"As everybody else said yesterday, we really needed that last run of qualifying on Saturday afternoon. (It was rained out.) We felt like that would have been our run in which we could have moved up.
"Tim made a great run and there were a couple of oildowns in the right lane before us and that didn't help things. That's part of the deal. If you don't earn lane choice then you can't cry about it. And we've won plenty of times without lane choice in a lane that nobody thought anybody could get down. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) is always good at making calls."
Under cloud cover, the nitro teams were treated to excellent, cool conditions in the first round.
"I tell you, this Funny Car category is so close that three or four degrees of track temperature is starting to make a difference up there at the starting line," said Capps.
"We had great conditions that run. We surely should have and expected to run as well as Tim did; we just didn't have lane choice."
Next up is the NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, June 26-28.
UNOFFICIAL POINT STANDINGS, after 11 events:
1. Tony Pedregon, 818 (winner today)
2. Ashley Force Hood, 798 (runner-up today)
3. Ron Capps, 792
4. Del Worsham, 695
5. Tim Wilkerson, 626
6. Jack Beckman, 615
7. Bob Tasca III, 587
8. John Force, 558
9. Cruz Pedregon, 546
10. Matt Hagan, 545