MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2009) – Ron Capps scored his fifth Funny Car win in six final rounds of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. It was his 30th of his career in 60 final rounds and he is now tied with today's runner-up Ashley Force Hood in class point standings. This was also the second time he has won from the No. 1 spot in his career.
His record of 58 final rounds in Funny Car is the fourth best in the history of the class. Capps also has one win in two final rounds in the Top Fuel class.
En route to the final round, Capps disposed of Gary Densham with a stout 4.217-second run at 290.51 mph in the opening stanza, then sent home Cruz Pedregon in the quarterfinal with a 4.173/293.98. His semifinal match-up against his teammate Jack Beckman produced a 4.203/294.63 win, despite a lack of lane choice for the first time.
He regained lane choice for the final round against Force Hood, making a strong and convincing run to take the victory by a margin of 29 feet, using another stellar and consistent run of 4.187/297.22 to triumph over the popular racer.
"She's great," said Capps in the winner's circle. "They're on a roll and that's a tough car to beat. We had such a great car. When (crew chief ) Ed 'Ace' McCulloch ran that (unofficial) track record 4.12 on Saturday (to qualify No. 1) I knew it was a privilege to drive the NAPA car. And going into the final I thought it is my job not to mess up now, because we have a great car.
"What a great deal. I was told there was only five tracks we haven't won at, and now it's four. I wanted to win here for so long. I've been to three final rounds now here and the Bandimeres make it so nice to come here and the people in this area are just wonderful. To win here is big.
"It rattled the tires pretty good the last run (against Force Hood) and I got ready to pedal it and then it cleared up and took off. And I could hear her car over there somewhere and I was just hoping we could get down there without spinning the tires."
As for having relinquished the lead following the Chicago event that he had held for the first 10 races, "We tested for three races after Topeka - Chicago, Englishtown and Norwalk. Then we brought out a new car," said Capps. “And Ace always has a plan. I talked to Ace last week and he said we're back at it and we're going to get the points lead back and I've never heard him talk like that. I could tell with the new car it was like going back and starting the season over, and if that's the way that he was thinking, that's a good thing because we rattled off two wins right off the bat in Pomona and Phoenix, so I feel like we're in the same spot right now.
"If we can just make a run to the Countdown and get ready for it with the points lead that would be an extra bonus of 20 points."
Said team owner Don Schumacher, “Great No. 5 win this year for the NAPA team. Ron and Ace and that whole group are doing one great, great job. It’s a team deal, and without NAPA’s support and all of the NAPA people who come out every week we wouldn’t be out here doing this. It’s a great, great win.”
McCulloch was clearly pleased with today’s results. “I think that we’ve got two more races to win before we can sweep the Western Swing,” he said with a smile. “We’re off to a good start. It’s hard to win in Denver, but someone is going to win and we’ve been working really hard on a lot of stuff. We say this a lot, but a lot of people don’t understand that when we go out and look terrible it’s because we are working on things. We’re trying to be better down the road and it came to us here. It was good.”
Next up is the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Kent, Wash., July 17-19.
UNOFFICIAL POINT STANDINGS, after 13 events:
1. Ron Capps, 965 (winner today)
2. Ashley Force Hood, 965 (runner-up today)
3. Tony Pedregon, 911
4. Jack Beckman, 804
5. Del Worsham, 759
6. Bob Tasca III, 732
7. Tim Wilkerson, 691
8. John Force, 665
9. Matt Hagan, 633
10. Mike Neff, 626
11. Cruz Pedregon, 630
12. Robert Hight, 594