SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2009 – No. 14 qualifier Ron Capps defeated No. 3 qualifier Ashley Force Hood in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations before exiting in the second round to another John Force Racing team driver, Robert Hight. With that, and Tony Pedregon's reaching the final round, Capps slipped to second place, and is 11 points behind Pedregon, who was runner-up today to Tim Wilkerson.
Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge, Capps eliminated Force Hood, who edged out Capps at the starting line, with a 4.277-second elapsed time at 287.35 mph when she lost traction. The popular daughter of 14-time national champion John Force slowed to a losing 4.713/192.80 pass.
Facing Hight in the second round, without lane choice, Capps struck the tires early, coasting to a 6.193/118.71 pass. Hight also smoked the tires, but it was later in the run and he was able to cross the finish line first with a 4.627/242.02.
"This weekend things didn't seem to be flowing the way we wanted them to and going in our direction," said Capps, a five-time season titlist. "You really have to work a lot harder on just everything. And things kept popping up that threw us hurdles, but the NAPA team has done a great job all weekend to get around them.
"To get in the show was a major hurdle in the heat of the day on Saturday and then, of course, first round against Ashley was pretty good. I saw her out the window and she was about a car length on me, and then she pulled the tires loose. We also had problems going on with a cylinder out. So, we felt that was a lucky win.
"And then we created kind of our own misfortune in the second round because Robert had problems and so did we. We pulled the tires loose. It's all hindsight. It's easy to look back and say 'Ah, if we would have gone down the track we would have beat them.
"Tough conditions. It was very hot and it was a very grueling weekend for a lot of teams here. We're just looking forward to a couple of weeks' break before we go to Brainerd."
Next up is the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 14-16.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS, after 15 of 24 events:
1. X Tony Pedregon, 1101 (runner-up today)
2. X Ron Capps, 1090
3. X Ashley Force Hood, 1054
4. Tim Wilkerson, 919 (winner today)
5. Jack Beckman, 889
6. Bob Tasca, 841
7. Del Worsham, 824
8. John Force, 772
9. Mike Neff, 740
10. Cruz Pedregon, 713
11. Matt Hagan, 707
12. Robert Hight, 678
X – clinched a spot in Countdown to 1 playoffs