ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 27, 2009) – It was a tough day for Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car team at the NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, as he fell in the opening round of eliminations to Tim Wilkerson.
Capps, who had qualified ninth, did not have lane choice, which relegated the NAPA team to what turned out to be the very unfavorable right lane. Capps launched first against No. 8 qualifier Wilkerson but mid-way down the 1000-foot race track he struck the tires and slowed to a 4.685-second run at 222.33 mph, while Wilkerson crossed the finish line first with a 4.212/288.64.
Capps fell to sixth place in the Countdown to 1 playoffs point standings. Wilkerson remained in eighth.
"We obviously put ourselves in that position of not having lane choice and it turned out to be bigger than we thought. Bigger than anybody thought," said Capps. "In the whole first session no one won out of the right lane. It was hard to go up there and try to back it down so much that you could barely go down the lane when you knew you had your back against the wall.
"There are still four races left in the playoffs. We're regrouping right now. I still feel just as confident as ever when it comes to Sunday. I know the Memphis track next weekend is going to be very tricky, so we'll start working on preparing for that event immediately.
"The good thing is there were other match-ups today with Countdown competitors racing each other, so a few other people were also eliminated early.
"Obviously, you have to take care of your own destiny and right now we just can't rely on someone else helping us."
Next up is the 22nd annual NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 2-4, 2009.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS, after two of six Countdown to 1 playoffs events:
1. Robert Hight, 2241 (winner today)
2. Ashley Force Hood, 2228
3. Jack Beckman, 2196 (runner-up today)
4. Tony Pedregon, 2182
5. Bob Tasca III, 2170
6. Ron Capps, 2147
7. John Force, 2131
8. Tim Wilkerson, 2129
9. Mike Neff, 2099
10. Del Worsham, 2085
11. Cruz Pedregon, 969
12. Matt Hagan, 926