CAPPS MAKES UP GROUND IN COUNTDOWN WITH SEMIFINAL FINISH IN RICHMOND


Ron Capps made up ground in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Countdown to 1 playoffs point standings with his semifinal finish at the NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, just south of Richmond, Va. He moved into fourth place and closed the gap between him and leader Robert Hight, and is now 63 markers behind.

With two events remaining in the season before a champion is crowned, Capps, driving the NAPA Susan G. Komen for the Cure Dodge Funny Car, is within striking distance of his first Funny Car championship.

En route to the semifinal round after qualifying No. 2 with a 4.046-second run at 308.71 mph, recording his career-best top speed racing to 1000 feet, he dismissed Jerry Toliver with a solid 4.085/309.27, then dismissed Bob Tasca with another stout 4.121/298.07.

Despite enjoying lane choice all the way, he exited the event in the semifinal round against eventual event winner Del Worsham, when he struck the tires early, slowing to a 5.145/149.10 pass, while Worsham cruised to the victory with a 4.119/306.95.

With championship contenders Hight, Ashley Force Hood and Tony Pedregon bowing out in early rounds (only Hight made it into the second round), the points tightened up and it's still anybody's game.

"We took advantage of the situation where we made positive ground on the leaders," said Capps, class-best five-time winner this year, "but we are still very disappointed because we felt like there were 40 more points that we could have cleaned up with today.

"That’s the thing about our sport: you just can’t start counting that stuff. Even though you have lane choice the cars are so competitive out here. The track and the NHRA did a great job of evening these lanes out.

"We went back up in the semis to run a 4.08 or 4.09. Del ran a 4.11 and we pulled the tires loose. That's what makes it so fun and so competitive.

"We're going next to Las Vegas. That's a great track for this team; we won there earlier this year. With those two tracks coming up (Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.) and our being three rounds behind the leaders it's going to be a fun two weekends off."

Next up is the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS, after four of six Countdown to 1 playoffs events:
1. Robert Hight, 2362
2. Ashley Force Hood, 2349
3. Tony Pedregon, 2314
4. Ron Capps, 2299
5. Tim Wilkerson, 2280 (runner-up today)
6. Jack Beckman, 2276
7. Bob Tasca III, 2259
8. Del Worsham, 2227 (winner today)
9. John Force, 2216
10. Mike Neff, 2203
11. Cruz Pedregon, 1034
12. Matt Hagan, 1000