Ron Capps finished third in the final round of the rain-delayed Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals today in a quartet of cars including him, his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force and his daughter Ashley Force Hood.

The elder Force took home the victory, his daughter was second, while Capps, driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger, placed third. Hagan trailed in fourth.

Without lane choice, Capps was relegated to lane No. 1 while Force selected the more-favorable lane No. 2. Capps took off a tick behind Force, and it was Force first at the finish line with a 4.036/316.23 to Capps' losing 4.088/306.33. Capps holds on to second place in the point standings, behind Force.

"We had lane 2 all weekend and it was definitely, we thought, a better lane for us and with the rains all night we didn't know what was going to happen,” said Capps. “A lot of times the rain will get underneath the rubber (on the track) and bubble up, but the Safety Safari did a great job. It's obviously a good track to begin with.

"We had second choice and we chose lane 1, but something happened with the car. It might have pushed a head gasket out, I'm not sure, but it had fire from half-track on in my left firewall window. But I just legged it down there.

"It's amazing it still ran what it ran, to be honest with you. I was shocked. It was on fire and I'm looking down at it and looking up, and looking down, and it went right down the track.

"We figured we would run 4.0 flat or 4.01 and we went up to run that. We'll have to wait and see what Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) says after looking at the computer.

"I think it was our race to lose this weekend. We really felt like we had a great race car, so it's disappointing."

As for racing four-wide, "I'm glad it's over," he said. "Don't get me wrong. I had a blast and I said in my interviews how much fun and how exciting it is. But, it needs to a special-event race with a lot of money, like the Dragsters versus Funny Car Showdown we had a few years ago. This format is not conducive to a points-earning event. It's just not. It's fun and it's exciting and Bruton Smith deserves kudos and I'm glad we were able to deliver for him, but I think the consensus is we'd rather not run a points race this way."

Next up is the 23rd annual NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, April 9-11.

Race Facts


(after three national events)

  1. John Force, 3971
  2. Ron Capps, 3083
  3. Jack Beckman, 278
  4. Matt Hagan, 2554
  5. Ashley Force Hood, 2472
  6. Bob Tasca III, 236
  7. Tim Wilkerson, 230
  8. Robert Hight, 223
  9. Tony Pedregon, 212
  10. Del Worsham, 166

1 Winner today
2 Runner-Up today
3 Third Place today
4 Fourth Place today