Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car, Ron Capps was cast out by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the opening round of eliminations at the 11th annual NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

No. 5 qualifier Capps went up in smoke early in the contest, while No. 12 qualifier Beckman snagged the victory with a 4.319-second elapsed time at 290.07 mph to Capps' losing 5.659/126.96.

"We're staying on Monday here and testing, bringing another car out," said Capps, who is now fourth in the point standings. "We had a lot of ideas of what we wanted to try here. This is the first weekend that the teams have seen this type of warm weather conditions (track temperature reached as high as 128 degrees) and we're going to see it a lot this year.

"We're basically on a four-day test. We tried some things during the weekend and we're going to stay here on Monday to test. The NAPA team learned quite a bit, even though the results didn't show it.

"You look at all the tracks coming up, including St. Louis, and you're going to see these types of conditions, where you're really going to have to get down the track. We'll see 130-plus-degree track temperatures.

"We worked really hard on some DSR parts that we've been wanting to run and we have the new tire that Goodyear is coming out with as well," added Capps, whose team did not run the new tire during the race weekend. "There's a lot of things we need to gear up for.

"So many times we've started the year off with wins. We started off great this year, don't get me wrong (one final round, one semifinal), but in the last two years we fell short in the Countdown. We feel like we need to be as good as we can be throughout this whole year.

"It's a minor hiccup today, but this is the same good NAPA AUTO PARTS team, we'll be a threat to win when we get to St. Louis, and I'm excited about our test here Monday."

Next up is the 14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., just over the bridge from St. Louis.

Race Facts


(after six of 23 events)

  1. John Force, 5531
  2. Matt Hagan, 433
  3. Ashley Force Hood, 395
  4. Ron Capps, 379
  5. Tony Pedregon 3742
  6. Jack Beckman, 366
  7. Tim Wilkerson, 335
  8. Del Worsham, 321
  9. Robert Hight, 315
  10. Bob Tasca III, 304

1 Winner Today
2 Runner-Up Today