Racing the NAPA Batteries Dodge Charger Funny Car, Ron Capps made an early exit at the 13th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals today, ceding the first round to Jeff Arend.

Under a warm Midwestern sun and dryer air conditions after severe thunderstorms passed through the Joliet area overnight, No. 6 qualifier Capps launched a hair later than Arend, then took over the lead until the 660-foot mark (of a 1000-foot track). He couldn't hold it to the finish, however, as Arend passed him at the stripe to take the win with a 4.239-second elapsed time to Capps' 4.272/262.64.

“We saw an oildown a couple of pairs in front of us and the sun started beating a little harder on the track,” said Capps, “and our teammate Matt Hagan went right down that same left lane and ran a great 4.18.

“We knew the conditions were going to be tough and Jeff Arend could step up and run a low 4.20 or a high teen, so we were prepared. It got out there and when it tried to lock the clutch up it just was too much and it pulled the tires loose.

“NHRA has changed the preparation of the race track with the amount of glue and VHT they use to prep the tracks. And they're experimenting. But the crew chiefs have been frustrated going up there not knowing which direction the prep was taking, so it was throwing a curve ball to a lot of the crew chiefs.

“We were having a great weekend, we wanted to do better with the NAPA Batteries car, and we'll just go to Englishtown and see if we can stay in the top five in points and continue on.”

Next up is the 41st annual NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., June 10-13.

Race Facts


(after ten events)

  1. Robert Hight, 7802
  2. John Force, 759
  3. Matt Hagan, 6711*
  4. Ashley Force Hood, 671
  5. Jack Beckman, 652
  6. Ron Capps, 627
  7. Bob Tasca III, 563
  8. Tim Wilkerson, 531
  9. Tony Pedregon, 522
  10. Del Worsham, 499

1 Winner Today
2 Runner-Up Today

* National Elapsed-Time Record: 4.022