Ron Capps did not receive a birthday present today from Bristol Dragway, as he was bounced in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations by last weekend's Englishtown, N.J., winner Bob Tasca III.

Sunday dawned with predictions of temperatures even hotter than Saturday’s, and despite 90-degree ambient heat, the track produced a number of solid non-tire-smoking runs in the first round. As No. 10 qualifier, Capps posted a good pass but fell victim to the luck of the draw by having to face the No. 7 qualifier without lane choice.

The pair launched wheel-to-wheel (.082 reaction time for Capps, .080 for Tasca - .000 is perfect), but Tasca's 4.236-second lap at 292.65 mph, the second-quickest of the round, was enough to outrun Capps' 4.299/277.77.

“The NHRA did a great job of prepping the track today,” said Capps, driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car and two-time Bristol champion, “and the track temperature was around 120 degrees earlier in the day. A big difference from yesterday, when we ran the final qualifying session with the track temp registering nearly 140 degrees. (Crew chief) Ed "Ace" McCulloch was ready for it with a solid tune-up for the conditions. We just came up short. It's tough to race against a driver/car combination that's been running strong of late, and Tasca and his team did a great job.

“I'll just head to the airport and try to get home in time to celebrate my birthday and Father's Day with my kids (son Caden, who'll be 9 on July 1, and daughter Taylor, who will turn 14 on July 25). I should be landing in time for us to take in a late movie in Carlsbad (Calif.).

“There's still plenty of season left and our goal is to move up higher in the point standings and lock in a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. When the Countdown starts it'll be like a whole new season.”

Capps remains seventh in the point standings, with five events to go before the playoffs kick in.

Next up is the fourth annual NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, June 25-27.

Race Facts


(after eleven events)

  1. John Force, 9331
  2. Robert Hight, 875
  3. Matt Hagan, 807
  4. Jack Beckman, 778
  5. Ashley Force Hood 768
  6. Bob Tasca III, 759
  7. Ron Capps, 697
  8. Del Worsham, 666
  9. Tim Wilkerson, 6652
  10. Tony Pedregon, 605

1 Winner Today
2 Runner-Up Today