First-Round Frustration for Ron Capps at Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals

Ron Capps ran into a hot driver and right-lane traction issues during his first-round loss in today's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals here at the Gainesville Raceway.

The Don Schumacher Racing driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car could not overcome lane issues as was the case with the preceding cars in that lane. He lost traction and the match to Cruz Pedregon.

"We were going to try and run a 4.07 like we did in Pomona but then the track temperature came up," explained the California native. "John (Medlen, crew chief) started making adjustments, but, you've got to remember, every car in front of us didn't make it down the right lane.

"Robert (Hight) ran a great run in that lane after us, but you can only judge a track by what the car (s) in front of you did. We tried to slide it right down through there and obviously that didn't work."

The match with Pedregon, who lost traction farther down the track than Capps, resulted in a pedal fest. Capps's 4.642-second at 197.22-mile-per-hour lap not quite enough to catch Cruz's 4.168/307.51.

"It hurts a little bit worse because Cruz had some issues and all we had to do was get down the track," he said. "But we're fine. We're going to head to Las Vegas where it's another track that's been great to the NAPA team, so we're really looking forward to getting there."

The results frustrated Capps and the team which had high expectations for this second event on the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule.

"We just got behind this weekend, though not for any lack of effort by the NAPA crew," he said. "It's exciting for me as a driver to sit up in the lounge with John Medlen and watch the mindset that goes into each round. Watching Rahn Tobler, Todd Okuhara, Tommy DeLago and all the DSR crew chiefs talking and discussing our strategy is great."

Capps heads to Las Vegas for the NHRA Nationals April 1-3 on the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in sixth place, with 105 points, in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship.

Race Facts

UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS after the second of 16 races in the "regular" season:

  1. Mike Neff, 2011
  2. Matt Hagan, 175
  3. Robert Hight, 170
  4. Cruz Pedregon, 1612
  5. Jack Beckman, 116
  6. Ron Capps, 105
  7. Jeff Arend, 104
  8. Johnny Gray, 100
  9. John Force, 88
  10. Bob Tasca, 85

1 Winner today
2 Runner-Up today