JOLIET, ILL., July 10, 2011 – Ron Capps, aboard the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car made a quarterfinals appearance today at the 14th-annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals here at Route 66 Raceway.
A hot track, which kept all of the nitro crew chiefs on their toes throughout the afternoon, affected the traction of his car in both rounds, with the Don Schumacher Racing driver coming out victorious in the first.
"The car came loose in the first round, but it was well down the track," said the Southern Californian. "The track continued to get tricky as the day went along and Tim (Richards, crew chief) tried to take out power so we could make it down during the second round, but it might have been a bit too much and we shook the tires.
"Unfortunately, Jeff Arend was able to go right on through and got the win."
Capps, coming out of the number-three-starting spot, produced a 4.476-second lap at 243.24 miles per hour in defeating Terry Haddock, 7.431 at 94.51 mph, in the opening session of today's final eliminations. His 4.598 run at 266.16 was not quick enough to catch Arend, 4.361 at 281.42, in the following round.
This was the second-consecutive strong-qualifying effort for the NAPA car as its 4.135 at 301.94 resulted in the third-qualifying position, backing up his second-place showing two weeks ago in Norwalk, Ohio.
"I felt very confident going into today's race," Capps said. "Actually, since Tim took the reins (six races ago at the Atlanta event), I am 99-percent sure the car will get down the track every time I come to the (starting) line. I just have a lot of confidence when we start the car that things will go right and today's results did nothing to change my thinking.
"We're heading to the Western Swing starting with Bandimere Speedway. This is one of the most demanding tracks – and stretches – for drivers and crew chiefs and there is NO ONE I would rather go there with than 'The General.'"
Capps heads into the Western Swing, consecutive weekends beginning July 22 in Denver, Sonoma and Seattle, holding the seventh position in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings. The NAPA driver is 13 points – less than a race-round win – out of sixth place, trailing Jeff Arend, who passed Capps thanks to his final-round appearance. Mike Neff, today's winner, sits atop the Funny Car standings.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS after the 11 of 16 races in the "regular" season: