CHANDLER, Ariz., October 16, 2011 – NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Ron Capps, who did not qualify for Sunday's 27th-annual NHRA Arizona Nationals here, leaves this desert locale holding seventh place in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
Capps's Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman won today's event at Firebird International Raceway, propelling him past another DSR teammate, Matt Hagan, into the championship lead.
The NAPA team has moved on to the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the location of the October 28-30 Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, for a full day of testing.
"We put a new car on the track for Phoenix, one built after the previous race (outside Reading, Pa.)," said Capps. "Our NAPA guys worked their tails off getting this car ready for Phoenix, but we had issues on each of the four qualifying runs, all of which were in very difficult, hot conditions.
"We'll go to Vegas Monday, find what the problem was and sort it out. We'll be ready for the race in a couple of weeks.
"Even if we can't reasonably contend for the championship (139 points behind Beckman with eight rounds of racing, each worth 20 points, remaining in the season), we'll go out there fighting to win for the great folks at NAPA who have been so very supportive throughout the season.
"And, now with Tim Richards calling the shots, we will be that much stronger going into next year!"
Unofficial Full Throttle Funny Car standings after the 19th of 22 regular-season races: