Capps moves NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car to third in points by advancing to NHRA Spring Nationals final near Houston

Ron Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler nearly became the unbeatable force Sunday in the NHRA Spring Nationals.

Their NAPA AUTO PARTS team stopped a four-event and 18 round winning streak by Robert Hight of John Force Racing in the semifinals Sunday at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.

But a loss of traction in the championship round against Hight's teammate Mike Neff prevented Capps from winning for the first time this season in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Through four qualifying sessions and three elimination rounds - including the second round when Capps beat Courtney Force - the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T never was slower than 4.17 seconds.

In the championship round, Neff's subpar 4.239 at 301.67 mph was enough to top Capps' effort of 4.476 seconds and a slowing 211.79 mph.

Capps drifted to the right at about half track and nearly crossed the centerline to enable Neff to win the title and give John Force Racing its sixth title in six NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing events this season.

"I'm not sure what happened in the final, I need to look at the video," Capps said. "We had a great car, again, all weekend long.

"In the final, it launched fine, but then made a hard move to the right and I brought it back and it started to spin the tires. Once I saw (Mike) Neff ahead of me I just coasted. I was really surprised."

The loss dropped Capps record against Neff to 7-4, but Capps was about as upbeat as one could be for not leaving with silver 25th event anniversary Wally trophy.

"That's two finals in a row for this NAPA team, and that's great. This crew is just top notch. Like I said all weekend, Rahn Tobler could make this car go down the return road. It's really neat for me to sit in the lounge with Rahn and JC (assistant crew chief John Collins) and learn and follow their mindset and listen to what they plan to do on the next run.

"The car runs what (Tobler) says it's going to run. This NAPA Dodge had been like driving a Chrysler 300."

The next Full Throttle event is the May 4-6 NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway at Commerce, Ga.

Capps will represent NAPA AUTO PARTS when he throws out the ceremonial first pitch noon Thursday at Turner Field in Atlanta before the Braves' game with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The following are event results, current Full Throttle standings after the NHRA Spring Nationals:

Event winner: Mike Neff

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 2

Rd.1: CAPPS (4.165, 302.62 def. Bob Bode (7.350, 91.06)
Rd 2: CAPPS (4.165, 302.69 def. Courtney Force (4.175, 296.11)
Semis: CAPPS (4.162, 303.50) def. Robert Hight (5.102, 155.10)
Final: Mike Neff (4.239, 301.67) def. CAPPS (4.476, 211.79)

Race Facts

(Through six of 23 events; DSR drivers capitalized)

  1. Robert Hight, 597
  2. Mike Neff, 489
  3. RON CAPPS, 379
  4. JACK BECKMAN, 343
  5. Cruz Pedregon, 342
  6. JOHNNY GRAY, 333
  7. John Force, 323
  8. Bob Tasca III, 319
  9. Courtney Force, 268
  10. Jeff Arend, 252
  11. MATT HAGAN, 202