ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 1, 2012) – Ron Capps has raced professionally since 1997 and has won 34 NHRA national event titles in his career.
It takes a lot to make his voice quiver, but that was how he reacted after he calmed down from becoming the quickest Funny Car driver in history on Friday night at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at Englishtown.
Capps, crew chief Rahn Tobler and the team produced a run of 3.964 seconds at 320.89 mph with their NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T that also earned them the provisional pole for the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals.
His speed is the second fastest ever at 1,000 feet in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
"It still hasn't sunk in. My teammate (Matt) Hagan came over and high-fived me and it about hurt my arm," Capps said. "I just can't believe it."
Capps and Hagan are the only Funny Car drivers to complete runs in less than 4 seconds. Hagan went 3.995 last September at Concord, N.C.
Capps watched drivers Robert Hight and DSR teammate Johnny Gray go 4.013 and 4.022, respectively, and knew he could be on a run to remember.
"Guys ahead of us kept throwing down quicker and quicker numbers. It was like a video game," Capps said.
"Rahn said to strap in as tight as I ever have because we're going for it. I couldn't believe it when (assistant crew chief) John Collins was screaming on the radio what we ran but I couldn't hear him clearly.
"I wanted to make sure he said 3.96 before I got out of the car and made an idiot out of myself.
"What a feeling."
Tobler and Capps have advanced to the championship rounds of the last four national events, and won the title a month ago near Atlanta.
"Tobler is the best. He's so meticulous. John Collins is a crew chief of the future; he could be one right now.
"The team had the 'NAPA Know How' tonight. That was the most NAPA Know How I've ever felt in a car.
"I didn't want to lift (off the throttle). I drove it a full quarter-mile. It pulled so hard in the middle. I knew it was on a good run, I just didn't know how good."
About an hour after Capps' run with rain lingering a few miles to the north and west, DSR teammate Spencer Massey with crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler produced the quickest run ever in Top Fuel with a run of 3.728 seconds at 329.91 mph.
The last two qualifying sessions for the 43rd annual event are scheduled for 12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Saturday but could be delayed if the weather forecast for rain in the morning holds true.
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Ron Capps (3.964 sec., 320.89 mph)
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 1
Session 1: 4.079 sec., 309.56 mph
Session 2: 3.964, 320.89
(Following eight of 23 events)