Capps loses to DSR teammate Gray for Englishtown title in fifth straight final round for NAPA AUTO PARTS team


Ron Capps likes his teammates at Don Schumacher Racing. He really does.

But it could start to be annoying if he keeps lining up his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T against other Funny Cars in the DSR stable.

For the second consecutive NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event, Capps was topped in a championship round by a DSR mate; two weeks ago by Jack Beckman and on Sunday by Johnny Gray.

"I hope that's not a trend we've started," Capps joked.

"Losing sucks, but Johnny Gray is such a great guy that I can't be upset. He's been somewhat of a mentor to me as well."

In the middle of the afternoon at Old Bridge Raceway Park at Englishtown, a heavy shower disrupted racing for a couple hours.

"We had a lot of fun when the rain came. We had both already won in the semifinals so we had time to kill and were joking around and having fun.

"Johnny and I went up there and did our thing, and he beat me. It was a good weekend overall."

Although Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team, led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant crew chief John Collins, were disappointed with the runner-up finish in the NHRA SuperNationals, it was difficult for them to not be happy about advancing to a fifth consecutive championship round.

And, of course, the most memorable part of the weekend was completing their second qualifying run on Friday night in 3.964 seconds to become the quickest Funny Car ever and only the second to dip below 4 seconds.

"It was astonishing what Rahn did this weekend, especially that 3.96," Capps said.

In the final round, Capps' NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge started strong but lost traction just past halftrack and Gray flew by and finished with an elapsed time of 4.078 at 314.39 mph. The time was the quickest in Funny Car on Sunday and one-thousandth of a second quicker than what Capps' best run of the day was in the semifinals.

"The car just did something in the final that it hasn't done in a while; it rattled the tires for quite a ways before it pulled them loose. I gave a quick pedal and looked out the window and saw Johnny fly by so there was no catching him. It's hard to say what happened.

"At least I know Rahn is human now. I'm used to having a car shake once in a while but to be in one that has only done it twice in like 50-some runs is astounding."

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 1
SUNDAY
Round 1: CAPPS (4.162 sec., 306.05 mph) def. Bob Bode (4.233, 296.89)
Round 2: CAPPS (4.104, 305.98) def. Jack Beckman (4.144, 305.36)
Semifinals: CAPPS (4.079, 303.64) def. Courtney Force (4.110, 305.49)
Final: Johnny Gray (4.078, 314.39) def. CAPPS (5.358, 160.71)

QUALIFYING RUNS
FRIDAY
Session 1: 4.079 sec., 309.56 mph
Session 2: 3.964, 320.89
SATURDAY
Session 3: 4.355, 210.01
Session 4: 4.064, 310.13

NEXT EVENT
June 15-17, NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn.

Race Facts

(Following nine of 23 events)

  1. Robert Hight, 857
  2. Ron Capps, 700
  3. Mike Neff, 615
  4. Johnny Gray, 558
  5. Jack Beckman, 543
  6. Cruz Pedregon, 477
  7. Bob Tasca III, 451
  8. John Force, 438
  9. Courtney Force, 429
  10. Jeff Arend, 388
  11. Matt Hagan, 342