ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2012) - Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team lost a battle on Sunday, but enhanced its position in the championship war.
Capps was able to extend his points lead in NHRA's Countdown to the Championship by advancing to the semifinals of the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
Capps padded his points lead by 20 points over the other 10 Countdown competitors. He leads second-place Mike Neff of John Force Racing by 96 heading to St. Louis this week for the third of six events in the Countdown.
Although Mike Neff and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, who rank second and third respectively, lost in the second rounds, Capps could not further extend his lead when he was eliminated in the semifinals by Matt Hagan, another DSR teammate who lost in the final round to Bob Tasca.
"It's good we made a little ground on second and third place, but it's still way too early to even talk about what could happen for the championship," Capps said of his quest for a first NHRA season title. "If we win we don't have to worry about anything. But when you make it to the semifinals you want to win. The big picture is good.
"I wanted to throw up when I got back to our pit, but Tobler kept saying 'think of the big picture' so Sunday was not such a bad thing."
The possible turning point in the semifinals occurred in the second round when Hagan was able to post an elapsed time quicker than Capps that gave Hagan the choice of lanes. Nearly every driver with lane choice on a hot Texas day opted for the left lane which is the one Hagan chose.
Capps' 4.220-second run at 288.09 mph was a blink slower than Hagan's 4.203 (293.03).
"That was the first time we made a run down the right lane all day," Capps said. "I was impressed still impressed with how we ran. We learned something on that run that could help us at the races coming up.
"I was real impressed with (crew chief) Rahn Tobler and (assistant) John Collins and how well we did going down the right lane against Matt. That lane was treacherous and a real challenge so for us to run a 4.22 says a lot for our team.
The next stop for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team is this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis where Capps won his first Funny Car title in 1997 while driving for team owner Don "The Snake" Prudhomme.
The following are Capps' results and notes from the NHRA Fall Nationals near Dallas:
Winner: Bob Tasca III (Tasca Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 4.081 sec., 308.21 mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 6
Round 1: CAPPS (4.119 sec., 303.64 mph) def. Blake Alexander (4.189, 298.34)
Round 2: CAPPS (4.194, 299.06) def. Jack Beckman (4.235, 296.76)
Semifinals: Matt Hagan (4.203, 293.03) def. CAPPS (4.220, 28.09)
Session 1: 5.016 sec., 151.44 mph
Session 2: 4.172, 299.60
Session 3: 4.134, 295.01
Session 4: 4.201, 29126
Shootout final: John Force def. Ron Capps
NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
After second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship
(Unofficial through Sept. 23, 2012; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS, 2,307
2. Mike Neff, 2,211
3. JACK BECKMAN, 2,210
4. Cruz Pedregon, 2,167
5. Robert Hight, 2,144
6. Courtney Force, 2,140
7. Tim Wilkerson, 2,123
8. JOHNNY GRAY, 2,113
9. John Force, 2,104
10. Jeff Arend, 2,095
11. MATT HAGAN, 978
NEXT FULL THROTTLE EVENTS
Sept. 28-30, NHRA Midwest Nationals, Madison, Ill. (St. Louis area)
Oct. 4-7, NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa.
Oct. 25-28, Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas
Nov. 8-11, Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Pomona, Calif. (finale)
About NAPA AUTO PARTS
NAPA was founded in 1925 to meet America's growing need for a world-class auto parts distribution system. By providing excellent customer service for more than 80 years, NAPA has become the industry leader.
NAPA's strength is unrivaled, with over 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, 64 Distribution Centers, than 13,000 NAPA AutoCare, AutoCare Collision and Truck Service repair facilities, over 400,000 parts in inventory every day and the convenience of 24-hour shopping with NAPAonline. NAPA AUTO PARTS stores provide friendly, personalized service. Our highly trained and experienced professionals are here to help you get the job done. With our huge in-stock inventory, NAPA provides the parts you need when you need them.
For your automotive repair needs, NAPA AutoCare and AutoCare Collision and Truck Service Centers can handle everything from preventive maintenance to major repairs. Technicians at NAPA AutoCare Centers have access to the most extensive training in the automotive industry. Qualifying repairs are backed by the NAPA AutoCare "Peace of Mind" Warranty, providing our customers with 12-months/12,000 miles of worry-free protection on qualifying parts and labor. Wherever you may travel, our warranty is honored at all NAPA AutoCare Center locations across the country.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 193 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
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