Ron Capps enters Sunday’s 11th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals confident in the prospects for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team, boosted by four solid runs during two days of qualifying under changing track and weather conditions here at Bristol Dragway.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver comes out of the 11th starting spot as he takes on Robert Hight in the first round of Sunday’s final eliminations (scheduled for a noon ET start).
“We made four runs down the track without any drama,” said the Southern Californian. “I know this kind of performance is a big confidence builder for the NAPA guys, especially for the driver.
“And it shows Tim (Richards, crew chief in command for his fourth race) is continuing to get a handle on this race car and it is responding.”
The NAPA car turned in consistent runs despite the challenge of tuning for different conditions for each of the four qualifying rounds.
Friday’s opening session produced a 4.182-second, 292.39-mile-per-hour lap followed by one of 4.179 at 300.86 in the nightcap. Today’s hot-and-humid third round was 4.194 at 296.11, while Capps took his ladder position with a post-rain cool session pass of 4.122 at 305.98.
“Would we have liked quicker, better results? Sure,” he said. “But more importantly, Tim got good data from all the runs, so we should be in good shape for tomorrow. Remember, you can win from any qualifying position.
“Our shots at the number one spot will come; what matters is the fantastic change that has occurred in this team since Tim has come on board.”
Capps enters the Thunder Valley Nationals eighth in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, following a two-position jump from a semifinals finish two weeks ago in Englishtown, N.J.
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