BAYTOWN, Texas (April 27, 2012) - Ron Capps is racing out of the depths of disappointment more quickly than most expected.
Rahn Tobler took over as crew chief for Capps' NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car a month ago.
Since then the team advanced to the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals championship round at Tobler's first event with Capps. And on Friday, the team came within four-thousandths of a second from earning the provisional pole after two rounds of qualifying in the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.
In Top Fuel Dragster, the quickest Don Schumacher Racing team was points leader and three-time event winner Spencer Massey and the Prestone/FRAM team at 3.778 seconds (326.95 mph) with Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster right behind with a matching 3.778 (326.56). Antron Brown's Matco Tools dragster is ranked 18th out of 19 entries. Morgan Lucas holds the No. 1 qualifying position with a best time of 3.772 (327.74).
Capps was the No. 1 qualifier with a time of 4.103 seconds (307.02) for a few minutes on the muggy, overcast day. Even though Cruz Pedregon knocked Capps to the No. 2 position heading to Saturday's last two qualifying sessions, Capps was pleased while Tobler preferred not to celebrate.
"It's not about taking No. 1 today, it's about making good runs and getting data," said Tobler, who won three NHRA world championships as crew chief and was part of a fourth as a crew member.
"That's two more runs down the track for that car," he said of the team's completing 27 out of its 28 previous runs. "It's all about getting ready for tomorrow and getting ready for Sunday."
Capps, however, took a few minutes to savor another solid day in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series after not qualifying for the April 1 national event at Las Vegas.
"It's a continuation of what we started in Charlotte. I'm a lucky guy being strapped into the NAPA car. It's just such a pleasure to drive. We started out the weekend with a NAPA bowling outing with our crew and NAPA customers, and it just got better from there.
"It's a good feeling to look out the window and see Rahn Tobler and know the car is going to do down the track ... it's a bummer getting that close to No. 1 but what is encouraging is that our guys were upset we lost out on the top spot. It just shows you they only expect the best.
"It will be fun weekend."
The following are qualifying results from Friday's sessions and other DSR notes:
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Cruz Pedregon, 4.103 sec., 305.29, mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 2
Session 1: 4.177 sec., 300.66 mph
Session 2: 4.107, 307.12
Johnny Gray, NTB/Service Central Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 9
Session 1: 4.197 sec., 300.30 mph
Session 2: 7.802, 67.75
Matt Hagan, Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 12
Session 1: 5.924 sec., 119.11 mph
Session 2: 4.247, 291.45
Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 16
Session 1: 4.760 sec., 171.47 mph
Session 2: 4.332, 227.34
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Morgan Lucas, 3.772 sec., 327.74 mph
Spencer Massey, Prestone/FRAM dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 3
Session 1: 3.878 sec., 315.34 mph
Session 2: 3.778, 326.95
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 4
Session 1: 3.883 sec., 319.98 mph
Session 2: 3.778, 326.56
Antron Brown, Matco Tools dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 18
Session 1: 3.997 sec., 306.67 mph
Session 2: 4.051, 297.75
Saturday: Pro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday: Pro eliminations, 11 a.m.
Saturday: High 82 degrees, partly cloudy, 20 percent chance of precipitation
Sunday: High 82 degrees, partly cloudy, 20 percent chance of precipitation
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