Ron Capps grabbed the 10th starting spot for tomorrow’s 12th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals here at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the strength of his final-qualifying run in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver posted a 4.223-second/297.35-mile-per-hour lap in the heat of the afternoon. The hot track – temperatures ranging between 120 and 130 degrees – tormented drivers and crew chiefs alike during both days of qualifying.
“With tomorrow’s temperatures expected to be 15 degrees cooler than today,” said the Southern California native. “We expect to continue the steady improvement we made throughout qualifying.
“The NAPA Auto Parts crew overcame various problems over the last two days, and we had our strongest run late today, despite a dropped cylinder.”
The NAPA AUTO PARTS car made steady progress each round of qualifying – 4.427/270.21, 4.416/271.73, 4.275/278.46 and 4.223/297.35 – as Crew Chief John Medlen coped with the challenging weather conditions.
Coming out of the 10th position will mean loss of lane choice for a first-round match with Tim Wilkerson, who he has not faced in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
“Lane choice is not that important here as both lanes are strong, so our 10th position doesn’t really hurt us,” said Capps. “We will be running against Wilkerson, and he is strong, but we have beaten him before (20/14 win/loss record against Wilkerson), and this would be a great time for our first win of the year.”
Capps enters the race sixth in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship competition and needing three-round wins for an even 400 during a career which began in 1995.
“We don’t think about numbers like that,” he explained. “It’s about winning races and striving for a championship; that’s our goal.”
Eliminations commence at 11 a.m. PDT, with television coverage 4:30-7 p.m. EDT on ESPN2/ESPN2HD.
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