GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2017) - The centerline dividing the lanes on a dragstrip has not been kind to Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team this year.
For the second time in the first three events of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, an out-of-bounds dividing line was a factor in a loss by Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate and series points leader Matt Hagan.
In the opener at Pomona, Calif., Capps smoked the tires early and Hagan lost traction then came within a whisker of having his left rear tire touch the line that would have disqualified him. But NHRA officials ruled it didn't touch and Hagan went on to win the race against Capps and eventually the event trophy.
The centerline was back in play Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Gatornationals when Hagan quickly smoked the tires and while Capps was seemingly cruising to the win his Dodge darted sharply toward the dividing line and crossed it.
"It was a handful," said Capps, the reigning Funny Car world champion. "It just turned sideways on me, and thank God I was able to catch it and not go into Matt's lane any farther and run into him.
"I'm sick to my stomach because I should have caught it quicker. It's those moments that really make you enjoy the moments we've had in a winner's circle."
RESULTS FROM THE GATORNATIONALS
Event winner: John Force (John Force Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing), 3.832 sec.-track record, 333.25 mph
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; assistant: Eric Lane
Qualified: No. 6
First round: CAPPS (3.895 sec., 330.96 mph) def. Alexis DeJoria (3.925, 328.46)
Second round: : Matt Hagan (no time) def. CAPPS (disqualified: crossed center
FRIDAY: 3.865 sec., 329.58 mph, (Session 1); 4.302, 204.66, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.291, 205.66, (Session 3); 3.927, 325.69, (Session 4)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Gainesville, Fla.; 3 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN (2) 308 -----
2. John Force (1) 238 -70
3. RON CAPPS 235 -73
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 209 -99
5. Courtney Force 177 -131
6. Robert Hight 150 -158
7. Jim Campbell 148 -160
8. JACK BECKMAN 144 -164
9. J.R. Todd 138 -170
10. Tim Wilkerson 117 -191
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