DSR Saturday Qualifying Report

NHRA Nationals
Event 12 of 24 (Norwalk)
Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park
Norwalk, Ohio
June 21-23, 2019

DSR Norwalk Saturday Highlights:

  • Ron Capps locked-in his first No. 1 qualifier of the season, first at Norwalk and 23rd of his career
  • Capps powered the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to the quickest E.T. of Q2 and Q4, and second-quickest of Q1 and Q3, banking 10 out of 12 possible bonus points
  • Leah Pritchett will start from the No. 2 spot on the Top Fuel ladder for the second consecutive event
  • Antron Brown joins his Top Fuel teammate in the top-half of the field, and Funny Car pilots Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. also secured top-half qualifying positions

Capps Clinches Top Honors at Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio (June 22, 2019) – Ron Capps will start race day at Summit Motorsports Park from the No. 1 position, marking his first pole at the northern Ohio venue. The 2016 Funny Car world champion’s second qualifying run of 3.879-seconds at 329.18 mph stood strong through Saturday’s two qualifying efforts at the 13th annual NHRA Norwalk event and earned him his first No. 1 qualifier of 2019, and 23rd of his career.

Capps and the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car team were dominant throughout all four qualifying sessions at the famed facility. Before pacing the field with his Q2 run, Capps powered to the second-quickest pass of the opening session on Friday afternoon. Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler’s strong qualifying performance carried into Saturday and they continued to demonstrate their command on the stacked 20-car Funny Car field. In Q3 Capps blasted to the second-quickest pass of the round, and in Q4, threw down with a session-best 3.912 E.T., amassing ten out of the 12 possible bonus points up for grabs over the course of the weekend.

“Everyone went up there to throw down and take the No. 1 spot from us,” said Capps of the target he had on his back heading into the fourth and final qualifying round of the weekend. “There’s nothing better than putting our Hellcat No. 1 and picking the pocket of (John) Force’s and his Chevy. I know that was an extra fist pump for (team owner) Don (Schumacher) last night in Q2. And then today in Q4, we knew Force went 91 right in front of us and then when I turned the corner after making the Q4 pass, and the NHRA on FOX crew told me we had run a 3.912 and had snatched the three (bonus) points from Force, that was pretty cool. 

“It’s just so much fun right now,” added Capps, a two-time 2019 event champion. “I don’t want to get cocky or overconfident, but Tobler definitely has had an extra pep in his step.”

The No. 1 qualifying position is Capps’ first since the 2018 NHRA Finals in November, and his 23 career poles rank 11th on the all-time Funny Car list. Impressive, but not quite the number one would expect from the second-winningest Funny Car driver in NHRA history. 

“I’ve had a long, great career, but I don’t have a whole lot of No. 1’s. We’re not ones that run big speeds or go No. 1 a lot, but we’ve won a lot of races,” Capps explained. “So, when we do get a green No. 1 qualifier hat, it’s a big deal to me. But, I’ll take the race wins and the consistency over those No. 1s.” 

As the No. 1 qualifier, Capps will have lane choice over No. 16 qualifier Bob Bode in round one of eliminations on Sunday as he begins his campaign for his third 2019 victory, 64th overall and second at Norwalk.

Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Bob Bode

The Results:
Q1: 3.965 E.T. at 322.65 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.879 E.T. at 329.18 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.955 E.T. at 323.19 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.912 E.T. at 325.06 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Ten

Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 7 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 10 Scott Palmer

The Results: 
Q1: 3.742 E.T. at 326.00 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 9.873 E.T. at 73.86 MPH
Q3: 3.794 E.T. at 322.50 MPH
Q4: 3.763 E.T. at 325.69 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Four

“I’m feeling good for tomorrow. Our Matco Tools Toyota has been running exceptionally well. Q1 was a really good run, Q3 was another decent run even after losing a belt and then we ran strong again in Q4. We overpowered the track Friday night, but today was key to prepare for eliminations. I believe we have a car that can compete and race with anybody. It will be warmer tomorrow and that will throw a curveball for everybody. We’ve been putting together a car that runs pretty well in the hot weather conditions, now we just need a little luck to go our way.” 

Driver of the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 15 Luigi Novelli

The Results:
Q1: 3.805 E.T. at 324.44 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.714 E.T. at 325.45 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q3: 3.802 E.T. at 321.04 MPH
Q4: 3.795 E.T. at 321.50 MPH

Bonus Points: Three

“We are very impressed with the momentum this team has built through making four solid qualifying passes. Starting from the No. 2 spot is advantageous to having a good, solid day. As a good friend once said, 'better done than said,' so now it’s up to us to make four good hits tomorrow. I can’t think of a better way to end this four-race swing than by getting started with a first round win. Overall, the vibe is amazing. The attitudes are high. The support of John who is here. I can’t wait to get race day underway.” 

Funny Car:

Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 4 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 13 Jonnie Lindberg

The Results:
Q1: 3.955 E.T. at 324.75 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.915 E.T. at 329.26 MPH (One bonus point for third-quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.405 E.T. at 202.85 MPH
Q4: 3.965 E.T. at 318.69 MPH

Bonus Points: Four

“We were three out of four in qualifying, got some points and maybe more important, we ran well enough on Friday that we got to play with some stuff on Saturday. This is the what's going to make a difference in the Countdown to the Championship. But first, we’ve got to get our first trophy out of the way, and I want to do that tomorrow.”

Driver of the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 11

The Competition: No. 6 Bob Tasca III

The Results: 
Q1: 4.056 E.T. at 322.50 MPH
Q2: 3.975 E.T. at 325.22 MPH
Q3: 5.893 E.T. at 116.91 MPH
Q4: 3.943 E.T. at 325.85 MPH

“We needed to bump up in that final qualifying session. If we didn’t we have would have been racing (teammate) Tommy (Johnson Jr.) again in the first round. I’m tired of racing my teammates. I think we’ve had that scenario the last four or five races. It would be nice to change that.  We’ll take that run for sure. It was important that we got down the track in that run and the results were all we could ask for.”   

Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Qualified: No. 8 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 9 Tim Wilkerson

The Results: 
Q1: 5.345 E.T. at 134.69 MPH
Q2: 3.928 E.T. at 326.40 MPH
Q3: 6.994 E.T. at 95.85 MPH
Q4: 3.953 E.T. at 322.65 MPH

“I know (crew chief) John (Collins) and the Make-A-Wish guys were looking for a little more in that final qualifying run. They were trying to step it up. We are doing a little testing. We have been running really well, but you don’t stay running well if you don’t try some things. The guys have been trying some things this weekend and we are learning some stuff. I’m sure we’ll put the car back the way it normally runs tomorrow and we’ll go out there and win some rounds.” 

Factory Stock Showdown Series:

Driver of the Empaco Equipment MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Qualified: DNQ

The Results:
Q1: 9.331 E.T. at 101.67 MPH
Q2: 8.122 E.T. at 167.74 MPH
Q3: 18.840 E.T. at 61.14 MPH

Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Challenger Drag Pak

Qualified: No. 13

The Results:
Q1: 8.133 E.T. at 167.59 MPH
Q2: 8.222 E.T. at 152.71 MPH
Q3: 8.017 E.T. at 170.11 MPH

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