Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 2 (3.881 E.T. at 327.19 MPH)
E1: 3.924 E.T. at 328.06 MPH defeated Jim Campbell 4.902 E.T. at 166.25 MPH
E2: 5.454 E.T. at 137.79 MPH defeated by Jack Beckman 4.003 E.T. at 316.01 MPH
Still riding the momentum of his win at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals at the previous event, Ron Capps drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a provisional No. 1 qualifier run on Friday night. He was knocked from the top spot while waiting to make a pass during Q3, but by powering to the second-quickest run of the final session, earned the No. 2 starting position. While he was thrilled to pick up his first Indianapolis trophy at the last event, he had his sights set on the ultimate Indy prize – a U.S. Nationals victory, and based on his strong qualifying performance, he looked to be in a good position to accomplish that goal.
In the opening session, Capps came out firing on all cylinders and advanced easily with a 3.924 E.T. at 328.06 mph to defeat Jim Campbell and move on to face teammate Jack Beckman in the quarterfinals. With identical reaction times of 0.067, Capps took the lead early, but lost traction at the 300-foot mark and eventually ceded the run to Beckman, the eventual U.S. Nationals Funny Car champion.
“Another U.S. Nationals in the books, and we came into race day with such confidence. Our NAPA guys did such a great job during qualifying. Came off the trailer No. 1 on Friday and went down the track in all conditions. It was sunny out on Saturday and we went down again. It gives you great confidence. We made a great run first round. Our DSR teammates are so good, you don’t want to run into them until the final round. The way the ladder lined up, we had to run the Infinite Hero car in round two and we both went up there to go low E.T., and that’s the way it works. Unfortunately, the car shook and pulled the tires loose. It’s rare for this car to do that. (My crew chief) Rahn Tobler is looking at the data now and we’ll figure out what happened and get after it at the next race in Gainesville. We have five races to run for a championship. It’s exciting. Vegas is for points-and-a-half, but we want to get a run on it these next races. It sort of feels like a Countdown and we’ll fight back to the top.”