READING, Pa. (Oct. 2, 2016) – Ron Capps arrived at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend leading the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings with his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T and crew chief Rahn Tobler.
Capps might not have been the most optimistic driver at the track near Reading, Pa., when the rain-marred Dodge NHRA Nationals began on Friday considering Maple Grove is one of only two Mello Yello tracks at which he has never won the title.
Although he didn’t win Sunday in the final round he was just happy to get there despite losing to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. Capps was able to leave with the Countdown to the Championship points lead although Johnson narrowed it to 24 points midway through the six-race playoffs.
“It may not seem like it to fans looking in our pit area, but this was a huge victory for Rahn Tobler,” said Capps, who has won five of his 50 event titles this year through 21 of 24 races.
“This track has been an Achilles heel for our NAPA team the past few years and me since I started racing here more than 20 years ago. We hadn’t gotten past a couple rounds and just haven’t ran well here.
“This race has always been pivotal in the points race. So, I’ll tell you, having to pedal it and get in the show in qualifying and then pedaling it in first round, those are nice ways for me to give back to our NAPA team.”
Capps contributed even more to get to the final round.
In the semifinals against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, both cars completed their runs in 3.893 seconds but the win went to the NAPA Dodge when Capps was the first to leave the starting line with a 0.050-second reaction time to Hagan’s 0.072.
“As a driver with a great racecar, sometimes it’s fun to give back to the guys who give you that car and help out to get a win. Those races all day were so close.”
He acknowledges that teammate Johnson and his crew chief, John Collins, will be formidable foes over the last three Countdown events having advanced to the final round in each of the first three.
“John Collins and Tommy are going to be tough the rest of the year. They’re not going anywhere. They’re in second place for a reason.
“But for us to get the final round at Maple Grove is a huge, huge victory. I would have loved to get my first win here, but getting to the final round was big.
“Now, we’re heading to warm conditions in Dallas (in two weeks) and then to Vegas and Pomona. I’m pretty pumped about these last few races.”
2016 NHRA Dodge Nationals Results
Winner: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.873 sec., 333.90 mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 4
First round: CAPPS (4.144 sec., 309.84 mph) def. Alexis DeJoria (7.408, 82.72)
Second round: CAPPS (3.898, 325.37) def. Tim Wilkerson (5.865, 122.12)
Semifinals: CAPPS (3.893, 327.66) def. Matt Hagan (3.893, 333.58)
Final: Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.895, 330.63) def. CAPPS (3.911, 324.12)
Friday: Sessions 1 and 2 rained out
Saturday: 4.19 sec., 325. mph, (Session 3); Session 4, rained out
2016 NHRA Countdown to the Championship Funny Car Standings
After 3 of 6 Countdown events
|Driver (2016 event titles)||points|
|1||Ron Capps (5)||2368|
|2||Tommy Johnson Jr. (2)||2334|
|3||Jack Beckman (2)||2275|
|4||Matt Hagan (3)||2258|
|5||Del Worsham (1)||2246|
|6||John Force (3)||2230|
|7||Tim Wilkerson (2)||2196|
|8||Robert Hight (1)||2193|
|9||Courtney Force (1)||2182|
|10||Alexis DeJoria (1)||2099|
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