2013 NHRA: Ron Capps AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 6
Ron Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler picked the perfect time Saturday to produce their best run of qualifying in the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
Capps and the NAPA Shocks & Struts Dodge Charger R/T completed their fourth and final qualifying attempt in 4.058 seconds at 310.05 mph to move from 14th to sixth for Sunday's championship eliminations, which begin at 11 a.m. (CT).
"We struggled a little bit and didn't get down the track on the Friday night run," he said of the session when No. 1 qualifying runs were made in Funny Car and Top Fuel.
"Usually my response about Friday night qualifying whether we ran good or bad would be we don't race in conditions on Sunday like we see on Friday nights.
"But we very well could see conditions Sunday like we saw on Friday night because there's a storm supposed to come in Saturday night that will clean a lot of the rubber off the track and the highs for Sunday are supposed to be in the 70s."
Overcast skies led to temperatures falling from the high to low 80s on Saturday when Capps ran the third best time of the last session and conditions for eliminations could be similar or better.
"This Gateway track will hold whatever you throw at it under the right conditions. It's a great track. This event had always been held in hotter conditions so it hasn't been able to show what it could take until Friday night."
And Sunday could be better with a temperature of 67 forecasted for Sunday's first round.
"We could very well see a day on Sunday like you saw at Reading, Pa., last year," he said of the October event at Maple Grove Raceway when NHRA elapsed time records were set in Funny Car and Top Fuel.
"Boy, you just better hang on as a driver. Any car can be a challenge to win anywhere in the field. Cloudy and overcast ... it will be a heckuva day for race fans to watch incredibly close, side-by-side runs."
The following are qualifying summaries for Capps and notes from Gateway Motorsports Park:
No. 1 Qualifier: Matt Hagan, 4.001 sec., 320.20 mph (track record time, speed)
RON CAPPS, NAPA Shocks & Struts Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 6
First-round opponent: Bob Tasca III
Third session: 4.145 sec., 304.94 mph
Fourth session: 4.058, 310.05
First session: 4.144, 303.83
Second session: 5.691, 121.15
Sunday: 11 a.m. (CT), championship eliminations
(Times are ET)
Sunday: 1 a.m., qualifying, ESPN News, delayed; 3:30 a.m., qualifying, ESPN2, delayed
Sunday: 8:30 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations, delayed
(As of Saturday afternoon)
Sunday: High 77; 10 percent chance of early morning rain
MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
(Unofficial through Sept. 28 through St. Louis qualifying; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Matt Hagan 2,316
2. Cruz Pedregon 2,253
3. John Force 2,250
4. Robert Hight 2,248
5. Jack Beckman 2,232
6. Ron Capps 2,205
7. Johnny Gray 2,187
8. Courtney Force 2,182
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,122
10. Del Worsham 2,102
2013 REGULAR SEASONS: C. Force, CAPPS, GRAY, C. Pedregon, HAGAN, C. Pedregon, GRAY, GRAY, HAGAN, J. Force, C. Force, HAGAN, GRAY, C. Pedregon, CAPPS, HAGAN, CAPPS, Hight.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Hight, C. Pedregon