2013 NHRA: Ron Capps AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Event Recap: Second Round
It wasn't what Ron Capps and his NAPA Shocks & Struts team wanted and certainly not what they needed Sunday in the AAA Insurance Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
The NAPA team lost to John Force in the second round of championship eliminations but remained sixth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship standings with only three events remaining in six-race playoff.
After winning in the first round under beautiful and ideal racing conditions, Capps, who qualified sixth, lost to Force, whose quicker run in the opening round afforded him choice of lanes and the 15-time champion opted for the preferred left lane.
"We accomplished what our NAPA team wanted by qualifying in the top half of the field so we had lane choice in the first round," Capps said. "We had a good run in the first round with a 4.06 but John just went out and was better (4.038) to get lane choice."
Capps and Force produced a great side-by-side race with Force, who completed his run in 4.095 seconds at 312.21 mph to edge Capps' 4.108 (308.99) to win by 0.267 seconds that translated into about half of a car length.
After finishing the 18-race regular season and starting the Countdown ranked second, Capps has lost in the second round twice and first round once in the playoffs. Fortunately for Capps, his chances at the championship weren't destroyed because Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Matt Hagan lost in the second round at Gateway marking the second event when he did not advance to the semifinals.
Capps will head to the Maple Grove Raceway at Reading, Pa., on Friday trailing Hagan by 111 points.
"We have to win the next three races, and I know (crew chief Rahn) Tobler and our NAPA team can do it," Capps said.
"It's not over yet."
The following are Capps' results and notes from Gateway Motorsports Park:
Event winner: John Force (John Force Racing)
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
Round 1: CAPPS (4.065 sec., 310.05 mph) def. Bob Tasca III (11.61, 63.89)
Round 2: John Force (4.095, 312.21) def. CAPPS (4.108, 308.99)
First session: 4.144, 303.83
Second session: 5.691, 121.15
Third session: 4.145, 304.94
Fourth session: 4.058, 310.05
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Sept. 29 near St. Louis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN 2,336 (--)
2. John Force 2,330 (-6)
3. JACK BECKMAN 2,292 (-44)
4. Robert Hight 2,288 (-52)
5. Cruz Pedregon 2,253 (-83)
6. RON CAPPS 2,225 (-111)
7. Courtney Force 2,202 (-134)
8. JOHNNY GRAY 2,187 (-149)
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,142 (-194)
10. Del Worsham 2,142 (-194)
2013 REGULAR SEASON WINNERS: 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 (Charlotte), C. Pedregon (Dallas), J. Force (St. Louis).