2013 NHRA: Ron Capps NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway Qualifying Report: No. 12
Ron Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS team know what they have to do Sunday during championship eliminations of the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.
He has to win four rounds and leave with his fourth NHRA event title of the year in order to continue to chase his first NHRA Funny Car world championship. And with three events remaining in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season he believes he has to win all of them.
Adding to the challenge facing Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler is that the team had a frustrating qualifying performance that leaves them seeded 12th for eliminations and a first-round date with Don Schumacher Racing teammate Johnny Gray.
"We haven't been on our game at all this weekend in qualifying but again it's little things that sometimes are thrown at you, challenges here and there, and really this is what makes it nice to have a crew chief that is as decorated as Rahn Tobler," said Capps, who is sixth in points and 120 out of the lead.
"To overcome the stuff that has been thrown at us, to go out there, and even though it didn't show that we ran that good on the last qualifying run we learned a bunch. We made a big change and I really think it puts us in a good position for tomorrow. Again, we are going to see the same conditions more than likely. Hopefully lane choice won't matter and the unfortunate part is we do race a teammate. The further you go into this Countdown there's more of a chance that you're going to run into a good car and we know every one of our DSR cars are good cars so it's going to be fun racing Johnny Gray.
Capps also wants a good showing for NAPA guests who are attending Maple Grove in DSR's NAPA Club Nitro.
"We made a trip to East Penn where they make NAPA Batteries and have 8,000 employees. Our hospitality and VIP area for our NAPA guests has just been busting at the seams. It's so neat to see the excitement of all the NAPA store owners, the NAPA AutoCare Center people that come to the races. We have such great support from our sponsors. Any time you get a crowd like that that supports you like our sponsor does it makes you feel like you want to go out and succeed."
On Sunday, he hopes to have the biggest crowd ever with him in the Winner's Circle.
The following are qualifying summaries for Capps and notes from Maple Grove Raceway:
No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (3.987 sec., 323.50 mph)
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 12
First-round opponent: Johnny Gray
First session: 5.290 sec., 137.74 mph
Second session: 4.110, 311.56
Third session: 6.892, 88.48
Fourth session: 4.131, 291.70
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Oct. 5 qualifying at Maple Grove Raceway; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. John Force 2,377 (---)
2. MATT HAGAN 2,372 (-5)
3. JACK BECKMAN 2,331 (-46)
4. Robert Hight 2,323 (-54)
5. Cruz Pedregon 2,287 (-90)
6. RON CAPPS 2,257 (-120)
7. Courtney Force 2,246 (-131)
8. JOHNNY GRAY 2,223 (-154)
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,175 (-202)
10. Del Worsham 2,174 (-203)
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).
NHRA NATIONALS NEAR READING
Sunday: 11 a.m. (ET), championship eliminations
Saturday: 11:30 p.m. (ET), qualifying, ESPN News, delayed
Sunday: 12:30 a.m. (ET), qualifying, ESPN2, delayed; 8 p.m. (ET), championship eliminations, ESPN2, delayed
WEATHER.COM FORECAST FOR NEAR READING
(As of Saturday afternoon)
Sunday: High 84; 10 percent chance of rain