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2014 NHRA: Ron Capps Route 66 NHRA Nationals Event Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 25, 2014 - 06:50 AM
2014 NHRA: Ron Capps Route 66 NHRA Nationals Event Preview

Ron Capps couldn't have asked for a better travel partner for his cross-country flight Monday from Epping, N.H., to San Diego near his home in Carlsbad, Calif.


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If the occupant of the seat next to him couldn't have been his wife, Shelley, or one of their children, Taylor and Caden, then nothing could be better than Wally, a bronze beauty that speaks volumes without saying one word.

Wally, the national event trophy named for late NHRA founder Wally Parks, got a first-class seat with Ron after he won Sunday's Funny Car title in the New England Nationals with Don Schumacher Racing's NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler.

Although this is the 42nd Wally to join Ron's family, this one carries special meaning. Not only did the win move the NAPA team to fourth in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings with this year's first win in 11 of 24 events, it ended a streak of 19 events without winning a title. Ron's last trip to the winner's circle was last summer at Brainerd, Minn., in the year's 17th race.

The win earned Ron and the NAPA team a berth in the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout held during the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend when his run of 4.095 seconds at 315.19 mph beat Alexis DeJoria's 4.121 (309.98).

Heading to Route 66 Raceway, where he has one title (2005) in three championship rounds, Ron understands how quickly a jump in the standings - from seventh to fourth - can be reversed.

"It's so scary that when we lost in the first round at Bristol (the week before Epping), we fell three spots, and only a few rounds from falling out of the top-10. I thought to myself, anything can happen, you have a few bad races and you're out of the top-10."

To punctuate the victory, Ron performed a unique exit from his Dodge Charger R/T when a live ESPN national audience saw him pop out of the car's rooftop hatch then completed a spin down windshield and hood of the car to a perfect two-foot landing.

It was a premeditated move that he borrowed from Eric Medlen, his close friend and Funny Car driver who died in a testing accident in 2007.

"I was thinking about Eric Medlen winning, him grabbing the trophy as his guys pulled up. His guys sprayed Full Throttle on him and he ran and slid down the side of the car, which I always wanted to do. Eric did it and I thought it was the coolest move ever.

"I was a dummy and tried to slide down the windshield and hop over the injector. There were a few obstacles on the way down. I should have just done what Eric did. It was live television and I had a helmet on so how bad could it have been? I knew I would either land it or end up on (ESPN) 'SportsCenter' for the wrong reason."

The following are Ron's Chicago, season and career stats:

RON CAPPS: NAPA AUTO PARTS/Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Epping, N.H. (June 22): Qualified No. 10; defeated Alexis DeJoria in championship round
A year ago at Chicago: Qualified No. 1; lost in semifinals to John Force
Career at Chicago: Wins 1 (2005); Runner-ups 2 (2007, 2002); Poles 1 (2013)

Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 4th 11 1 0 5 1 4 1 0 15-10
CAREER 422 42 41 73 84 164 16 18 521-362
Best Time, Speed: 3.964* sec., (5-31-12, Englishtown, N.J.); 320.89 mph (5-31-12, Englishtown)

(Official after 11 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) points behind
1. Robert Hight (4) 970 ----
2. Alexis DeJoria (2) 716 -254
3. John Force (1) 713 -257
4. RON CAPPS (1) 683 -287
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 682 -288
6. Courtney Force (1) 658 -312
7. Del Worsham 645 -325
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 599 -371
9. Tim Wilkerson 569 -401
10. MATT HAGAN 564 -406
11. JACK BECKMAN 547 -423

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