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2014 NHRA: Ron Capps NHRA Nationals At Brainerd Event Recap: Final Round
Posted by: newsla on Aug 18, 2014 - 06:46 AM
2014 NHRA: Ron Capps NHRA Nationals At Brainerd Event Recap: Final Round

Despite a longer than planned Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway, Ron Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS team have reason to smile. Capps now gets to race for his fifth career Brainerd title during the season's most prestigious event on the schedule, the 60th annual U.S. Nationals.


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After starting from the No. 2 position on Sunday, Capps bested veteran racer Jeff Arend, DSR teammate Jack Beckman on a slight holeshot, and two-time 2014 Funny Car winner Alexis DeJoria. Then the day ended for the NAPA AUTO PARTS team as NHRA officials were forced to postpone the Funny Car final round until Saturday, Aug. 30, during qualifying for the 60th annual U.S. Nationals.

"It's a little bittersweet because this place has become like family to me," Capps said after his semifinal win at Brainerd. "We've run so well here winning the last two years and going to the final the year before that. I'm bummed that we can't run the final in front of these passionate fans that stuck around all day. If you put together a week in the Zoo and being in the grandstands all weekend and with the rain today, these are some of the best fans we have on the circuit."

In a strange race day in central Minnesota that started late due to morning rain showers, the NAPA team was forced to sit and wait during another long delay following the completion of Top Fuel and one pair of Funny Cars. When the skies temporarily cleared, the NAPA Dodge Charger R/T was the first to hit the Brainerd strip for the continuation of round one. The delay didn't affect Capps as the 42-time NHRA winner used a quick slap of his throttle pedal to power to lap of 4.112, 314.97.

The veteran driver, who has left the starting line first nearly 65 percent of elimination laps this season, used some of his NAPA Know How driving prowess to edge teammate Beckman at the start to post a slower, but winning effort of 4.049, 317.99 to Beckman's slightly quicker 4.046, 317.57. The Rahn Tobler-tuned NAPA Dodge then ran 4.073 in the semifinals against a tire-smoking DeJoria to advance Capps to his 85th career final round.

"It will be a little bit different and there's no bigger stage than Indianapolis," Capps said of Lucas Oil Raceway. "All the crew guys live there, our DSR shop is two miles from the track, and it would be great to take the Brainerd trophy and march it right over to the shop and put it with the rest of the 230 plus trophies Don (Schumacher) has at the shop.

"We won't have lane choice, but I don't think it's going to matter there. We know it's probably going to be warm and I have a pretty savvy NAPA Know How crew chief in (Rahn) Tobler that can adapt to any conditions. Tobler is pretty happy with what we learned in Norwalk during the Night Under Fire and how we ran this weekend at Brainerd. I'm excited."

Capps, who has never won the prestigious U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis, will be really excited if he can claim a fifth career Wally trophy from Brainerd a day before competing in the $100,000 Traxxas Funny Car Shootout on Aug. 31 and final eliminations of the Nationals on Labor Day.

Event Winner: Ron Capps vs. John Force (To be completed on Aug. 30 during qualifying of the U.S. Nationals)
No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.060 sec., 315.27 mph

Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 2
FIRST ROUND: CAPPS .112 4.112 sec., 314.97 mph def. Arend 4.245
SECOND ROUND: CAPPS .090 4.049, 317.99 def. Beckman .096 4.046, 317.57
SEMIFINALS: CAPPS .109 4.073, 317.87 def. DeJoria .107 5.096, 169.61
FINAL ROUND: CAPPS vs. Force on Aug. 30 at Lucas Oil Raceway

FRIDAY: 4.599 sec., 189.73 mph, (Session 1); 4.162, 306.46 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.168, 307.23, (Session 3); 4.064, 314.17 (Session 4)

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Standings
(following the 17th of 24 races)
Funny Car
driver (wins) points
1. John Force (3) 1,326/1,346 (final points TBD in Indianapolis)
2. Robert Hight (5) 1,308
3. RON CAPPS (1) 1,090/1,110 (final points TBD in Indianapolis)
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR (1) 1,052
5. Alexis DeJoria (2) 1,035
6. Courtney Force (2) 1,015
7. MATT HAGAN (1) 1,009
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 929
9. Del Worsham 900
10. Tim Wilkerson 848
11. JACK BECKMAN 832 -16

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