BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 9, 2023) – Three-time and reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion Ron Capps rolled into the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals with his sights set on collecting two Wally trophies at the historic facility where he owns a class-best six Bristol Dragway wins. After Mother Nature got the best of last weekend’s NHRA New England Nationals, canceling all four elimination rounds at the Epping, N.H. event, the competition picked back up during the second round of qualifying for the Thunder Valley Nationals. Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team posted a 4.189 in Q1 after losing traction past halftrack to place them seventh heading into the Friday night session. The team pulled back up to the staging beams for Q2, ready to lay down a powerful pass under the Bristol Dragway lights. Capps posted a stout 3.962 E.T. to advance to the provisional No. 2 qualifying position, but despite clocking the second-quickest run of the day, Capps’ hopes of doubling up at Bristol were short-lived as he was defeated on a holeshot by his New England Nationals first-round opponent, Bob Tasca, who recorded a 3.972 for the win.
“Obviously, that Tasca team is a great team,” said Capps, the defending Thunder Valley Nationals event champion. “There’s a lot of talented people in that camp and that’s not a normal first-round match-up. That’s final-round stuff. The fans definitely won tonight. They got some great side-by-side drag racing here at Thunder Valley and it was great to see the track owners from New England Dragway come and hang out. I love Bristol and I hope to still have that Bristol love going into Sunday.
“We lost Epping first round tonight, but now we can focus on our race day setup. We know the conditions will change running during the daytime now, but it’s so much fun to be here at Bristol. The fans and the track are so good to us and all-and-all, not a bad day.”
Qualifying for the Thunder Valley Nationals resumes on Saturday, June 10 at 2:00 p.m. Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts team will start from the provisional No. 2 position.
Qualified (Epping): No. 4 (4.483 E.T. at 199.88 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.962 E.T. at 318.92 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca 3.972 E.T. at 329.26 MPH