CONCORD, N.C. (April 30, 2023) – Ron Capps rolled into zMAX Dragway for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals as the most recent Funny Car winner at the Charlotte-area facility after winning the 2022 Carolina Nationals. The three-time and reigning world champion was seeking a second consecutive win at zMAX and his second Four-Wide Nationals win, but the driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra came up just one win light short in the final round Sunday evening.
Capps struggled to get down the track in qualifying on Friday, but crew chief Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli had things turned around for the third session on Saturday. Capps recorded a 3.899 E.T. at 330.07 MPH to move up to seventh before settling into the No. 9 spot once qualifying was complete.
“We didn’t qualify where people are used to seeing the NAPA car qualified,” Capps said. “The driver didn’t keep it in the groove that first run, and then we struggled a bit experimenting with some things during those other sessions, and we ended up in ninth, which is unusual for us, but that’s part of what makes this so fun as a team owner. My team is so good at adapting, and it shows what kind of character they have because not everything always goes peachy. Last year it sure seemed like it did, and I was blessed to have the car, but this weekend was a great example of adversity getting thrown at all of us and overcoming it.”
The Ron Capps Motorsports entry was back in winning form once eliminations started. In the first round, Capps used a 3.885 E.T. at a season-best 335.57 MPH to finish first in his quad with Bob Tasca III, Tim Wilkerson, and Dave Richards. It was also the second-quickest pass of the round. A consistent 3.881 E.T. at 335.15 MPH followed in the second round, putting Capps ahead of Alexis DeJoria, Chad Green, and Tasca at the finish line.
Facing fellow multi-time world champions John Force and Robert Hight, as well as Toyota teammate DeJoria, Capps was first off of the starting line in the final round with a .037-second reaction time. He ran a respectable 3.923 E.T., but it wasn’t quick enough to get to the finish line first. Capps finished third in the final quad behind Hight and DeJoria just moments before the rain started again.
“These are tough weekends, and these four-wide races add so many different elements on top of everything else,” Capps said. “Not to mention, to have the weather like we had and working around that all weekend, it was challenging, but I’m so proud of my team because we worked hard and were able to turn things around on race day.
“Of course, it hurts not to win the race,” Capps added. “We really felt like we were going to run an .85 or an .84, and that’s what Guido was trying to do, but not a bad weekend overall considering where it started.”
Capps and the Ron Capps Motorsports team, now ranked fourth in the Funny Car points standings, will have a few weeks off before the next race on the NHRA Camping World Series tour, the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, May 19-21, at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.
Qualified: No. 9 (3.899 E.T. at 330.07 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.885 E.T. at 335.57 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 5.276 E.T. at 170.86 MPH, Dave Richards 7.659 E.T. at 83.80 MPH
E2: 3.881 E.T. at 335.15 MPH defeated Chad Green 4.228 E.T. at 235.27 MPH, Bob Tasca 5.302 E.T. at 165.54 MPH
E3: 3.923 E.T. at 331.85 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 3.888 E.T. at 328.30 MPH, Alexis DeJoria 3.872 E.T. at 333.41 MPH