Ron Capps and the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car team took top honors during day one of qualifying for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, banking five bonus points as they picked up their first provisional No. 1 qualifier of the season on Friday night.
Fresh off the heels of two back-to-back victories, the Rahn Tobler-guided NAPA Brakes team wasted no time flexing their muscles at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. In round one, Capps powered his Hellcat to an impressive session-best 3.893 E.T. Eighteen Funny Cars lined up under the lights for Q2 in an attempt to outrun Capps’ Q1 time, but no one could knock the 2016 Funny Car world champion from his spot at the top of a stacked field. For their part, the NAPA team laid down another striking pass, clocking a 3.933 E.T. which held up to be second-best of the session.
“To (run low E.T. of the day) in the first session and have it hold up was pretty cool,” said Capps of the NAPA squad’s dominant performance in front of team owner Don Schumacher’s hometown crowd. “I actually let the car get close to the centerline and shut it off a car-length early so it was on an even better run, actually.
“I saw Tobler come back a lot during the Q2 session after we watched a lot of really, really good cars not make it down. He kept coming back and de-tuning it and de-tuning it. I think he originally went up there wanting to run an 85 or 86 and we figured some of the heavy-hitters were going to throw down. When those guys weren’t making it down, by the time our pair came up, he made it so our NAPA Brakes Dodge Hellcat would just go down the track.”
Capps is looking to add to his 22 career No. 1 qualifiers and is hoping to pick up his first of the 2019 season on Saturday. With two more qualifying sessions and cooler temperatures forecasted for day two, Capps knows his team will be playing defense in order to retain their No. 1 position heading into race day.
“There’s chances of rain here and there tomorrow which means it’s going to be overcast. All we need with a track like this is the sun off of it. If the rain breaks and they can get it dry and we run, conditions are going to be better than they were today, without a doubt. That 3.89 is not safe and I think tomorrow will probably have better conditions.”
Q1: 3.893 E.T. at 326.00 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.933 E.T. at 324.05 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Five
Don Schumacher Racing PR