As the defending NHRA Gatornationals Funny Car champion, Ron Capps will attempt to go back-to-back and pick up his fifth Gainesville Raceway victory on Sunday, starting race day from the pole position.
Capps earned his first Gainesville No. 1 qualifier and 26th overall when he ran the only sub-3.9-second Funny Car pass of the weekend during Friday’s sole qualifying session. On day two of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season-opener, Capps unloaded with another stout run, clocking a 3.948 E.T. behind the wheel of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, which held up to be quickest of the session. After running low E.T. of Q1 and Q2 and collecting six bonus points, Capps’ newly-acquired duo of champion tuners opted to take a chance and step on it in Q3 but fell short of their aggressive target of a mid-3.8-second elapsed time.
“We all know how good this car is and what an excellent team Guido (Dean Antonelli) and (John) Medlen have developed with all these guys and gals,” Capps said of his new co-crew chiefs and their proven team of crew members. “It’s a lot of fun to see this car do well and how happy everybody is in the NAPA camp. I just want to come in and try to blend in and be the best I can and not mess up. I want to help show how good of a team this is.
“First round will be at 10:00 a.m. in prime conditions, so don’t be late because it’s going to be some great racing,” added the 2016 Funny Car world champion of Sunday’s early start. “But overall, just a great job for NAPA and GEARWRENCH so far this weekend. We got the very first yellow No. 1 Camping World hat and it matches this NAPA uniform with the yellow and blue. We’re hoping for a blue race win hat tomorrow.”
With 65 Funny Car triumphs, Capps is the second-winningest driver in the category and will square off against No. 16 qualifier Jim Campbell in round one of eliminations. Not only are Capps and the NAPA team racing for the Gatornationals Wally trophy, but they will be aiming to extend DSR’s undefeated streak of 14 consecutive Funny Car conquests.
Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 16 JIm Campbell
Q1: 3.895 E.T. at 329.02 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.948 E.T. at 320.66 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.802 E.T. at 163.65 MPH
Bonus Points: Six