A quick, consistent qualifying effort had Ron Capps looking forward to a long day of racing at the NHRA Nevada Nationals, but for the second consecutive event, the reigning Funny Car world champion bowed out in the first round of eliminations on Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Capps and his NAPA Auto Parts team are now focused on taking their success from qualifying into the final race of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season.
Capps in his NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra made a strong baseline run in the first qualifying session, a 3.928-second pass at 322.73 MPH, that allowed him and crew chief Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli to get progressively more aggressive across the next three sessions. Capps recorded a pair of 3.90-second passes in the next two sessions, then laid down a 3.877-second pass that stood as the second-quickest pass of the final qualifying session and the fourth-quickest performance of all four sessions. He earned a total of three bonus points in qualifying.
Capps went into eliminations paired up with Funny Car rookie Alex Laughlin for the second race in a row. He was looking to avenge his first-round loss to Laughlin at the last race on tour in Dallas, and while Capps led the way for most of the race, he started to lose traction around 600 feet down-track and had to watch Laughlin pass him by. Capps posted a 4.090 E.T. to Laughlin’s 4.089 E.T.
“We’ve been in test mode trying to get better, and I was excited about half-track, it did what Guido’s been trying to do,” said Capps, a six-time winner at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “I think it picked up those numbers early. I think it either put a hole out, I’m not sure, but it shot me out of the groove and started spinning. But I’m so happy, with Guido, to roll in here and have that kind of change made and go down the track all four runs in qualifying. I’ve got all the faith in the world in our team. We’re going to head to Pomona and see if we can’t just win the race and end the season well.”
Capps started the weekend ranked fourth in the standings after taking his Ron Capps Motorsports entry to a runner-up finish at St. Louis and a semifinal finish in Reading, Pa., and remains in fourth leaving Las Vegas.
“I just want to thank all the fans here. They’re the best,” said Capps, a three-time world champion. “They rolled in here yesterday and packed the place again today. All of our friends from NAPA Hawaii are here. Canada’s all in the house. I’m sorry for them. It was a short day. We’ll just go forward. NAPA, Toyota, GearWrench, and all of our partners, they’re with us 100%. We’ll just see what happens at Pomona.”
Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts team will close out the 2023 season at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals, Nov. 10-12, at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Pomona, Calif.
Qualified: No. 4 (3.877 E.T. at 328.30 MPH)
Elimination Round Results:
E1: 4.090 E.T. at 254.04 MPH defeated by Alex Laughlin 4.089 E.T. at 309.06 MPH
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car Point Standings (Unofficial):
|2||Bob Tasca III||2524|
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