Ron Capps closed out day one of qualifying at the final running of the NHRA SpringNationals by taking his NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car on a stout 3.864 second at 326.16 mph ride to earn the provisional pole heading into Saturday at Houston Raceway Park.
“That run, it’s what you want to do, and what you hope to do,” said Capps, who banked three bonus points for his effort. “My NAPA car, it’s a good hot rod to drive right now, and you’ve got to enjoy these moments. You show up first round, and you hope you get on the board like that with your first run of the weekend, even if you’re not No. 1, you just want to make sure you have a good solid run so you’re not behind the eight ball going into Saturday. It’s going to be hotter tomorrow, and there are a lot of conditions changing these next two days so it’s imperative you put down a run like that.”
His Friday night launch to the top of the Funny Car timing sheets comes on the heels of his recent race win from the pole, which occurred during the Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas, the most recent event on the NHRA tour. In his inaugural season as a team owner, Capps has continued to impress, recording a race win, a runner-up finish, and two No. 1 qualifier awards in addition to Friday night’s provisional pole in Baytown, Texas.
While the NAPA team, under the tuning guidance of Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli and John Medlen, appeared to pick up right where they left off from Las Vegas, Capps was quick to point out that the level of competition in the Funny Car category is so fierce, that no run or race weekend should be taken for granted.
“You go on these dominant streaks and you can’t get arrogant about it,” said Capps during his post-qualifying interview on Friday night. “This class is so competitive, so you’ve got to relish these moments and then you put them in your back pocket and focus on the next task at hand. There are too many good people and good cars out here, the competition is just so compacted. All you’ve got to do is look at the winner’s circle from Vegas, I’m kissing the Wally trophy because you just don’t know if you’ll have that opportunity again, that’s how competitive this class is. There are so many cars capable of winning on any given weekend.”
The two-time and defending world champion is a four-time Houston race winner and 69-time winner overall. If he can maintain his position at the top of the ladder, Capps will secure his 32nd No. 1 qualifier award. Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the NHRA SpringNationals before the fields are set for the final showdown at Houston Raceway Park.