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Ron Capps’ Vegas Four-Wide Nationals Title Defense Ends in Round One

As the defending event champion and defending NHRA Funny Car world champion, Ron Capps was looking forward to a long race day on Sunday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A top 5 qualifying effort was a good start for Capps in his NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra, but a loss of traction in the opening round of eliminations dashed Capps’ hopes for a second consecutive Four-Wide Nationals win.
 
Capps, crew chief Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli, and the Ron Capps Motorsports team started qualifying with a strong baseline run on Friday. After two more passes, Capps stepped up to a 3.937 E.T. at 324.05 MPH in Saturday’s final session to qualify in the No. 4 spot. The run was the quickest pass of the session, earning Capps three bonus points.
 
Capps went into Sunday matched up with No. 5 qualifier Bob Tasca III, No. 12 qualifier Blake Alexander, and No. 13 qualifier Chad Green in the final Funny Car quad. The NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra left the starting line and lost traction, and though Capps tried to recover, he was beat to the finish by Green and Alexander.
 
“It was so much fun coming into this year’s Vegas Four-Wide Nationals as the defending champion, especially coming off our first win as an organization last year,” said Capps, now in his second season as a team owner. “Boy, this is four-wide racing. This is what makes it so popular with the fans. You never know what’s going to happen. It doesn’t matter who you’re lined up with. Especially in the conditions we saw this weekend; a lot of sunshine – great weather – but very demanding and tricky for the crew chiefs. Unfortunately, the tires pulled loose a little bit (in E1) and I gave it a pedal and ran it down through there, but we were outrun by lanes three and four. That’s the way it goes.”
 
While Capps’ day ended early, his time in Las Vegas isn’t over. The Ron Capps Motorsports team plans to test at The Strip on Monday to prepare for the next stretch of races in their quest for a third consecutive world championship and a fourth overall.
 
“We had a test session already scheduled for Monday here at this racetrack, and we’re going to do a lot of different testing with some oil and some clutch parts,” Capps said. “Really looking forward to it because it’s test days like that that we usually learn quite a bit.”
 
Prior to the Four-Wide Nationals, Capps reached the final round at the last two races on tour, the Arizona Nationals near Phoenix and the Winternationals in Capps’ native Southern California. The three-time world champion maintained his No. 2 ranking on the Camping World Series Funny Car leaderboard.
 
“It’s definitely sad leaving the West Coast,” Capps said. “It was a lot of fun. Thank you to NHRA for creating another ‘West Coast Swing.’ Very excited to get to zMAX and get another shot at getting a four-wide trophy this year for NAPA.”
 
Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra will stay in four-wide mode for the next race on the NHRA Camping World Series tour, the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 28-30 at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, North Carolina.

This story was originally published on April 17, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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