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Ron Capps Wins Funny Car Marquee Matchup of Race Day, Advances to Quarterfinals

For the second event in a row, NAPA AutoCare Toyota GR Supra driver Ron Capps found himself facing Matt Hagan in what was billed as NHRA’s Funny Car Marquee Matchup of race day. During the Route 66 Nationals near Joliet, Illinois, Capps fell to Hagan, but on Sunday at the NHRA New England Nationals, Capps was able to avenge the loss as he powered past his former DSR teammate to advance to the quarterfinals at New England Dragway.
 
After struggling to make it down the track during Friday’s two qualifying sessions, the NAPA AutoCare team led by Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli, sent Capps’ machine straight down the groove in 4.036 seconds at 319.37 MPH in the heat of the day on Saturday. They then closed out qualifying by matching their Q3 E.T., settling into the No. 12 spot to set up a first-round rematch with Hagan. Against the No. 5 qualifier, Capps powered to a 4.045-second pass to defeat Hagan’s 4.185-second effort. Capps drew Daniel Wilkerson in the quarterfinals, and while he was the first to stand on the throttle, his machine lost traction early into the run while his opponent made a full pull in the opposite lane to advance.
 
 “We’ve talked about the rejuvenation of this NAPA AutoCare tune-up and what Guido has been working on with our team,” explained the third-year team owner-driver and three-time Funny Car world champ. “The end game is another championship at the end of our season. We didn’t get down the track Friday night, so we weren’t able to capitalize on those primetime conditions to get us in the top half but so proud of what Guido and the team did on Saturday in those hot, difficult conditions when it went down the track both times. We’re going to see those same conditions coming up at these next few races and throughout the summer.
 
“We have the performance. Guido is working hard to get us where we’re used to being, consistency-wise, and that’s what gave us two championships two years in a row. We’re going to get that back, but unfortunately, just a little overpowering the track in the quarterfinals here today. Luckily, we’re back to back and we don’t have to wait long to get back on the race track.”
 
The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series heads south to Bristol, Tenn. in a few days for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, June 7 – 9, where Capps returns as the winningest driver in the facility’s history with seven Bristol wins.

This story was originally published on June 3, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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