Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

News

Semifinal Finish for Ron Capps at NHRA Winternationals

Ron Capps was looking to make it four straight NHRA Winternationals final round appearances on Sunday at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, but a puff of smoke in the semifinals halted the three-time Funny Car world champion’s shot at capping off his weekend in the winner’s circle at a facility he considers to be a home track.

The driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra Funny Car has enjoyed an impeccable record at Pomona as of late. His last six outings at both the Spring and Fall events have included three No. 1 qualifiers, three runner-up finishes, and a win at the rescheduled 2021 Winternationals. After powering to the second-quickest pass during the second and final round of what became an abbreviated qualifying show due to persistent rain, the lifelong Californian and current Carlsbad resident placed his NAPA GR Supra in the No. 2 qualifying position and appeared to be on track to tie his former boss, Don Prudhomme, the only Funny Car driver to make four consecutive Winternationals final round appearances (1975 – ’78).

Capps drew Funny Car newbie Austin Prock as his first-round competitor. When it was time to pull up to the line, the NAPA team caught fans by surprise when they chose what seemed to be the unfavorable left lane. After watching car after car struggle to make a clean pass in that lane, Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli flexed his crew chief muscle and tuned the NAPA Supra to a stout 3.891 E.T. to easily defeat Prock’s 4.138. The run not only sent Capps into the next round but held up to be low E.T. of the event. In the quarterfinals, Capps posted a 3.935 E.T. to activate the scoreboard win lights once again, defeating Terry Haddock in the process. The semifinals featured a battle between the two winningest drivers in the category, but the excitement was short-lived as Capps’ machine uncharacteristically went up in smoke early while Force made a clean pass in the opposite lane to advance.

“It was us versus Force, Toyota versus Chevy,” Capps explained of his semifinal match-up. “Obviously, you want to do well for Toyota and thought we had the advantage there with our GR Supra body. We found something right before we went up there. You know, I’m always bragging about my team that we have the NAPA Know How, and they caught something that could’ve been a bigger deal and they caught it right before we went up. So, we were a little rushed, me getting in the car and getting up there. Then it started sprinkling and we thought they were going to hold off, but we got up there last minute. I haven’t talked to Guido yet to see mechanically why it smoked the tires, but just something the car hadn’t done all weekend. We felt pretty comfortable, and again like Gainesville, we had a great car. Felt like a car that could win the race. But the good thing is, we have a couple weeks off and two more West Coast races, so let’s see if we can go out there and get a trophy.” 

Shortly after the semifinal round was contested, the remainder of on-track activities were canceled for the day due to rain and hail. The NHRA Winternationals will be completed during the upcoming NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, April 5 – 7. Updated points will be sent following the conclusion of that event.

This story was originally published on March 25, 2024. Drag Illustrated

You May Also Like

News

The star-studded STREET OUTLAWS: No Prep Kings series is set to return for its 6th season in the summer of 2023. Fans can expect to...

News

Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star and renowned engine builder Pat Musi joined the recent episode of The Wes Buck Show and provided an update...

News

Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings star Lizzy Musi announced today that she has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer via her Youtube channel....

News

Tony Christian, one of the pioneering drivers of the Pro Street movement, passed away Thursday, June 9. Christian was infamous for his battles with...

Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.