CAPPS REDEEMS HIMSELF IN TEXAS MOTORPLEX VICTORY
Hell hath no fury like a Funny Car driver who beats himself up over a mistake.
Ever since Ron Capps left the NHRA Midwest Nationals two weeks ago, admittedly, he was not the most fun person to be around.
Sunday, after beating Matt Hagan in a crucial Funny Car final round at the NHRA FallNationals hosted by the Texas Motorplex, Capps was more fun than they, say, a barrel of monkeys.
Last week? Not so much.
“It’s been a long two weeks,” Capps said. “I made a mistake that I don’t think I’ve ever made in 26 years in St. Louis, and it killed me. I mean, I was not happy to be around at home. I could not wait to get here, get in the race car and just get going again and try to redeem myself. I’ve got such a great crew. Right away they were like, ‘Hey, man, just don’t worry about it. We’re going to go on. We got a good car.”
“I felt like we had the car to win there in St. Louis. So that hurt that we lost those points and the lead. Then you have Force and JR [Todd] breathing down our necks. So today was one of those days.”
During his 110th career match-up against John Force, Capps was late on the tree and lost on a holeshot. Capps apparently became distracted when Force deep-staged.
At Dallas, Capps took redemption into his own hands and beat Matt Hagan on a holeshot. The victory put Capps at 33 points behind Hagan, who entered the event with a 31 point lead. Knowing how tough this season has been in Funny car, Capps caught himself wanting whatever it took to get a leg up on his Don Schumacher Racing teammate.
“You don’t wish ill on anybody out here, but I’m certain that when I was leading the points a few times this year they were hoping that I would smoke the tires, or we would lose early because you want to gain ground,” Capps said. “It’s only natural. So I was hoping Bob Tasca would do the dirty work second round when they had them.”
“Just a lot of stuff going on right now,” Capps said. “When you get in a car, and you got to sit all that time, there’s a lot of thoughts rolling around in your brain at this time of the year in the countdown that you’re just trying to shut it. You think of something and you go, ‘Get out of my brain, get out. I don’t want to think about that.”
“You’re talking to yourself in your helmet, trying to focus. And then you’re thinking, ‘Well, if we could do this.”
“You’re like, ‘stop it, stop it.” until it happens.”
“So just a lot of emotion going into that round win, and we’ll take it any way we can get it.”
Admittedly for Capps, who has run the roads for decades in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competition, this season’s battle for the Funny Car championship is in a league of its own.
“Wilkie and Robert Hight and I were just talking and we’ve been through this fight quite often for a lot of years and it’s never been this tough top to bottom,” Capps said. “Yeah, it may have been closer at times, or you had some competition in years past. When I first came into Funny Car, you had Al Hoffman, Chuck Etchells; you had Jim Epler. Of course, John Force was dominating. There was a pretty stout group, and I was a young kid and wet behind the ears. Those were some cool days of just trying to pay respect to these guys but also get up and race them.
“I don’t think since then I’ve had that feeling like we’ve had in this countdown of top to bottom, anybody can win. Not each race, I’m saying the whole thing. So, yeah, it’s good to get a little bit of ground from third place and gain a little bit on Hagan and those guys. It’s nice to go right to Bristol and get it on and get a little breather before Vegas. But it’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s a lot going on right now. We want to finish the year strong as we can.”