Ron Capps pulled to within four points of his Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Jack Beckman after Capps earned the victory at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Capps defeated Beckman in the final round of Funny Car competition, and the teammates now go into the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Speedway in Pomona, California, both in search of their first Funny Car title.
“Qualifying was tough,” said Capps, who has been runner-up for the title three times. “Rahn Tobler, our crew chief, was like, ‘OK, we’re alright. We’re alright. We’re sneaking up on it. We’re just trying to get down the track,’ until today. Oh man, he unleashed that 4.09 in one of the biggest rounds of the year because we didn’t have lane choice – Cruz Pedregon went 4.06 first round. We were taking a pistol to a gunfight. I don’t think we were very comfortable that we could go up there and run that in that right lane. To throw down that 4.09 like he did was unbelievable, and then we come back with a 4.08 and 4.07. It’s a fun car to go to Pomona with and actually have a shot at a championship.”
Capps took round wins over Tony Pedregon, Cruz Pedregon and DSR teammate Johnny Gray on his way to the finals against Beckman.
In Top Fuel, Bob Vandergriff Jr. earned his first win of the season, defeating Tony Schumacher in the finals after earning round wins over David Grubnic, Spencer Massey and Doug Kalitta. Points leader Antron Brown went out in the first round, which tightened up Top Fuel points.
“We’ve had a great race car all weekend,” said Vandergriff Jr. “It’s been a year since my last win, and we certainly didn’t think it would take that long to win again. Everybody said this next one comes easy. Well, I think they’re full of it because they don’t come easy. That’s just a great job by the guys. We had a great car all weekend. It ran good. We made four great runs today. First round was a little tough. It got hot out there, but other than that, our car was pretty flawless.”
Allen Johnson took the Pro Stock win, his sixth of the season, and increased his points lead to 126 over 2011 champ Jason Line. Johnson defeated Deric Kramer, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Ron Krisher in earlier rounds on his way to facing Vincent Nobile in the finals.
“The Mopar Dodge Avenger has just been so consistent,” Johnson said. “Consistency is what we’ve preached all year, and today, how was that for consistency with four 6.63s in the heat of the day? The crew is doing an awesome job, and to cushion that point lead there to where we feel a little bit more comfortable at Pomona is great.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Ed Krawiec earned his second win of the weekend by holding off Matt Smith in the finals at Las Vegas. On Saturday, he won the postponed finals from Maple Grove Raceway over his Harley teammate Andrew Hines. Krawiec has a 111-point lead over Hines going into the NHRA Finals.
“I’m just really excited, really happy, and very proud to be part of the Harley-Davidson team,” said Krawiec. “You know these guys support me 100 percent and give me awesome equipment to make sure I get up and down the track. You know, I have to do my job, and I tried that this weekend. I knew I was going to have a tough round and a tough opponent against Matt Smith in the final. I really had to step up my game and I didn’t want to leave a whole lot of leeway.”
The Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona’s Auto Club Raceway take place Thursday through Sunday, November 8th through 11th – find out more about the event and the NHRA at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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