News

Capps’ four-race winning streak ends but NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge maintains points lead heading to this week’s Summernationals

All good things come to end, especially nearly unprecedented winning streaks in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing.

 That’s what happened to Don Schumacher Racing’s Funny Car world champion Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil when the Mello Yello points leader lost in the semifinals Sunday in the NHRA New England Nationals at Epping, N.H.

 Capps with crew chief Rahn Tobler had won the previous four national event titles but his run came to a halt in a close race against Courtney Force, who lost in the final to Capps’ DSR teammate Matt Hagan who cut Capps’ points lead by 40 points to 79.

“We still feel great. It’s a bummer the streak is over, but with the competition in Funny Car, winning 17 rounds in a row is pretty amazing,” said Capps, who advanced to his seventh semifinals round of the season.

 “It points back to what Tobler and all the NAPA AutoCare Center guys have done on the car. We didn’t beat ourselves that round, we just got outrun a little bit and we knew Courtney and that team was going to be tough.”

The New England Nationals was the first of four races in four weeks on what is called the Eastern Swing that moves next week to Englishtown, N.J., for the NHRA Summernationals.

DSR FUNNY CARS                                                                           

Event winner: Matt Hagan (Don Schumacher Racing)

No. 1 qualifier: Robert Hight (John Force Racing), 3.822 seconds, 336.74 mph (track records)

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T     

Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; assistant: Eric Lane

Qualified: No. 3

SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS

First round: CAPPS 5.726 sec., 151.14) def. Jeff Diehl (13.414, 63.19)

Second round: CAPPS (3.959, 326.63) def. Bob Tasca (4.416, 204.54)

Semifinals: Courtney Force (3.895, 331.77) def. CAPPS (3.939, 327.11)

QUALIFYING

FRIDAY: 4.323 sec., 198.70 mph, (Session 1); 8.701, 79.24, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 4.252, 212.26, (Session 3); 3.863, 328.30, (Session 4)

Best Time, Speed: 3.839 sec. (2017, Phoenix); 333.58 mph (2017, Phoenix)

Last event (May 19-21, Topeka): Qualified No. 7, won in championship round over DSR teammate Matt Hagan

A year ago at Epping: Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.

Career at Epping: Wins 2 (2014, 2016); Runner-ups 0; Poles 1 (2016)

2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNNY CAR STANDINGS 

(Unofficial after Epping; 9 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)

  1. RON CAPPS (4)                      827     —–

  2. MATT HAGAN (3)                   748      -79

  3. Courtney Force                       564     -263

  4. Robert Hight                            561     -266

  5. John Force (1)                         555     -272

  6. JACK BECKMAN                   537     -290

  7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1)    533     -294

  8. J.R. Todd                                 413    -414

  9. Tim Wilkerson                          393    -434

10. Del Worsham                           341    -486