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Capps withdraws some luck to help NAPA AUTO PARTS advance to final round, extend Mello Yello lead heading to Thunder Valley

Luck is as much a part of drag racing as headers and nitro.

And reigning world champion Ron Capps, who saw a four-event winning streak with the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil end a week ago, advanced to another championship round Sunday by taking advantage of opportunities that are why the team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler have a commanding lead in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings.

Although Capps lost to Don Schumacher Racing team Jack Beckman in the final round of the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at Englishtown, N.J., it was amazing that Capps kept advancing through the day and made his sixth final round in 10 events where he has won four times.

For the third straight event, Capps lost traction early but was able to recover each time to advance the second round where he faced Alexis DeJoria. Once again, Capps lost traction while DeJoria moved out a lead of several hundred feet. Capps knew he couldn’t catch her and was stunned as he watched her cross the centerline near the finish line and get disqualified. In the semifinals, he had another subpar run but it was enough to beat Robert Hight who smoked his tires.

 “We needed some luck,” said Capps, who extended his points lead to 129 over teammate Matt Hagan.

 “Most of my career I haven’t had a whole lot of times where we’ve had great luck and I always wondered it must be nice to have those lucky breaks once in a while. You put enough credit into the luck bank and it’s nice to take some out.”

 He hopes he won’t need any next week when the tour moves to Bristol, Tenn., for the third stop of the Eastern Swing that includes four races in four weeks.

DSR FUNNY CARS                                                                                                 

Event winner: Jack Beckman (Don Schumacher Racing)

No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.862 sec.-track record, 331.12 mph 

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 (4.664 sec., 260.36 mph) def. Del Worsham (4.689, 254.95)

Second round: CAPPS (no time) def. Alexis DeJoria (disqualified for crossing the centerline)

Semifinals: CAPPS (4.195. 260.31) def. Robert Hight (6.302, 107.84)

Final: Jack Beckman (4.100, 312.42) def. CAPPS (4.143, 299.66)

QUALIFYING RESULTS

FRIDAY: 3.895 sec., 323.04 mph, (Session 1); 3.883, 329.67, (Session 2)

SATURDAY: 3.963, 313.51, (Session 3); 3.951, 320.05, (Session 4)

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

Last event (June 2-4, Epping, NH): Qualified No. 3, lost in semifinals to Courtney Force

A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over Jack Beckman

Career at Englishtown: Wins 2 (2006, 2016), Runner-ups 4 (2003, 2005, 2012, 2017), Poles 2 (2012, 2016)

2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS                

(Official after Englishtown, N.J.; 10th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)

  1. RON CAPPS (4)                  931       —–

  2. MATT HAGAN (3)                802      -129

  3. JACK BECKMAN (1)            652     -279     

  4. Courtney Force                    648      -283

  5. Robert Hight                         645      -286

  6t. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 587      -344

  6t. John Force (1)                     587      -344

  8. J.R. Todd                             444      -444

  9. Tim Wilkerson                      427      -504   

10. Del Worsham                       372      -559