By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Don Schumacher Racing has won their 10th straight Funny Car race. Ron Capps won the 51st annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.
The Carlsbad, California defeated Tim Wilkerson in the final round, as the NAPA Auto Parts driver went 3.937 at 323.12 mph. The Springfield, Illinois native went 3.945 at 325.92 mph in the losing effort.
Capps won the race with the backup car. Rahn Tobler and the team elected to use the backup car against Wilkerson following an explosion in the semifinal round.
“We all knew it was Tobler’s birthday and we all secretly wanted to win on his birthday,” Capps said. “But to bring out a car that we had as a backup, that’s never made it to the finish line and it goes 3.93 in the final round of the Gatornationals is crazy. He’s had that car up in the trailer since last year when we ran it at ‘Night Under Fire’ at Norwalk (Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio) and made a check-out run with it and then he put it away for these occasions.
“With live TV pushing us, we had every team member of Don Schumacher Racing over here working on the car. It was unbelievable. Team members you’re battling against in the championship are over here helping our guys and it was cool. I’m so happy for Tobler and [assistant crew chief] Dustin [Heim] because to go up there in the final round and beat someone like [Tim] Wilkerson in a final is always tough to do, but to do it with a car that has never been to a finish line, that’s NAPA Know How.”
Capps has now won two of the last three races. He also won the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil in August at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana.
Prior to this final round, he held a 44-20 lead against Wilkerson in prior events. He also had a 5-2 advantage over Wilkerson in previous final rounds.
Capps won the race by 0.0305 seconds, or approx. 15 feet. This is Capps 65th Funny Car Wally and his 66th National event Wally overall as he also has one Top Fuel Wally.
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