Capps leads 52nd annual Gatornationals with new crew

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car pilot Ron Capps is the provisional Funny Car leader on the first day of the season. The California native is leading the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.

Capps — who changed his crew chiefs in the off-season with the retirement of Rahn Tobler — went 3.895 at 329.02 mph in his Don Schumacher Racing entry. He was in the final pairing with Matt Hagan.

NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car pilot Ron Capps prepares to make a pass on Friday at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals
Ron Capps prepares to make a pass on Friday at the 52nd annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals (Photo by NHRA/Twitter)

“I talked about testing last week and how it went that first time with this team, and it just feels great,” Capps said. “We ran two 3.89s at testing last week, so it’s almost like we can dial-in a bracket car here so far. I’m honestly tickled. I just want to make the whole team proud. We already knew this was a great car. This is a team that battled for a championship the past few seasons and won a lot of races. There’s not a lot I can do other than be myself and drive the car the best I can. I just wanted the car to prove itself, and let Guido and John Medlen do their thing.

“There are so many things that are different to adjust to, but I’m getting more comfortable in the car. Unloading with a provisional No. 1 qualifier is great. What a perfect time to go up and show up.”

ROKiT Phones and ABK Beer sponsored pilot Alexis DeJoria is the provisional No. 2 qualifier. She went 3.914 at 324.28 mph.

Levi, Ray, and Shoup Inc. Funny Car pilot Tim Wilkerson is the provisional No. 3 qualifier. The Springfield, Illinois native went 3.917 at 326.32 mph.

4) J.R. Todd at 3.955 at 325.61 mph
5) Cruz Pedregon at 3.971 at 322.50 mph
6) Robert Hight at 3.998 at 318.24 mph
7) Chad Green at 3.998 at 310.70 mph
8) Paul Lee at 4.033 at 306.19 mph
9) Dave Richards at 4.091 at 292.14 mph
10) Matt Hagan at 4.308 at 209.62 mph
11) Bobby Bode III at 4.402 at 206.54 mph
12) Jim Campbell at 4.452 at 212.86 mph
13) John Force at 4.456 at 207.94 mph
14) John Smith at 4.490 at 185.21 mph
15) Bob Tasca III at 4.546 at 185.56 mph
16) Mike McIntire Jr. at 4.587 at 188.94 mph

Two drivers are not qualified yet. They will have two passes on Saturday to attempt to make eliminations on Sunday.

Blake Alexander went 5.186 at 143.31 mph. Terry Haddock is the No. 18th qualifier at 7.221 at 99.56 mph.

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