Friday night’s qualifying run at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals was so important to Ron Capps that he nearly worried himself into frenzied panic over a rubber suction cup inadvertently left on the windshield of his Funny Car.
The atmospheric conditions weren’t the greatest he’d ever seen; 1300 feet above sea level with a 67 degree air temp and the racing surface was holding at 81. Yet, as he sat in the car, strapped in, he watched as those in line ahead of him ran quicker and quicker.
Then he noticed the suction cup.
“I started screaming on the radio … that little suction cup … that could be the difference,” screamed Capps on the radio.
As it turned out, the suction cup, along with Capps, went for the quickest run in Funny Car history at 3.964-seconds and at the second fastest speed of 320.89 miles per hour.
It’s not as if Capps hadn’t been forewarned.
“I saw the 4.01 and 4.02 ahead of me, like a video game, and I knew it was going to run because Rahn came over and told me to strap in tighter than ever because we were going for it,” Capps explained.
Watching the flame pattern through his side window, Capps knew this was a pass worth keeping. He admitted to running the car a little further than the standard shut off point and added he really wanted to drive to the old quarter-mile shutoff.
“John Collins [co-crew chief] came on the radio screaming, and the only number I could decipher was 6,” admitted Capps. “I didn’t think he was screaming over a 4.06, and he confirmed a 3.96.”
The emotion of the moment led Capps to understand the spirit of overwhelming elation. He likened the experience to witnessing a race win celebration from the late Blaine Johnson. Capps danced a celebration of his own.
“I remember the video of Blaine up on the hill, celebrating and jumping around,” Capps recalled. “You could tell he was overwhelmingly happy. I thought of him when I jumped around on the top end. I thought to myself, ‘This is how he felt.”
Capps paused and offered, “I just wanted to jump out of the car and run out on Pension road and celebrate with the people.”
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