CAPPS, TOBLER USE OPEN UP A CAN FOR PHOENIX WIN

Written by Bobby Bennett; Photos by Roger Richards.

nfc final

capps 3Ron Capps opened a can on the Funny Car competition at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. He and crew chief Rahn Tobler used a hefty can of “Napa Know How,” the theme for his sponsor’s 2013 advertising campaign, and used enough of its contents to run roughshod on Sunday during final eliminations at Firebird Raceway.

While the Napa Know How mantra is a marketing theme designed to sell auto parts, Sunday at Firebird, the driver and his championship crew chief appeared to have a can of something working in their favor as they knocked off No. 2 qualifier Matt Hagan in the final round.

“Just to stomp on the gas and run 4.037 like it did in the second round and we knew Hagan was going to be tough,” Capps explained. “You never know [if you’re going to win]. You wonder, is this going to be our day? Those are the days when you don’t win. That’s what happened against Courtney in Pomona. It was nice to get a victory.”

Capps drove past both Pedregon Brothers, first Tony and then Cruz, before beating Tim Wilkerson to reach the final round. He ran a 4.064 in the final round to beat Hagan.

Capps, who ironically scored his first round win at the racing complex, located outside of Phoenix, secured round win No. 479 in the championship round en route his 38th career national event title.

The victory propelled Capps into the early Funny Car point lead and further demonstrated the tremendous value on a new chassis the team unveiled last month during testing in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“This one likes to plant early,” explained Capps. “Rahn's worked in a new clutch package, and really he deserves more credit than he’s gotten. He’s taken something he was really uncomfortable with in a new car and worked really hard at it. We found out in Q-4 this weekend what it really likes. You give Tobler a good combination, and he’s going to bracket car it to death. That’s what he did.”

Bracket racing while running 4.0-seconds and over 300 miles per hour is no easy task at Firebird Raceway. His four victorious times during Sunday's competition ranged from the second round 4.037 in the second round to the winning 4.064.

“This is a treacherous track to drive. When you get off the concrete, you better hold on. Some of the best drivers were hitting cones and hitting the wall. You have to be on your game [here] more than any track we go to. I just didn’t want to let [my team] down.”

Treacherous or not, Capps has made a habit of mastering the Firebird racing surface and with Sunday’s victory increased his career wins at the facility to three with three runner-ups and two No. 1 qualifiers. Capps opened the event by getting crossed up in the first qualifying session and shortly after the run, Tobler reminded his driver of the track’s trickiness.

“It’s sort of like when we race Eldora Speedway and you have to pick your line all night long,” Capps revealed. “The good drivers can do that in a dirt track. For me, I was down on myself after Q1 on Friday because I let it get over and almost hit the wall, but then I felt better after Force knocked the timing cones out. That guy is truly the best in the world out there in the history of our sport. When a guy that good cannot hold on to his car, it gives you a little bit of retribution I guess.”

Winning does too.

 

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