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Keeping Pace


Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA Dodge NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car. (Photo courtesy of NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)
Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA Dodge NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car. (Photo courtesy of NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)

Ron Capps took the top NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car qualifying position with a powerful run of 4.121 seconds at 297.22 mph in his NAPA Dodge Charger, which just edged out Tony Pedregon’s best of 4.135 in his Q-Horsepower Chevy Impala.

MORRISON, Colo. – Ron Capps raced to his third No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.


Capps took the top position with a powerful run of 4.121 seconds at 297.22 mph in his NAPA Dodge Charger, which just edged out Tony Pedregon’s best of 4.135 in his Q-Horsepower Chevy Impala. Capps will face veteran driver Gary Densham in the first round.


“There’s been a change in ‘Ace’ this year,” Capps said. “He has the eye of the tiger and wants to rip everyone’s throats out during qualifying. We looked back at all the points we lost in qualifying last year, and we lost several rounds worth of them. What’s cool is that ‘Ace’ can go for it during qualifying, but he can still go back to the approach of getting the car down the track that helps during hot conditions.”


Antron Brown, Mike Edwards and Hector Arana also will lead their respective pro categories into Sunday’s noon eliminations as the No. 1 qualifiers at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.


Top Fuel points leader Brown claimed his fifth No. 1 position of the season, crossing the finish line in 3.862 at 318.39 in his Matco Tools dragster. Brown will meet Rob Passey in the opening round of eliminations.


“We broke a belt before the finish line,” Brown said. “Our half-track numbers were great, so it might have gone 319 or 320 mph if it stayed together. Our team is just having so much fun out here. Hats off to everyone on the Bandimere crew, because this is easily one of the best tracks I’ve ever driven on. We threw everything at it, and it still wouldn’t spin the tires. It’s like Disneyland right now. It’s too bad that it will be warmer tomorrow.”


Edwards earned his seventh No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Pro Stock, powering his ART/Young Life Pontiac GXP to a track record performance of 6.957 at 197.71. He will face Mark Buehring in the opening round as Edwards will try for his sixth consecutive final round appearance.


“It’s very rewarding to come out here and qualify No. 1,” Edwards said. “Our program has really turned around this year. We lost a handle on it a little bit yesterday, but our team worked hard and got it back. I feel tickled and blessed. I feel bad for (Allen Johnson), because he had transmission trouble on his last run, and it’s his sponsor’s race. I told everybody before the last run that I think we can get second but not first. [Johnson’s crew chief] Mark Ingersoll is spectacular on that mountain.”


By qualifying in that position, Edwards becomes the second Pro Stock driver to secure his position in the Countdown to 1, NHRA’s playoffs.


In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hector Arana pushed his Lucas Oil Buell to the top of the 16-bike order with a 7.319 at 180.81 for his second No. 1 effort of the season. Arana, who won earlier in the season at Gainesville, will face No. 16 qualifier Bailey Whitaker in the opening round.


“What an awesome feeling,” Arana said. “We had some left in it yesterday, and we decided to get a little aggressive. I knew the opportunity was there in the final session, because I watched the air get 800 feet better. We have a fast and consistent bike, and my goal is to win tomorrow.”

Top Fuel -- 1. Antron Brown, 3.862 seconds, 318.39 mph  vs. 16. Rob Passey, 9.653, 110.40; 2. Cory McClenathan, 3.882, 317.05  vs. 15. Terry Haddock, 4.841, 170.77; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.895, 312.28  vs. 14. Todd Simpson, 4.402, 266.16; 4. Larry Dixon, 3.903, 310.34  vs. 13. Steven Chrisman, 4.300, 272.89; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.940, 303.43  vs. 12. Mike Strasburg, 4.091, 281.60; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.975, 305.42  vs. 11. Clay Millican, 4.082, 304.05; 7. Shawn Langdon, 3.982, 309.63  vs. 10. Joe Hartley, 4.076, 292.52; 8. Brandon Bernstein, 4.008, 304.94  vs. 9. Morgan Lucas, 4.045, 290.57.


Funny Car -- 1. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.121, 297.22  vs. 16. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 6.145, 111.78; 2. Tony Pedregon, Impala, 4.135, 294.50  vs. 15. Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 5.118, 151.43; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.152, 297.68  vs. 14. Grant Downing, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.633, 200.80; 4. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.156, 303.37  vs. 13. Jerry Toliver, Monte Carlo, 4.269, 296.50; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.157, 293.28  vs. 12. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.257, 294.05; 6. John Force, Mustang, 4.176, 298.93  vs. 11. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.241, 284.93; 7. Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, 4.185, 301.00  vs. 10. Del Worsham, Toyota Solara, 4.203, 292.90; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.188, 293.47  vs. 9. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.196, 296.63.


Pro Stock -- 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.957, 197.71  vs. 16. Mark Buehring, Chevy Cobalt, 7.205, 191.38; 2. Allen Johnson, Dodge Stratus, 6.964, 197.10  vs. 15. Danny Gruninger, Stratus, 7.165, 192.74; 3. Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.986, 196.67  vs. 14. Warren Johnson, GXP, 7.076, 196.04; 4. Jason Line, GXP, 6.990, 197.42  vs. 13. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 7.037, 195.73; 5. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.993, 196.73  vs. 12. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 7.028, 195.85; 6. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.995, 196.64  vs. 11. Rickie Jones, Stratus, 7.028, 195.48; 7. V. Gaines, Stratus, 7.015, 195.45 vs. 10. Johnny Gray, Stratus, 7.021, 196.39; 8. Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 7.016, 196.30  vs. 9. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 7.017, 195.31.


Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.319, 180.81  vs. 16. Bailey Whitaker, Buell, 7.536, 172.08; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.342, 179.02  vs. 15. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.491, 174.96; 3. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.358, 177.98  vs. 14. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.482, 176.51; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.363, 177.65  vs. 13. Mike Berry, Buell, 7.477, 174.64; 5. David Hope, Buell, 7.374, 176.44  vs. 12. Douglas Horne, Buell, 7.466, 178.26; 6. Matt Guidera, Buell, 7.379, 176.90  vs. 11. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.456, 178.71; 7. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 7.379, 175.37  vs. 10. Junior Pippin, Buell, 7.448, 175.71; 8. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.386, 177.28 vs. 9. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.401, 177.93.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Ken Van Buren, 7.654, 173.83; 18. Katie Sullivan, 7.729, 174.08.

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.