NHRA: Capps storms to 2nd win of season, Funny Car points lead

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It was Ron Capps’ Day in Baytown, Texas.

Well, it may not have been officially declared such by the Baytown mayor, but Capps still shined nonetheless, winning the Funny Car class in the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Springnationals at Royal Purple Raceway, just outside of Houston.

There’s even more to celebrate: it was Capps’ second win of the season, his third career triumph in Baytown – and for the first time in a long time, he’s back atop the Funny Car points standings.

Capps (4.244 seconds, 258.32 mph) defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman (4.480 seconds, 205.16 mph) to earn his 44th career Funny Car win, moving into second behind John Force (132 wins) on the all-time Funny Car wins list.

“It’s crazy to think that I am number two on that list,” Capps said in an NHRA media release. “I am not that good, so it just shows you from my time with (team owner) Don Prudhomme on down to my team at Don Schumacher Racing, all of the great people I have worked with over the years, it’s a credit to them.

“This is one of those races that when you can win it, you feel like you really earned it.”

Doug Kalitta won in Top Fuel, earning his first triumph since last August. Kalitta (3.820 seconds at 324.98 mph) earned his 36th career win in the Top Fuel ranks, defeating eight-time season champ Tony Schumacher (4.014 seconds, 225.60 mph).

It was the first time Kalitta has defeated Schumacher in 10 head-to-head matchups since 2003. Despite the loss, Schumacher regained the points lead in Top Fuel.

“Tony’s a tough competitor, and here lately, we’ve had a tough time getting around him,” Kalitta said. “Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.”

With the win, Kalitta passes the legendary “Big Daddy” Don Garlits on the all-time Top Fuel wins list. Schumacher leads the list with 78 career wins.

“I’ve had a couple dry spells,” Kalitta said. “It’s one of those deals where you never know when you’re going to win one of these, so you have to appreciate the opportunity and appreciate these wins when you get them. It’s a good feeling.”

In Pro Stock, defending 2014 champ Erica Enders-Stevens (6.571 seconds, 211.73 mph) won her second consecutive race of the season and 14th of her career, defeating Chris McGaha (6.598 seconds, 211.66 mph) in Sunday’s final elimination round.

It was far from a routine day for Enders-Stevens. Her team had to change a motor in her car in 11 minutes to reach Sunday’s semifinal round.

“People have no idea how challenging it is to pull together and to be on top two weeks in a row is an incredible accomplishment,” Enders-Stevens said. “This was one of the more emotional wins for me given the adversity we faced and what we all overcame today.”

The seventh of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga., on May 15-17.

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Doug Kalitta; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Spencer Massey; 4.  Clay Millican; 5.  Brittany Force; 6.  Larry Dixon; 7.  Steve Torrence; 8.  Antron Brown; 9.  J.R. Todd; 10.  Richie Crampton; 11. Shawn Langdon; 12.  Dave Connolly; 13.  Troy Buff; 14.  Jenna Haddock; 15.  Leah Pritchett; 16. Kebin Kinsley.
FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  Jack Beckman; 3.  Robert Hight; 4.  Courtney Force; 5.  Alexis DeJoria; 6.  Matt Hagan; 7.  John Force; 8.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9.  Tim Wilkerson; 10.  Chad Head; 11.  Bob Bode; 12. Del Worsham; 13.  John Hale; 14.  Tony Pedregon; 15.  Cruz Pedregon; 16.  Terry Haddock.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 2.  Chris McGaha; 3.  Jonathan Gray; 4.  Greg Anderson; 5.  Jason Line; 6.  Larry Morgan; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Rodger Brogdon; 10.  Drew Skillman; 11. V. Gaines; 12.  Richie Stevens; 13.  Allen Johnson; 14.  Richard Freeman; 15.  Deric Kramer; 16. Jimmy Alund.

FINAL RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Doug Kalitta, 3.820 seconds, 324.98 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 4.014 seconds, 225.60 mph.
Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.244, 258.32  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.480, 205.16.
Pro Stock — Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.571, 211.73  def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.598, 211.66.

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Brittany Force, 3.768, 326.40 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.974, 292.39; Clay Millican, 3.751, 312.78 def. Richie Crampton, 3.756, 320.51; Doug Kalitta, 3.732, 325.77 def. Troy Buff, 3.844, 313.88; Tony Schumacher, 3.726, 328.70 def. Jenna Haddock, 3.966, 300.86; Spencer Massey, 3.770, 327.98 def. Kebin Kinsley, 10.275, 54.99; Larry Dixon, 3.779, 323.89 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.765, 321.73; Steve Torrence, 3.759, 325.14 def. J.R. Todd, 3.755, 326.40; Antron Brown, 3.756, 321.73 def. Dave Connolly, 3.807, 322.73;

QUARTERFINALS — Massey, 3.807, 324.83 def. Force, 3.786, 320.13; Millican, 3.765, 320.36 def. Torrence, 3.798, 323.89; Kalitta, 3.751, 323.50 def. Dixon, 3.788, 316.97; Schumacher, 3.774, 326.48 def. Brown, 3.808, 318.99;

SEMIFINALS — Schumacher, 3.855, 319.37 def. Millican, 5.971, 106.55; Kalitta, 4.177, 256.75 def. Massey, 5.484, 105.38;

FINAL — Kalitta, 3.820, 324.98 def. Schumacher, 4.014, 225.60.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.056, 318.69 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.046, 314.46; Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.034, 319.45 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.974, 160.98; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.386, 207.27 def. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 11.665, 85.68; John Force, Camaro, 4.093, 317.87 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.800, 208.71; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.068, 313.44 def. Bob Bode, Camry, 4.620, 194.35; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.017, 320.81 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 7.330, 85.01; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.012, 319.75 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.053, 313.22; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.061, 314.02 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 8.175, 85.47;

QUARTERFINALS — C. Force, 4.113, 316.60 def. DeJoria, foul; Capps, 4.054, 316.82 def. Hagan, 4.130, 303.57; Hight, 4.140, 299.40 def. J. Force, 6.494, 102.88; Beckman, 4.047, 315.12 def. Johnson Jr., 8.395, 91.31;

SEMIFINALS — Capps, 4.084, 308.35 def. Hight, 4.084, 318.39; Beckman, 4.066, 309.56 def. C. Force, 4.173, 312.42;

FINAL — Capps, 4.244, 258.32 def. Beckman, 4.480, 205.16.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jonathan Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.565, 210.44 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.565, 210.73; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 210.90 def. Richard Freeman, Camaro, 6.630, 208.68; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.559, 211.53 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.581, 210.47; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.597, 209.72 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.576, 210.11; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.557, 210.21 def. Jimmy Alund, Pontiac GXP, 6.666, 209.49; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.583, 209.75 def. Richie Stevens, Dart, foul; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.547, 210.70 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.655, 208.30; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.562, 209.46 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.617, 209.36;

QUARTERFINALS — McGaha, 6.575, 210.28 def. S. Gray, 6.567, 209.75; Enders-Stevens, 6.553, 210.54 def. Nobile, foul; Anderson, 6.572, 210.47 def. Morgan, 6.563, 211.36; J. Gray, 6.581, 210.11 def. Line, 6.556, 211.06;

SEMIFINALS — McGaha, 6.561, 211.10 def. Anderson, 6.588, 210.50; Enders-Stevens, 6.570, 211.03 def. J. Gray, 6.574, 211.03;

FINAL — Enders-Stevens, 6.571, 211.73 def. McGaha, 6.598, 211.66.

UPDATED POINTS STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 474; 2.  Spencer Massey, 441; 3.  Antron Brown, 437; 4.  Shawn Langdon, 406; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 390; 6.  Richie Crampton, 374; 7.  Steve Torrence, 325; 8.  Larry Dixon, 318; 9. Clay Millican, 312; 10.  J.R. Todd, 299.
Funny Car: 1.  Ron Capps, 431; 2.  Matt Hagan, 425; 3.  Del Worsham, 401; 4.  Robert Hight, 397; 5.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 369; 6.  Jack Beckman, 353; 7.  (tie) Alexis DeJoria, 328; John Force, 328; 9. Courtney Force, 301; 10.  Cruz Pedregon, 291.
Pro Stock: 1.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 510; 2.  Jason Line, 495; 3.  Greg Anderson, 458; 4.  Chris McGaha, 432; 5.  Rodger Brogdon, 385; 6.  Vincent Nobile, 337; 7.  Drew Skillman, 334; 8.  Larry Morgan, 320; 9. Shane Gray, 295; 10.  Allen Johnson, 280.

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