CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) Points leader Ron Capps took the No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car on Saturday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.
Coming off a Winternationals win two weeks ago in Pomona, Capps set a track record with a 3.925 second pass at 320.50 mph in his Dodge Charger, just .005 of a second better than Courtney Force’s 3.930 run on Friday. It is the 18th No. 1 of his career and third at this event.
“We’re not so naive to think this can keep up,” Capps said. “There’s too good of competition. We’ll just take it, we’ll take the wins and this is a great No. 1 qualifier and this sets us up great for Sunday.”
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) also will lead their categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations as No. 1 qualifiers.
Kalitta powered his Kalitta Motorsports dragster to a 3.741 at 320.74 in the final round of qualifying to earn his 44th No. 1 and his fourth at Wild Horse Pass Motor Sports Park, holding off rival Antron Brown, whose improved time of 3.760 at 322.65 wasn’t enough as he sits in the second spot.
Butner claimed his first career No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock with his pass of 6.618 at 208.88 in a Chevy Camaro from Friday. Butner teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson qualified second and third in their Camaros.
The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.
“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.
“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”
Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.
He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.
The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.
“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.
“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”
Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.
A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.