Photo courtesy Ron Capps official Twitter account

NHRA: Ron Capps shows lots of class with comments about John Force’s struggles

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JOLIET, Illinois — It’s likely that several of John Force’s arch-rivals on the drag strip have enjoyed, even privately snickered at his struggles this season.

But not Ron Capps.

The 2016 NHRA Funny Car champ and second-winningest driver in Funny Car history (57 to Force’s 148 wins) did one of the classiest things seen in the NHRA in quite some time Sunday during eliminations of the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago.

John Force. Photo: Getty Images.

Force and Capps squared off in a semifinal round. Coming into the run, Force had led the rivalry between the two with 56 round wins over the years to 36 by Capps and Force was hoping to go on to win the event, which would have been his first victory of 2018.

It was not to be, however. Force hit the timing block at the finish line, which resulted in a lane violation that would have disqualified him.

But that was all relative, as Capps reached the finish line first to win the run and reach the 111th final round of his career.

Afterward, Capps was interviewed in the cool down area and said some very classy things about Force. Other drivers could take a few pointers from Capps’ comments.

“John is my hero,” Capps said. “It’s hard to watch him struggle. It ain’t him or his guys. This isn’t him.

“(When they got to the start line) I had it in my heart that old man is going to get up and bite me.”

But Capps prevailed and moved on to the finals vs. Robert Hight, Force’s teammate and president of John Force Racing. Hight would go on to win the event when Capps lost traction near mid-track.

Force has endured three motor explosions and three crashes in the first nine races this season, including hitting the wall and bursting into fire Saturday night. He’s also having his worst season performance-wise since 2007, coming into this weekend’s race ranked 12th in the Funny Car point standings.

However, after Sunday, Force has moved into the top 10 for the first time this season (he’s now 10th).

Before he took his car to the pits to prepare it for the final round matchup, Capps added one last classy comment about Force, “Don’t give up on the guy, because I’m not.”

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.