Capps beats Force in NHRA Funny Car
Published: Monday, May 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Funny Car points leader Ron Capps raced to his third victory of the year and the 20th of his career Sunday, beating John Force by a hundredth of a second in the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
Capps had a 4.793-second run at 319.52 mph in a Dodge Stratus to edge Force, who had a quicker 4.788 at 310.13 in a Ford Mustang. The difference came at the starting line, with Capps leaving in 0.080 seconds to Force's 0.104 seconds.
"I'm in disbelief," Capps said. "I got on the radio and said, 'I can't believe it! We won again!' It's not that I don't have confidence in my guys, but it's just so hard to win and when it happens a lot like it has this year, it's sometimes hard to believe. I love the competition and I love this class. This is just a great time to be racing."
Doug Kalitta and Jason Line also won their division in the $1.5 million event.
Kalitta repeated last year's Bristol Top Fuel final by beating Rod Fuller once again. This time, Fuller's dragster lost traction at the hit of the throttle and Kalitta's dragster powered to a performance of 4.537 at a track-record speed of 331.53. It was Kalitta's 25th career victory and third in the event.
In a battle of Pontiac GTOs, Line earned his ninth career Pro Stock win when he edged series leader and teammate Greg Anderson.
Comedian Will Ferrell mugged for photos, signed autographs and even gave the order, "Gentlemen, start your engines."
While the drivers at the Aaron's 499 sat through a 1-hour, 40-minute rain delay Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Ferrell was all over the track promoting his new NASCAR movie.
The race was finally postponed until today, but Ferrell at least had a productive day.
What in the name of Ricky Bobby was the star of "Old School" doing at a NASCAR race?
Well, he served as grand marshall. And he's starring in the upcoming "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," due out in August.
Eat your heart out, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ferrell filmed race scenes for the movie at Talladega's UAW-Ford 500 last fall. He and the film crew did extensive research on racing films.
"Oddly enough we watched 'Kramer vs. Kramer,' which had some great driving footage," quipped Ferrell, wearing an untucked long-sleeve shirt and fluorescent blue sneakers.
OK, so his movie is not "Stroker Ace" or "Days of Thunder" or even Sylvester Stallone's "Driven."
The title character wasn't modeled after Dale Jr. or Jeff Gordon or any other driver.
"Ricky's kind of all the drivers and none of them at the same time," Ferrell said in a mock-serious tone. "He kind of came out of my brain, which is a messed-up place."
Ferrell said he didn't know much about NASCAR before making the movie, but now tries to keep track of NASCAR races each Sunday.
With Kevin Harvick close to locking up a deal to remain at Richard Childress Racing, the free agent focus now turns to Dale Jarrett.
Michael Waltrip turned the heat up on Jarrett this weekend when he admitted he is courting the veteran to drive for him next year. Waltrip will field two cars under the Toyota umbrella in 2007, one for himself and one for another driver.
But Jarrett, who is in the final year of his contract at Robert Yates Racing, hasn't been in the mood to discuss his future.
"Rumors don't concern me," said Jarrett, who starts fourth in Monday's rescheduled race at Talladega Superspeedway. "What people have to say and speculate doesn't bother me at all. My job is to drive this race car and try to make us better."
Jarrett has been at RYR since 1995, and driving for sponsor UPS since 2001. The 49-year-old Jarrett has said several times this season that he wants to drive two more years, then retire.
"I said a number of weeks ago that I've had quite a few people talking to me over the last five or six months and that's no secret," Jarrett said. "People know when the last year of your contract is, so they start talking and seeing what your interests are, especially in my case."
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