Ron Capps closed the gap on his points-leading teammate Matt Hagan by beating him in a clutch performance in the final round of the Texas NHRA FallNationals. Capps defeated Hagan on a holeshot, 3.93 to 3.91, to collect his second win of the season and the 68th of his career in his 130th final-round appearance.
"I'm just trying to be the weak link," said Capps of his final-round leave. "We have a great race car, a real hot rod, so I really don't want to be the weak link so it raises my intensity every time to not be second leaving the starting line, to not do anything wrong, to do the best I can every time.
"It's rare to beat [Hagan]on a holeshot but I just am so focused for my team, for NAPA Auto Parts, because there's just a lot of stuff going on right now. a lot of thoughts rolling around in your brain at this time of year and the Countdown, and you're just trying to focus. There was a lot of emotion going into that round. It's good to get a little bit of ground from third place and gain a little bit on Hagen and those guys , and it's nice to go right to Bristol."
Capps, winner earlier this year at the Winternationals in his native California, and the Dean Antonelli- and John Medlen-tuned NAPA Auto Parts Dodge started raceday from the No. 2 qualifying spot and blasted out a 3.89 in round one to defeat privateer Jay Wyatt, then meted out of pair of 3.92s to trailer Paul Lee and Cruz Pedregon.
While Capps had never won the FallNationals, he did win at the defunct spring Motorplex event in 1998, when he beat John Force in the final.
It was the second straight win for Capps’ tuners, who last year wrenched Jack Beckman to victory at this event. Capps now trails Hagan by just 33 points.
Hagan, in just his third race back after recovering from COVID-19, reached his second final round and did enough to stay in the points lead.
Hagan, who beat Capps in the 2016 Dallas final for his second of three Motorplex wins, qualified his Western Tech University Dodge No. 4 in the field, then raced past Dale Creasy Jr., Bob Tasca III, and J.R. Todd with a trio of consistent runs (3.91, 391, 3.90) to reach the final, the 71st of his career.