Ron Capps rocketed off the starting line to defeat Matt Hagan on a 3.93 to 3.90 holeshot to win the $80,000 top prize in the Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car Allstar Callout at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals.
Capps, a three-time winner in Indy Funny Car specialty events (1998, ‘99, and 2002), got his NAPA Auto Care Toyota to the win stripe just .004-second ahead of Hagan’s Dodge Power Brokers entry.
"That final round was not a holeshot win," he clarified immediately. "I didn't mean to roll it in that deep [into stage], and we probably went the same e.t. as before of better. It probably went 89 or 90. I was mad at myself as the light came down, but the car was hauling the mail, I could hear Matt, but I didn't see him out that side window, and that's dangerous. I've lost a lot of close races this year just like that, where you think you hear but you don't see. And your win light's not on the guardrail and you find it and you kind of find a loss by a couple of thousandths.
"Overall it's huge for our Ron Capps Motorsports organization and all of our partners to get to do this. [My sponsors] are a little bit of a competitor with the Pep Boys and we have the Auto Care car here this weekend and I thank Pep Boys so much for doing this. It really put the U.S. Nationals back the way it used to be and we really haven't had this excitement like we've had this weekend, and that really brought a new element to this race. And it's been packed grandstands every day. So it definitely worked."
Capps, who called out Tim Wilkerson in the first round, made that call look pretty good as his Dean Antonelli-tuned Toyota raced to a 3.864 that not only demolished Wilkerson’s otherwise decent 3.920 but also gave him the No. 1 spot in the U.S. Nationals field.
With low e.t. of the first round, Capps then called out the sport’s greatest Funny Car driver, John Force, who had bested longtime rival Cruz Pedregon in round one with a 3.931. Capps’ NAPA Auto Care ride cruised to another solid run, a 3.89, after Force had to lift at halftrack.
Hagan called out got Alexis DeJoria in round one, hoping to exact some revenge on her for ending his 2021 championship bid, and got a measure of satisfaction with a 3.89 after she had to abandon her run early.
Hagan and the Dickie Venables-tuned Dodge Power Brokers Charger then took on top seed Robert Hight, who had smoked Bob Tasca III in round one with a 3.87. Much to everyone’s surprise, Hight’s Auto Club Chevy smoked the tires right at the hit while Hagan ran into trouble downtrack, breaking the tires loose at halftrack and coasting to a 4.18 win.