Capps Leads The Way At U.S. Nationals

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Ron Capps (NHRA photo)

CLERMONT, Ind. — Coming off his first career win at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, veteran Funny Car standout Ron Capps stayed hot, racing to the No. 1 spot during Friday’s opening qualifying session of the prestigious 66th annual DENSO Spark Plugs U.S. Nationals.

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the sixth race of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. It also marks the fourth straight race at Indy since the NHRA season restarted in July.

Capps went 3.895 seconds at 330.63 mph in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat under the lights on drag racing’s grandest stage, putting him in position to pick up his 25th career No. 1 qualifier and first of the year. He was also the only driver to reach the 3.80s on Friday, giving the 65-time event winner plenty of momentum as he looks to pick up his first career U.S. Nationals victory.

“The guys went out there to run a certain number, and the weather changes, and that’s what makes (crew chief) Rahn Tobler so great to have on the NAPA team,” Capps said. “He can make changes on the fly like that. It was a handful and it was moving around, but great job by the NAPA guys.”

Bob Tasca went 3.910 at 327.11 and is qualified second, while veteran Tim Wilkerson’s 3.918 at 322.11 was good enough for third after the first qualifying session.

Top Fuel’s Shawn Langdon made his best run since the NHRA returned, powering to the top spot with a run of 3.728 at 313.22 in his 11,000-horsepower DHL dragster on Friday. If it holds up, it would give the former world champ his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 19th in his career. Langdon is also after his first win of the season and second at the U.S. Nationals.

Steve Torrence, the defending and back-to-back world champ who also won the most recent race, ran a 3.731 at 325.06 to put him a spot behind and Clay Millican is currently third thanks to his pass of 3.733 at 327.35. Points leader and defending event champ Doug Kalitta is fourth with a run of 3.736 at 325.45.

With an incredible track record at the Big Go, veteran Greg Anderson was impressive to open Pro Stock qualifying, jumping to the No. 1 position with a run of 6.549 at 209.52 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro.

It puts Anderson, a four-time world champion, in line for his first No. 1 qualifier of 2020 and 105th in his illustrious career. He is also after his seventh U.S. Nationals victory, which would put him second behind only Bob Glidden. Chris McGaha is a spot behind after the first session with a run of 6.553 at 208.52, and Matt Hartford sits third following his pass of 6.572 at 208.88.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angie Smith rode to the top spot with a run of 6.807 at 197.31 on her DENSO Racing EBR. If it holds, Smith, who has one career win, would qualify in the No. 1 position for the first time in her Pro Stock Motorcycle career.

Eddie Krawiec, a multi-time world champ and two-time U.S. Nationals winner, is currently in second after his pass of 6.834 at 198.12 and Scotty Pollacheck rounds out the top three after going 6.864 at 197.28. In addition to final qualifying in the class on Saturday, the Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Bike Battle will also take place, as eight Pro Stock Motorcycle standouts will compete for the $25,000 prize.

In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, which is presented by ATI ProCharger this weekend, Jason Scruggs drove the provisional No. 1 spot with a run of 5.717 at 253.04 in his blown Scruggs Farm Camaro.