Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dixon, Capps NHRA winners in Topeka

Van Nuys High graduate Larry Dixon won the NHRA top fuel portion of the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas on Sunday. Dixon, driving Al-Anabi Racing, laid down a 3.971-second pass in the final against Clay Millican to win his second race of the year and the 45th of his career.
Dixon’s win comes off a weekend at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee when he lost on one of the closest hole shots in his career in top fuel.
“I’ve had worse weekends [than Bristol], but it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to say that I’m not where I want to be driving the car, and I think it peaked out last week,” Dixon said Dixon. “Alan [Johnson, team owner] took his crew chief hat off and put his coach hat on and worked on me and getting me right. We went and ran the car at Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday after Bristol and just made a whole bunch of runs. That was just nice, hitting the throttle and getting runs. They learned a lot from that test, and I learned a lot from that test. I was very excited and there wasn’t anything apprehensive about coming to this event. I just wanted to come here and get the gloves on and get in the game.”
Ron Capps, the leader in the funny car standings, won at Topeka, beating Ashley Force Hood in the final.
“It really came around probably from second round on after we beat John Force in the right lane,” said Capps, who extended his points lead to 119 over Del Worsham. “Everybody was saying there was no way you’re going to get down that track. And (crew chief) Ed McCulloch just kept plugging away.”
Worsham, a driver from Chino Hills, had won the previous two funny car events in a row.
Force Hood was the top qualifier and Capps, who drives from Don Schumacher Racing, said he expected her to put up quite a challenge in the final.
"We figured they were going to step up like they were capable of doing,” Capps said. “They were No. 1 qualifier and we figured they were going to run a mid-4.20 and I was going to have to do my job on the starting line. And for Ace to pull out a 4.26 in the final round on a 125-degree track was incredible.”
Force Hood is third in the funny car standings, 126 points behind Capps.
“We’re gonna keep our sights set on that No. 1 spot,” Force Hood said. “I don’t think it’s out of our reach. We just kind of need to stay focused.and keep fighting the fight.”
Jack Beckman, a driver from North Hills, lost Capps, his teammate at Don Schumacher Racing, in the semifinals.
“We had an air line split on the car right at the hit,” said Beckman. “We did everything right for eliminations. And if you look at the numbers up until the time it ran out of air we were hauling butt. It was going to run a 4.25, it was going to turn the win light on, but our car didn’t get there first, so you have to hand it to the NAPA team.”

Photo: Ashley Force Hood lost in the NHRA funny car final to Ron Capps on Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas.

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