Jon Capps, the younger brother of veteran Funny Car pilot and current championship points leader, Ron Capps, was uninjured in a vicious, high-speed hit at the Toyota NHRA Nationals at his home track in Las Vegas during qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Capps, a veteran driver in his own right who has driven part-time on the NHRA schedule for years while also wheeling nostalgia floppers and an array of other vehicles, was driving for the Plueger Racing team in the first of two planned events to close out the year (the team is entered at Pomona, as well) and was outside the field going into the final session of qualifying, needing a solid lap to punch his raceday ticket.
With just a 5.62 best to his credit to that point, Capps was 23rd in the order, with the bump spot at a stout 4.04-seconds. Capps, running opposite of Brandon Welch, was on a solid pass when the car hiked the front wheels near the 330-foot mark. Already out of the groove and gradually drifting away from the center of the lane, Capps wisely lifted before driving into the wall, slamming the nose back to earth.
That sudden return to all fours, however, proved to be Capps’ undoing, as the car reportedly broke something in the suspension and, the team believes, one of the front wheels, which rendered him a passenger as the car careened across the center stripe and smacked the left lane guardrail beyond the finish line. The hit all but destroyed the carbon fiber Chevrolet Monte Carlo body and caused very visible engine and chassis damage in the process.
Capps crossed the 1,000-foot finish line in 4.49-seconds at 206 mph, giving an idea of just how hard the hit was. He was able to walk away from the incident without injury — no word yet if the team will have repairs made in time for the Auto Club Finals in Pomona.