Ron Capps, who has won more than 60 NHRA Funny Car races and a world championship, said last week he a place reserved in his trophy room in Carlsbad for a March Meet trophy should he ever get one.
He'll be taking one home on Monday and putting it in a proper place after racing to victory Sunday in the AA/Fuel Altered class at the Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
Matt Bynum (Funny Car) and Pete Wittenberg (Top Fuel) were the other big winners, but no one was happier than Capps who grew up watching March Meets and holds a special place in his heart for the race.
Capps actually won the race before he even left the starting line as Robert Winefsky jumped the start, drawing a big red light and automatically turning on the win light for Capps.
“Oh my God, it was like it was meant to be,” said Capps, who ran an easy 6.637 at 158 mph in the final. “I'm emotional right now. It's going to be a fun night. We're going to tear Bakersfield down.”
Capps made his best run of the day — 6.123 at 216.17 — to beat Mark Whynaught and reach the final.
There was no slowing down Bynum, who used quickness, speed and consistency to come away with his first March Meet win.
Bynum sacrificed numerous parts to get the win as he blew the engine at the end of his final round win over upset-minded Matt Melendez. Bynum ran 5.61 seconds at 250.13 mph to a 5.749/224.73 for Melendez.
“It's a good thing this is the final,” Bynum said. “I put it in high gear, it went out and laid over and blew up. But it's pretty cool to win the March Meet.”
Bynum opened the day with a 5.584-second blast at 252.05 to beat a tire-smoking Jerry Espeseth. He advanced to the final with a 5.621 at 261.83 mph to outrun Ryan Hodgson's 5.909 at 236.15.
Melendez, the No. 16 qualifier, advanced to the final with a string of 5.70s and upsets.
He beat No. 1 qualifier Dan Horan Jr. in the first round on Saturday and ran a 5.713 at 241.93 to beat Rian Konno, 5.768/247.61 in the quarterfinals before pulling another upset in the semis.
Bobby Cottrell, who won the past two March Meets, jumped out to a big lead in the first 500 feet before his supercharger blew off the car which allowed Melendez to power past for the win and a trip to the finals. Melendez ran 5.756 at 244.74 to Cottrell's slowing 7.053 at 135.51.
Wittenberg was a step ahead of the field all day.
He ran 5.685 at 247.52, leaving Brendan Murry in the dust in the first round. Wittenberg stepped it up a bit in the semis with a 5.663 effort at 250.79 to beat Dan Horan's 5.800/259.86.
He saved his best for last, clicking off a 5.678 at 251.49 to beat Tyler Hilton's 5.92/229.20.
“Man, this means so much,” Wittenberg said. “I can't believe we've won twice. The crew worked their butts off.”
Hilton used a starting line advantage to get past four-time March Meet champion Jim Murphy in the opening round with Hilton's slower 6.084 at 222.04 ust enough to get past Murphy's 6.027 at 180.77. Hilton then went .958 at 210.90 in the semis to beat Tyler Hester's 6.003/199.08.
In the first-ever Nitro Pro Comp final, it was a dragster vs. a Funny Car as Billy McDevitt, in a Rear Engine Top Fuel dragster squared off against Dean Oberg in a Funny Car.
McDevitt got a big advantage on the starting line, winning with a 6.089 at 210.35 mph as Davis could not quite catch up at 6.097 and 243.77 mph.
Drew Austin won A/Fuel with Brad Woodard winning Junior Fuel.