Hard to see in the picture. Are the contacts damaged? The coil looks toasted. Measuring the voltage across the contacts is a good way to verify contact. If the controller was drawing current, then the precharge resistor would not get the caps up to full charge.
I've been real impressed with the ability of FETs to handle large current spikes, like my battery spot welder. A solid state contactor should be able to just slam on fast without blowing anything up. I've been looking into that as an alternative to the soft-start, constant dv/dt precharge circuit I designed before. I also have a precharge circuit that drives a relay coil once the precharge is completed.
"One test is worth a thousand opinions"