Baytown: Ron Capps preview

CAPPS STILL EXCITED ABOUT NEW TEAM, NEW SEASON BAYTOWN, Texas (April 6, 2005) - Ron Capps is still acting like that proverbial kid in a candy store, heading into his fourth race driving the Brut-sponsored Dodge Stratus Funny Car for Don...

CAPPS STILL EXCITED ABOUT NEW TEAM, NEW SEASON

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 6, 2005) - Ron Capps is still acting like that proverbial kid in a candy store, heading into his fourth race driving the Brut-sponsored Dodge Stratus Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing. So far in 2005, he's demonstrated the driving talent that attracted Schumacher to him in a couple of pedaling rounds, was runner-up against 13-time Funny Car champion John Force in the second race of the season, and had the chance to drive each of his teammates Funny Cars in a test session.

Every little bit counts towards one's goals, as Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif., looks at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Nationals at Houston Raceway as another step closer to winning his first race for the new team (he has 14 career Funny Car and Top Fuel victories), his first at Houston Raceway, en route to his first Funny Car championship.

"It's really exciting," says Capps, who stands eighth in Funny Car points, 80 points behind first. "We have such a brand new team still. It's exciting because the Funny Car class is so bunched together right now points-wise that after the first three races to have the guy in 10th place only a few rounds out of being in second place, just tells you how competitive it has been this year.

"These next few races are going to start to get pretty busy and it's going to show who's going to be tough this year. For having a brand new team I'm very optimistic about our chances. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and (co-crew chief Dan) Olson and the Brut guys have done a great job and they've instilled a certain confidence in me, especially after getting me to the final round in Phoenix."

But Houston presents new challenges for the team. "Houston is a very tricky track," says Capps. "It often has such good weather conditions or atmospheric conditions that the cars love it. They're like thoroughbreds at sea level and they just want to run. And that makes it more than exciting for a driver because I don't care what track you're on when these cars are running that well, they're animals to drive.

"At times you'll hear a crew chief talk about being at Disneyland with the weather conditions. When the air is that good, the engines make that much more horsepower, so you know that you're going to be in for a heck of a ride.

"The groove in Houston always seems quite a bit narrow so that makes it even tougher for a Funny Car driver," he adds. "These cars are hard enough to drive, but when you have a groove with the rubber in the middle of the track, it's not as wide as some tracks and it makes it more than a challenge to try to keep the car in the middle of the track.

"I drove a Top Fuel car to my first 300-mph run in Houston in 1995, so it's got some meaning to me. It would be a great place to win." Capps also established the top speed of the event here in 2004.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Don Schumacher