Baytown: Ron Capps preview

DEFENDING EVENT CHAMP CAPPS LOOKS FOR SEASON BACK-TO-BACK WINS CARLSBAD, Calif. (March 28, 2007) - Ron Capps successfully defended his Gatornationals Funny Car event championship last week and he's aiming to repeat again at the O'Reilly NHRA ...

DEFENDING EVENT CHAMP CAPPS LOOKS FOR SEASON BACK-TO-BACK WINS

CARLSBAD, Calif. (March 28, 2007) - Ron Capps successfully defended his Gatornationals Funny Car event championship last week and he's aiming to repeat again at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend at Houston Raceway Park, where he won last year's event.

In 2006, the driver of the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T arrived at and left Houston with the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points lead. This season he is in second, just six points back of Robert Hight, but he feels it's a stronger start towards earning his first Funny Car championship.

"Houston always seems to be a challenge," he said. "Houston is the type of track where, if we see any kind of cool conditions, records can be set there. We know how good that track is. They patched some stuff up and fixed the track last year and it showed in the elapsed times.

"Come race day it got hot and humid. And we had just left Gainesville with the same conditions, so Sunday morning when I woke up I was pretty excited. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and the guys had just proved that they could run in those conditions and we won again.

"And now here we are again. We left Gainesville last week which definitely had tricky conditions and we got a win and we went down the race track every time. Ace is definitely feeling like the car's responding to everything he does.

"Right now things are good," added Capps, whose team's goal this year is to qualify high to gain extra points. So far so good, as Capps has qualified third, fourth and third so far. "I'm really excited about going to any track with any conditions at this point because I feel that Ace has really made a lot of progress during Friday night sessions. And, even come Sunday, if the sun's out and it's hot and humid, I get excited.

"We had given the Dodge Stratus its last win in '06, and we gave the Dodge Charger its first win in '06, and now we gave the blue Brut Revolution Charger its first win in Gainesville. So, if we can do what we did last year in the first half and continue that on through the second half of the year through Indy (U.S. Nationals), it'll be a whole new season when we get to Indy."

Following Eric Medlen's tragic accident last Monday in Gainesville, which eventually took his life, safety is a priority. "Right now Ace's main concern is the safety aspects of the car," said Capps. "(Chassis builder) Murf McKinney, Ace and I and Bill Simpson have been on the phone together and Bill has been over at our shop. Ace has already added a couple of things around the roll-cage area to our car, which won't affect the performance but definitely will up the safety aspect.

"It wasn't speed that hurt Eric, so we're looking at ways to make sure that the driver is better protected on all the Funny Cars. We have some great, great talented drivers in the sport of drag racing and we need to protect them more.

"If it means revamping these cars completely, even if affects the performance, if it's something that can be mandated for all cars, so be it. I can guarantee that John Force is looking at everything right now. He's always at the forefront of safety, and I know that will benefit the whole Funny Car class.

"Racing without Eric Medlen will not be the same. He was a terrific person and an extremely talented driver and we'll miss him. It will be tough, he will be on our minds, but we have to focus on getting to the next race and trying to do our jobs."

Last year's victory in Houston, was Capps' first at that track.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight