BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11, 2007) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps drove the Brut "Test Drive" Dodge Charger R/T into the No. 12 position during qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, not exactly where he and crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch wanted to be.

Having qualified only twice out of the top eight in 15 of 23 events before this weekend (not counting a DNQ in Topeka), this result came as a surprise to Capps and McCulloch as the team prepares for the next phase of the Countdown to the Championship, beginning following these next two races, here in Brainerd, and Reading, Pa., next weekend.

Capps' first pass, a 5.045-second elapsed time at 280.78 under hot and humid conditions, placed him No. 3. The Friday-evening run of 4.942/309.06 was good for only No. 9, and today's last two laps, run under some cloud cover and amid short shut-downs for rain sprinkles, produced a 4.963/205.35 and his quickest, a 4.875/319.37, depositing him into No. 12 in the field.

"With the clouds that came in early today, obviously conditions got really good, and then the sun came out," said Capps, who has already clinched a spot in the Countdown. "And to run the .87 our last session was a darned good run, the third quickest in the session.

"It seems like we're fighting an uphill battle a little bit. Ace is a little bit baffled as to why the car is not reacting to his changes, but we're sneaking up on it. We're used to qualifying a little better than this and we wanted to have lane choice first round, but the good thing is at this track lanes are pretty even, so it's not that big an issue here.

"Right now we're just trying to get these next two races out of the way and focus on Indy (the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend, when the Countdown begins for the top eight). It makes it tough. We want to run good tomorrow, we want to run good in Reading.

"It's going to be an interesting day tomorrow. It's probably going to be hot, but the rain's out of the way, so we're looking for a good day."

Capps faces his teammate Jack Beckman in opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

-credit: dsr