The NAPA Dodge posted three solid qualifying laps, despite the muggy conditions.
Ron Capps is a cool customer, maybe as cool as they come in NHRA racing. But even Capps' unflappable demeanor can't overcome Mother Nature.
Mother Nature exposed something for the first time on the NHRA tour in 2014, extremely humid conditions. Driving a 10,000-horsepower nitromethane-fueled Funny Car isn't a leisurely task. It becomes less easy when a driver's visor shield fogs up from the moisture.
Ron Capps and his Rahn Tobler-led NAPA AUTO PARTS crew dug into their Carlyle Tools bag of NAPA Know How and endured the tricky weather and deceivingly good race track to qualify in the No. 6 position Saturday afternoon at the 27th annual NHRA SpringNationals east of Houston.
"As a driver it doesn't affect you that much other than you have to stay on top of keeping your visor form fogging up," Capps said of the high amount of water grains in the air this weekend at Houston. "That's probably the biggest issue the drivers have with the water grains and the humidity.
"For the crew chiefs it's trying to produce horsepower and overcome the extra water in the air. It's the crew chief that can make more power and apply the clutch the right way and tinker with the compression and supercharger. Here it's just that the track has been better than what most people thought. The track is really good."
After a fruitful test session on April 14 near Charlotte, Capps and the NAPA Funny Car team came into the Lone Star State with high expectations for a third career win at the near sea level Baytown track.
The NAPA Dodge posted three solid qualifying laps, despite the muggy conditions. Capps' best lap was Friday evening under the lights at Royal Purple Raceway when the popular racer scorched they Baytown track to an elapsed time of 4.079-seconds at more than 310 mph. That gives Capps a high deal of confidence when he clashes with DSR teammate Matt Hagan in round one of Funny Car eliminations on Sunday morning.
"I think we're going to see a little bit of cloud cover, it's going to be a perfect day for fans especially," Capps said of his outlook for Sunday's final eliminations. "For the racers it's going to be a pretty good day of racing too.
"When you win here you've done a lot. At the end of the day in the Winner's Circle you really feel like you've done a lot, that you've overcome a lot from the conditions to the track surface, a lot of things. It's a track that we really look forward to just so we can gauge ourselves to everyone else."
Come Sunday afternoon in the Lone Star State, the three-time finalist at Royal Purple Raceway hopes to grade himself an A. Now that would be really cool.
Don Schumacher Racing