Commerce: Ron Capps preview

CAPPS CAUTIOUS ABOUT COUNTDOWN CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 24, 2007) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps has a fondness for Atlanta Dragway, the site of round 6 of the 23-event series, where the Summit Racing...

CAPPS CAUTIOUS ABOUT COUNTDOWN

CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 24, 2007) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps has a fondness for Atlanta Dragway, the site of round 6 of the 23-event series, where the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals will be held this weekend in Commerce, Ga. He reached his first final round of his pro career at this historic track in 1995 in the Top Fuel class. History aside, however, Capps is cautious about holding onto not only his No. 1 spot, but a top-eight position for the next 12 events.

With an 88-point edge in the standings and two victories under his belt, the driver of the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T knows this is a crucial part of the season, as the Countdown to the Championship gets closer to the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in September, when the top eight will begin to battle it out for four positions in four events. The champion will then be crowned at the final event of the season in a contest among the top four at the remaining two venues.

"The weather in Atlanta always seems to throw you a curve," said Capps, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship. "I don't remember ever going there and not having it rain at least one part of the weekend a little bit. So, weather and track conditions could be a factor.

"As for the Countdown, right now, especially in the Funny Car class, there's a group of probably a handful of drivers who are outside the top eight that you would expect to be in that top eight come Indy; (14-time champion) John Force being one of them, for sure. But you've got Tommy Johnson, Del Worsham, and some other pretty stout teams back there that are going to be making a run here pretty soon.

"So, to be leading the points, it takes a little bit of the pressure off, of course. And every race you show up as the points leader you get a little more press, you get to read about it a little more, and that part is exciting. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and I, after the last race, were looking at the points, and it was like, Man, you look at the season we've had so far up to this point, the final rounds we've been in (three), the wins we've had (two), and we're not that far out in the points.

"It's so hard to not be able to sit back and enjoy it a little bit, because all of a sudden you're at the next race and you have to qualify all over again. And you have to defend those points. And you think of all these guys who are going to be coming and you can't slack off one tiny bit because you know you're going to have one of these guys jump up and knock you down a few.

"You'd think it would be a little less stress, but at this point, for the fans it's going to be more exciting. For the racers it's a little more stressful."

Nearby Atlanta is home to Coca-Cola Company and POWERade, sponsor of the NHRA series. "Atlanta is one of the biggest markets we go to," said Capps. "And it's very important for us to have some of the suits, if you will, come out from Coca-Cola and POWERade and really see what we're all about.

"It's great to meet some of the people who don't get out of the office who spearheaded this campaign to bring POWERade to NHRA. It means a lot to the racers to kind of show off and show them that we really appreciate all the support we get from them."

Capps' best results at Atlanta Dragway are three runner-up finishes: two in Funny Car in 2000 and 2001, and one in Top Fuel in 1995.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Tommy Johnson