Skoal Racing Report Ron Capps Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car The Race: 16th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Oct. 19-21, Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas Standing: Fourth with 1268 points after 21 of 24...
Skoal Racing Report
Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car
16th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Oct. 19-21, Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas
Fourth with 1268 points after 21 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.
Capps Hopes to Combine Testing Parts with Visit to Winner's Circle
There are two objectives Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch and the Green Skoal Racing crew have in mind for this weekend at the Motorplex - 1) win the race; 2) try some new parts and pieces in early preparation for the 2002 season.
The Motorplex' all-concrete track provides an excellent testing surface, enabling McCulloch to experiment with some new ideas while getting ready to compete.
Capps still wants to finish third overall and he is one of three drivers contending for the same spot. Del Worsham is third with 1273 points, followed by Capps at 1268 and Tony Pedregon at 1259.
"It's tough when you have a goal to try and finish third, like this year, and, at the same time, know you have to test (during the races)," said Capps. "You have to take a step backward to go forward and we know those are the circumstances we face. But we have to look at the future and focus on next year and trying to win the championship. That's why we're out here. We want to win races and, ultimately, the championship.
"The best way to test is on NHRA-prepared tracks, and the Motorplex is a very good track."
Capps has one victory (May, 1998) and set several personal bests there, including a 4.813-second time in May 2000 that held as the quickest of the 90-percent fuel rule until earlier this year.
"I was amazed that run stood up as long as it did," commented Capps. "On that run, the car actually pushed itself out of the groove, but the tires still stuck, and that's what's good about the Motorplex. You have a margin for error; you can get away with more because of the concrete."
Although testing was on the agenda a year ago, rain washed out the event one weekend and qualifying on the make-up date. For the first time, NHRA ran the race without qualifying and used driver points to fill the field.
A Record-setting Track
"Fans at the Motorplex are used to seeing record runs at the track," Capps said. "We know the Motorplex has always been a place where you could run career bests. It's just a matter of whether the weather conditions will permit it."
The numbers drivers will be shooting at this weekend are very impressive, and they've only been in the books less than two weeks. Records tumbled at Reading, Pa., Oct. 6-7.
John Force, for example, set the national elapsed time record at 4.731 seconds and became the first in Funny Car to run four 4.7s during eliminations. Whit Bazemore ran the second-quickest time, 4.732 seconds, and there were 14 4.7-second runs at the event, another record.
Conditions at Reading were nearly perfect. The weather was cold and there was enough sunshine to warm the track.
And, while Capps wasn't one of the drivers to dip into the 4.70s, his personal best is 4.803 seconds, set at Joliet, Ill., Sept. 20.
"I believe Tommy (Johnson, his Skoal Racing teammate) and I have 4.7-second cars. It looks like a lot of the crew chiefs are getting a handle on running quicker this year and I expect to see better numbers this weekend at the Motorplex than what we ran at Reading," Capps predicted.