Dallas: Ron Capps preview

CAPPS HAS CHAMPIONSHIP ON HIS MIND DALLAS (Oct. 5, 2005) - Ron Capps has quietly placed the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car back smack in the middle of a heated NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points race after winning his second race of the...

CAPPS HAS CHAMPIONSHIP ON HIS MIND

DALLAS (Oct. 5, 2005) - Ron Capps has quietly placed the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car back smack in the middle of a heated NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points race after winning his second race of the season last weekend in Chicago.

He knows the Brut Dodge has not been the quickest or fastest Funny Car out there (he has no track records and has not been low qualifier this season), but crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch has made it consistent and reliable and Capps finds himself looking directly into the eye of a potential first Funny Car championship for himself and team owner Don Schumacher. Capps' teammate Gary Scelzi is in the same boat as he leads the standings with three races left, beginning with this weekend's O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, while Capps is just 45 points behind in third.

What an exciting season this has been in arguably NHRA's most popular division. Capps has bounced around between 11th place and second place all season after starting out the year in Pomona, Calif., in 14th. Scelzi, meanwhile, started out in 12th then hung on in the top five after winning his first event of the year in Bristol until a semifinal finish in the U.S. Nationals flung him into first by one point.

So, who's talking championship? Scelzi tried to keep that discussion under wraps but has since been caught leaking out his thoughts. And Capps is shouting out loud.

"Those guys lie when they say they don't think about it," he said after his win in Chicago. "That's a bunch of crap. It's all you think about. When there's two weeks off I wake up in the morning, I take my kids to school, I'm thinking about it dropping them off at school. I get in the shower, I'm thinking about it. There's not a moment that I don't think about it. I want to call Don Schumacher. I call him a lot. I want to call him every five minutes to go, OK I'm ready to go racing, [We're] excited and I knew we could prove ourselves given a chance to get back out here.

"Texas Motorplex is a place that I always look forward to," he said of this weekend's venue, where temperatures are expected to be in the 70s. "It's great that it is one of the races that is going to be crucial in the points chase," added Capps, who is two points behind John Force in second, 25 in front of Robert Hight and has 55 points more than fifth-place Eric Medlen.

"To still be in the championship battle, and, by all means, we're right in the thick of it, is a thrill," said Capps. "We had a hiccup in Reading (where he fell to fifth place after losing first round), but this team is too good to stay down."

The California native has one Funny Car win here, in 1998 1, and was No. 1 qualifier here in 1997 2.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Eric Medlen , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight