CAPPS IN THE MIDST OF TIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE AT START OF WESTERN SWING MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2005) - Ron Capps' adrenaline has been pumping so high that it will actually level off at this weekend's Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals because it...
CAPPS IN THE MIDST OF TIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE AT START OF WESTERN SWING
MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2005) - Ron Capps' adrenaline has been pumping so high that it will actually level off at this weekend's Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals because it will match the altitude here. After winning his first race of the season at the last event in St. Louis, the driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car finds himself in the midst of a tight battle for his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship.
After two runner-up finishes, one victory and 18 round wins in 12 races, Capps is fourth in the rankings, just 81 points out of first and only 26 short of taking over second place from his teammate Gary Scelzi, as the series begins the three-race Western Swing this weekend in Denver, then travels to Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.
"This is a great time of year for us," said Capps after two weekends off since he won. "Obviously, the summer break gave all the teams a chance to regroup. And to be able to have won that race before the break is huge.
"You just have to have your act together the next three races, probably more than any of the other back-to-back-to-back races. When you go from the 6000-ft. altitude of Denver down to almost below sea level in Seattle and then to Sonoma, these are the most adverse conditions that you could have. And they're all three in a row. The crew chiefs will definitely have their work cut out for them and the crew members are really going to have to get after it. They're going to be worn out."
"I'm excited. The Brut guys are really pumped about being back in the POWERade points hunt and chasing Force. All of the top four in points are chasing the championship. We're right with our teammate Gary Scelzi and that makes (team owner) Don Schumacher happy."
"Everybody in all three DSR Funny Car teams are really jelling right now," added Capps, who is also happy that crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch will return this weekend after recovering from surgery.
Ronnie Thompson, chief mechanic on Whit Bazemore's Funny Car last year, returned to assist the Brut team while McCulloch was recovering and will stay on with the team as assistant crew chief. "Ronnie just did an unbelievable job in St. Louis," said Capps. "Zippy (Gary Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff) was obviously calling the shots, but it was great to see him and Ronnie working together. Ronnie really had all the Brut guys working really well together. I think right now Ace is happy that we've got Ronnie aboard, because it takes a big load off of Ace after losing Dan Olson, who went over to Bazemore's Matco Tools car as crew chief with co-crew chief Todd Okuhara.
"So having Ronnie Thompson has been huge for the Brut team. I think it's going to be that added bonus that we're going to need for the rest of the year."
Capps has not won at Bandimere. His best result was a runner-up finish in 1998.