RUNNER-UP IN 2007, CAPPS TARGETS FIRST DENVER WIN CARLSBAD, Calif. (July 7, 2008) - Ron Capps is a two-time Funny Car runner-up (2007 and 1998) at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, but has never won at this beautiful...
RUNNER-UP IN 2007, CAPPS TARGETS FIRST DENVER WIN
CARLSBAD, Calif. (July 7, 2008) - Ron Capps is a two-time Funny Car runner-up (2007 and 1998) at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, but has never won at this beautiful track nestled into the side of a mountain just outside of Denver.
The driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T would like to change that result at this weekend's event and add to his tally of 25 national-event victories in 27 final rounds since 1995.
This event also marks the first time the Funny Car teams are required to use the new mandatory "safer" chassis, a new Goodyear tire, and will race to the 1000-ft. point instead of to the standard 1320-ft. finish line. NHRA made the announcement last week that it was taking an interim step to help provide more shutdown room at the end of the track following the fatal accident in Englishtown, N.J., last month, which took the life of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta.
Also significant is that this event kicks off the grueling three-race, back-to-back Western Swing (Denver, Seattle, Sonoma, Calif.)
"For a while we've known that Denver was going to be a pivotal race for a lot of teams in the fuel classes, especially because of the mandatory chassis being implemented there," said Capps, who is No. 8 in the Funny Car rankings. "We started running ours in Bristol so we feel better about that. But now the new Goodyear tire will also be mandatory at the Denver race and, of course, we will now race to the 1000-ft. finish line. And I think that is going to be a great thing.
"Connie Kalitta is such a hero of mine," added Capps. "We all gave him his space and just waited for him to come out to speak about what happened to (his son) Scott and what his thoughts were.
"Denver is tough because of lack of air and everybody has talked about how the shutdown area is uphill, but what I've told people for years is that guys go off the end there because when their 'chutes come out they just don't grab any air, and so I think this decision is a great thing.
"It's going to be strange to shut them off early, and it's going to take some getting used to for some guys, but I think it's a great thing that NHRA has stepped up and is taking interim action to figure out what the next step is. Until we can get something to slow us down I think that's a great call.
"Obviously, with all of these things thrown at the fuel teams, with the tire and the chassis, especially for the Funny Cars, it's going to be a crazy weekend. We're fighting to get deeper into the top 10 for the Countdown to the Championship (which begins for the top 10 following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend). You have to go in there with a game plan that coincides with going to 1000 ft.
"I'm not sure yet if crew chiefs are really going to change anything or still try to run the car the same. I would imagine the guys are going to still run the cars the same and see what the elapsed time is at the 1000-ft. mark. It's going to be a very, very busy next month and a half.
"I've been lucky enough to win a lot of races at a lot of different tracks. But Denver is a track where I've been to the final round but where we still haven't gotten a win. It would be a great event to finally get the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge into the winner's circle."