FUNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS SET TO DEFEND IN E-TOWN AS TOUGH SIX-RACE SWING BEGINS CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 19, 2007) - Fresh from a second-place finish in a Mini-Sprint at his Don Schumacher Racing teammate's Gary Scelzi & Friends All-Star ...
FUNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS SET TO DEFEND IN E-TOWN AS TOUGH SIX-RACE SWING BEGINS
CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 19, 2007) - Fresh from a second-place finish in a Mini-Sprint at his Don Schumacher Racing teammate's Gary Scelzi & Friends All-Star Challenge charity event in Visalia, Calif., last Saturday, Funny Car points leader Ron Capps is focused on defending his 2006 Funny Car victory at this weekend's ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J.
With the new Countdown to the Championship in place this season, in which only the top eight in points will run for titles in their respective pro classes after 17 of 23 national events, Capps, driver of the Brut "Test Drive" Dodge Charger R/T, leads the Funny Car class by 140 points, despite one DNQ in nine events so far.
"It's been a strange year with all the big names not qualifying for different races," he said of DNQs by second-in-points Robert Hight, 14-time NHRA champ John Force and speed demon Mike Ashley, among others. "But it's kind of OK because of how the new Countdown works. Of course, we all want to win every event for our sponsors, but, in order to win the championship, our main concern will be to make sure we're in the top eight after 17 races.
"We've had one DNQ and we're still leading by 140 points at this time going into Englishtown. John Force is 17th in points and I bet he's not worried about the championship right now. What he's looking at is No. 8 and, with 20 points earned for each round win, how many rounds out he is. And he's really not that far out of being in the No. 8 spot.
"Everybody has their own goals at this point and, starting with Englishtown, it's going to be six races in a row for us, and the last three are part of the grueling Western Swing.
"So, a lot of things are going to happen. And, they are not going to pan out until we're done with this six-race swing. After that, there's only two races left before Indy, and they are Brainerd, Minn., and Reading, Pa."
There are benefits to holding such a strong lead at this stage, despite the points reverting to 10-point increments after 17 events. "It gives us an opportunity to try some things under race conditions," said Capps. "Granted, in the last two races the track conditions during the race have changed as far as the track preparation goes. The NHRA is trying some new things, and it has kind of thrown the crew chiefs a big curve ball, because it's been inconsistent. It's become more difficult to test during the race.
"You'd better run well on Friday night or you'll have a chance of not qualifying, because that run has become THE run to make the show, especially through the summer months. We know the conditions are going to be warm in Englishtown, so it's imperative that we get down on Friday night.
"I was lucky enough last year to win in E-Town. It was Father's Day. In your career when you start out you obviously want to win the U.S. Nationals in Indy before you retire, but the other races that you always look at wanting to win are those with the prestige and the heritage of Englishtown. Gainesville (Fla.) is one of them, and I've gotten to win that twice.
"Englishtown is the Pomona of the East Coast. Our sponsor Brut is headquartered nearby in Danbury, Conn., and you always want to do well at a race that's close to the headquarters of your sponsor."