WINNER IN 2006, CAPPS WAXES NOSTALGIC OVER E-TOWN CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 17, 2008) - Ron Capps, who turns 43 this Friday, would appear to be too young to remember most of the history that has taken place at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park since...
WINNER IN 2006, CAPPS WAXES NOSTALGIC OVER E-TOWN
CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 17, 2008) - Ron Capps, who turns 43 this Friday, would appear to be too young to remember most of the history that has taken place at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park since the early Seventies. But the driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car does, and he hopes that some of that knowledge will help pave his way to victory lane at this weekend's NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J.
Capps, who is aiming for a solid spot in the top 10 when the Countdown to the Championship begins after the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day (he's No. 8) is looking for a strong performance - read a win - this weekend to add to his list of successes at E-town, which include a 2006 Funny Car victory and two runner-up finishes (2003 and 2005).
"Back in 2006 when we finally won the Englishtown race was a very important day," said Capps, who is tied with Tony Pedregon with the longest qualifying streak among active Funny Car drivers (25). "Any driver out here who has won the U.S. Nationals probably considers that to be his best achievement. But, you start going down the list of trophies you want to have on your mantle at the end of your career, and Englishtown was always at the top of my list.
"There is so much history at this race, that it was so neat to win there. That was big. And, with the date change they made a few years ago (to an earlier time of the year) you're still going to see warm conditions. And that really bodes well for our team. We spent some time testing just after Chicago in Martin, Mich., and the conditions got pretty warm and humid, which I think really kind of helped us.
"Englishtown was famous for match racing in the past, and I'll never forget those 'Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Raceway Park!' commercials they ran. And the coolest part for me is the legends in our sport I have been around who did so well in Englishtown," said Capps, who began his professional NHRA journey in 1995.
"To be able to drive one of these cars now is pretty awesome, but to be associated with guys like Roland Leong, Dale Armstrong, Dick LaHaie, driver/owner Don Prudhomme and now Don Schumacher (the 1972 Funny Car winner in E-town) and my crew chief Ed 'Ace' McCulloch, is pretty special. I've gotten to work with the best of the best in the history of the sport and the cool part is hearing them talk about the old days. And I love listening to them.
"Not only has this race been around so long that the win list is long, but look at some of the winners. Look at people like Jeb Allen (three TF wins), Raymond Beadle (two FC wins). If you're a fan of drag racing you know they are the 'Who's Who' of the history of our sport. That just tells you how big this race is.
"Our team owner Don Schumacher has the same number of wins at Englishtown that I have. Any time you can be tied with a legend of the sport like Don Schumacher in wins anywhere, is awesome. It's an amazing feat to have one Wally on your trophy wall at home. I have the luxury of having over 20 (25 in fact) and hopefully those will keep coming.
"They're so hard to get that you yearn for that next one."
As for this weekend's event, "We're going to get a great run Friday night when the weather cools off, but it's always been a warm track to run at," said Capps. "It also usually has a pretty wide groove and it's a great surface. That kind of takes away a little bit of the anxiety for a driver.
"It's the biggest race we have on the East Coast and the fans are incredible. We talk about them every year from the time we leave Englishtown until the time we go back. They're very vocal about their drivers and they're very adamant about who they cheer for."