Gainesville: Ron Capps preview

Defending Event Champ Capps On Course To Repeat At Gatornationals INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2007) - With renewed determination to qualify high and earn valuable points this 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, Ron Capps and crew chief Ed...

Defending Event Champ Capps On Course To Repeat At Gatornationals

INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2007) - With renewed determination to qualify high and earn valuable points this 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, Ron Capps and crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch are on course to repeat as defending champions at this weekend's ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

So far this season, driving the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T, Capps has qualified No. 3 and 4, reached the quarters and the semis and is fourth in the point standings, just 64 out of the lead. A rare red light ended his run at the last race in Phoenix, but gave notice that the Brut team is red hot.

Conditions are the No. 1 topic heading into Gainesville. "Last year it was the kind of the same scenario," explained Capps. "It was still early in the year. In the past I think everyone figured that with the fair spring conditions expected in Gainesville it was going to be a place you could go and set national records.

"And, lo and behold, we ran into warm weather and really tough conditions all through the weekend. We won the race and at the time it ranked up there as one of the biggest wins for me personally. It's such a prestigious race. It's the first East Coast race and all you have to do is pull into the track Friday morning and see how many people are there. It's an amazing race.

"After we won in Gainesville, we went on to win four of the next eight races," Capps added, noting that the last part of the year became a challenge. He led the standings through 17 of the first 19 races, then got into a points battle with John Force until it culminated in a third-place finish for Capps at the season finale.

"The new points system with the Countdown to the Championship surely motivates you early in the year," added Capps, aiming for his first Funny Car crown, "especially when you start looking at the amount of cars out there that are strong - cars that should be in that Countdown and we're well over the limit of eight.

"Right now you can't waste any time. You have to focus. Like Ace told me, 'You have to focus on getting out there, winning races and building up the points, as many points as you can.' Not only to insure you're in the Countdown, but to be able to try some things that you'll want to later on, and not have to worry about losing points."

Is he over his first-ever red light in Phoenix? "It's funny," he said. "For me personally it was devastating because I had never red-lit, but I try to forget about it. You try to say, OK, just look past it, but you can't. So for me to have been able to run the Nostalgia Funny Car at the March Meet (Bakersfield, Calif., last weekend) was nice because it's such a long break between Phoenix and Gainesville that I got to get into a car and go up there and stage, and get back on that horse, if you will."

Capps' Gatornationals record includes last year's win and a runner-up finish in 2000.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force