TOP U.S. NATIONALS FUNNY CAR DRIVER HOPES TO GIVE CAPPS 1ST INDY WIN Capps, McCulloch Bring "Revolution" History To Indy BROWNSBURG, Ind. (August 25, 2006) - NHRA legend Ed "the Ace" McCulloch remembers his first trip to O'Reilly Raceway...
TOP U.S. NATIONALS FUNNY CAR DRIVER HOPES TO GIVE CAPPS 1ST INDY WIN
Capps, McCulloch Bring "Revolution" History To Indy
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (August 25, 2006) - NHRA legend Ed "the Ace" McCulloch remembers his first trip to O'Reilly Raceway Park 35 years ago. He traveled from Portland, Ore., to Indianapolis with his Whipple & McCulloch Funny Car for the biggest drag race of the year and he left the Labor Day weekend with the most coveted trophy of his career.
That 1971 U.S. Nationals victory propelled McCulloch into national status and he returned a year later to win another Funny Car title at Indy. McCulloch is now the winningest Funny Car driver in U.S. Nationals history with five titles (plus one in Top Fuel) and he hopes to add another crown as a crew chief this year.
"We tried to go to Indy in 1970 but our trailer caught fire and burned," said McCulloch, who'll hope to tune Ron Capps and the BRUT Dodge Charger to their first U.S. Nationals title on Sept. 4 in Indy. "So we came back in 1971 and we won in our first appearance at Indy. That was special because we were a West Coast team and we beat the nation's best. Then we came back the next year and won again."
In 1972, McCulloch drove his now famous "Revolution" Plymouth Duster to five wins in seven national events but it was before a national point system like the current 2006 POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"We had the dominant car back then and everyone knew the 'Revolution' car," says a smiling McCulloch. "Indy is such a big race to win. I'm not sure the young drivers these days understand that. For a lot of them, Indy is another of the 23 national races. But back in the 1970s, there were not many national events and Indy was the big one."
McCulloch is seeking to repeat that "Revolution" car's performance with Capps at the controls this time.
"Ron is one of the best drivers out there," said McCulloch. "He is the complete driver. He is strong behind the wheel, great with the sponsors like BRUT, good with the media and he talks with the fans well."
This time Capps, a three-time Skoal Showdown winner at Indy, is after that elusive U.S. Nationals title that "Ace" speaks so fondly about.
"Man, Ace knows how to win at Indy, just look at his record," said Capps, who has a season-high five NHRA Funny Car wins in 2006. "I want to get him another win as a crew chief now. And you don't know how much I would like to win at Indy. It is drag racing's Indy 500. I want that U.S. Nationals trophy."
Capps, a 22-time NHRA national race winner, currently ranks second to John Force in the Funny Car points after leading most of the season. And he wants that point lead back now.
"We want to get back to the lead after the U.S. Nationals," said Capps, who says his BRUT team has a special setup for Friday's night qualifying session. "I know Ace talks about that 'Revolution' car from the past and I want to have our own 'Revolution' machine that dominates this year at Indy."
Capps and his BRUT Funny Car team have had their eyes on the U.S. Nationals for quite some time and their special setup.
"We all know how important Indy is to Ace and Don (Schumacher, team owner and 1970 U.S. Nationals Funny Car champion)," said Capps. "Our team has been pointing towards the U.S. Nationals for awhile and I know BRUT is very excited about the Indy race. We have a big surprise for the fans at Indy and I am really anxious to get the BRUT Dodge Charger out there and run hard."
Capps knows that the U.S. Nationals is a long, grueling event and that track conditions change dramatically on the racing surface at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
"Indy has so many cars that run down that track and the heat of the day can make the conditions extremely tricky," says Capps. "By the time we race on Monday at Indy, the track has taken a beating. The NHRA does a great job preparing the track, but it can only take so much from the high-powered cars. That is why we can really use Ace and Don's background and expertise on how the track surface will change."
And Capps hopes McCulloch can bring him a U.S. Nationals Funny Car title with his own "Revolution" machine.