CAPPS AND NAPA TEAM LOOK FOR FIRST U.S. NATIONALS WIN AS COUNTDOWN BEGINS CARLSBAD, Calif. (Aug. 31, 2010) - While his mentor and former crew chief (now Don Schumacher Racing team consultant) Ed "Ace" McCulloch has won the U.S. Nationals six...
CAPPS AND NAPA TEAM LOOK FOR FIRST U.S. NATIONALS WIN AS COUNTDOWN BEGINS
CARLSBAD, Calif. (Aug. 31, 2010) - While his mentor and former crew chief (now Don Schumacher Racing team consultant) Ed "Ace" McCulloch has won the U.S. Nationals six times in his driving career (once in Top Fuel, five in Funny Car), Ron Capps is still looking for his first. And, with the Countdown to the Championship also beginning this weekend in Clermont, Ind., there's an air of awe yet confidence in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car camp as Capps and the team target their first NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series crown.
"I'm always very confident coming into a national event," said Capps, who starts the playoffs from No. 5. "Even in the past when we would arrive at the U.S. Nationals, the biggest race we have on the NHRA schedule, I have always felt I was in the best possible place to win Indy for the first time. But, for whatever reason, I always fell short.
"If you talk to any race car driver or any athlete, he or she will tell you it's the big moments that you want to be a part of, those moments that define you as a race-car driver and a competitor. And you can't deny the fact that winning Indy is almost as important as winning a championship.
"This race is always challenging," added Capps, who has one victory so far this season and 31 in his career. "I look at Ed McCulloch, who has been my mentor and has won Indy six times, and my DSR teammate Tony Schumacher (eight times), and they're almost nonchalant when they talk about winning it that many times.
"And, here I am, willing to give almost anything to be able to win it. It's difficult sometimes when you start putting yourself in the position of saying to yourself, Boy, I need to win it, I have to win it, because it's such a big race.
"So, whenever you get to Indy you can say what you want, you can say it's just another race - a driver can talk himself almost into anything – but, the fact is, Indy is huge. And this year it's bigger than it's ever been because it's our first race of the Countdown.
"You have to get off to a great start. You don't use any mulligans for this Countdown. You have to come out of the box swinging. Oh, and by the way, it's the U.S. Nationals. Everything is elevated, teams bring out new paint schemes, major announcements are made, and it's probably as big as it has ever been in my career."