Joliet: Ran Capps preview

ROUTE 66 RACEWAY HISTORY: In three previous races, Capps has one semifinal finish (2000), one quarterfinal and one first round finish. STANDING: Second with 610 points, after nine of 24 NHRA Winston Series events. LOOKING AHEAD TO LUCAS...

ROUTE 66 RACEWAY HISTORY:

In three previous races, Capps has one semifinal finish (2000), one quarterfinal and one first round finish.

STANDING:

Second with 610 points, after nine of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD TO LUCAS OIL NATIONALS:

Capps was able to turn a semifinal finish at Topeka, Kan., Sunday into a return to second place in the NHRA Winston Series Funny Car standings. 

"Right now we're focusing on staying high in the standings," said Capps.  "We've had record-setting fields (the quickest field has been set five times in the nine races so far) and we can't keep doing that when we get into the summer months.

And we are going into our third race of three in a row.  This one is really important because it will help separate the championship contenders from the wannabes. 

"Teams will find out how much depth they have.  Guys may be getting tired.  With the sponsors we have, we don't have to worry about a depletion of parts, but the back-to-back-to-back races could affect some teams.

"Our approach to this race won't change.  We'll still have our goal to win Sunday, but our first goal will be to qualify, period.  Our second goal is to have our Skoal Racing Green Camaro qualify on the opposite side of the ladder from our teammate Tommy Johnson's Skoal Racing Blue Camaro.  Once we've accomplished those two, then we can concentrate on winning the race.

"When you race on tracks like Route 66, at Topeka and Englishtown (N.J.), where both lanes are pretty equal and pretty good, fans will see a lot of full runs and not a lot of aborted runs.  When we leave the Chicago area and head for Columbus (Ohio, for the June 17 event), we're going to see tricky tracks and tricky weather conditions.  The cars will be fighting for traction."

ON THE TOUGH COMPETITION:

"The interesting thing about that is that when you start naming guys who have won races this year, it also includes guys who haven't qualified for one of the races," Capps commented.  "That tells me that to win a race in Funny Car this year is much harder than you can imagine.  It says a lot about the depth of the field.

"Guys like Tommy (Johnson), Frank and Tony Pedregon haven't qualified for one of these races and they've already won one of these races, too.  That tells you how tough this is.  It's like winning a race just to qualify.

"The Funny Car class is beginning to look like the Pro Stock class where winning rounds comes down to leaving the starting line on time, and that should really separate the men from the boys," Capps remarked.  "This is going to put a lot more emphasis on the drivers.

"Before, it didn't used to be a big deal to get into the show.  You worried about getting lane choice.  Now, just to get into the show is a major accomplishment."

Capps, meanwhile, has qualified among the top six at all nine races.  His best is third and he's been sixth four times.

A LOOK BACK AT THE ADVANCE AUTO NATIONALS:

Capps qualified sixth (4.838 seconds) in the category's quickest field (4.919 was 16th). On race day he ran back-to-back 4.86s in beating Gary Densham and Bob Gilbertson.  In his semifinal against Tony Pedregon, Capps had a big advantage off the starting line (.468 to .549) and held the lead until his car spun the tires near half-track.  Pedregon was able to pass him before the finish line.

-Skoal Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Tommy Johnson