Joliet: Ron Capps preview

JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps says he just can't relax and enjoy being in the lead, as the series heads to Route 66 Raceway this weekend for round 10 of a long 23-event season, the...

JOLIET, Ill. (June 7, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps says he just can't relax and enjoy being in the lead, as the series heads to Route 66 Raceway this weekend for round 10 of a long 23-event season, the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals.

Despite taking the Brut Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the Charger model's first win since 1971 (Capps' other three wins in 2006 were in a Dodge Stratus) at the last event in Topeka, Kans., and after defeating second-place John Force for the third time in three finals, Capps still feels that target on his back.

The California native knows it's no fun having 13-time champion Force, over whom he maintains a 109-point lead, aiming that arrow at him as the summer season begins, bringing with it a number of challenges, including a back-to-back three-event swing.

"I find it hard right now to enjoy being the points leader, because we're so focused on making sure we keep pushing ourselves and keep doing well," he says. "You would think that we'd be able to enjoy it a lot more. I'm hopeful that at the end of the year we could enjoy it, but I don't want to get complacent. Every minute I stop to think, Wow, we're leading the points and how great it feels, I feel like I have to stop myself and remind myself and everybody on the Brut team that we have to stay on top of our game, because Force being on our heels is more reason than any to make sure that we don't get too lazy or too cocky.

"We said it time and time again, when you get to parts of the season when you have three races in a row, and especially with the three we have coming up, with completely different conditions as far as tracks and weather go, the cream of the crop is going to rise to the top. That's a cliché, but those rising to the top are the crew chiefs who can adapt. So far, Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and the Brut guys have done a great job adapting everywhere we've gone. We brought out the new Charger body and gave it its first win."

One of the three races he won in 2005 which helped him earn runner-up in the championship by eight points was at the second event here at Route 66. "After winning last year here, I feel a lot better coming back here," adds Capps, who also receives sponsorship support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels. "I hadn't had quite the success in Chicago I always wanted, so it was nice to do what we did last year in the fall.

"At this time of the year it's probably going to be warm and humid. It used to really bother me as a driver when you had to go to different conditions, but it doesn't anymore."

Capps' Route 66 record includes his Chicago 2 win here in 2005 and a runner-up at Chicago 2 in 2002.

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force