Las Vegas II: Ron Capps preview

BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE FOR CAPPS HEADING INTO VEGAS LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2007) - Ron Capps is getting used to having butterflies while aiming for his first career Funny Car championship. He's had them for the last three seasons of the NHRA POWERade...

BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE FOR CAPPS HEADING INTO VEGAS

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2007) - Ron Capps is getting used to having butterflies while aiming for his first career Funny Car championship. He's had them for the last three seasons of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, including this one, as well as in 1998 when he was a runner-up the first time, and again in 2000 and 2005.

The driver of the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T, who led the Funny Car standings through 14 of the first 17 events this season by as much as 154 points, scratched his way back into fourth place in the Countdown to One standings at the last event in Richmond, Va., where he scored a runner-up finish, despite struggling to even qualify for the event. After he had dropped down once the playoffs system kicked in and it looked almost hopeless, he's now back in the hunt. Two events remain, beginning with the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals this weekend, followed by the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 1-4, in which the top four in points will vie for the crown.

A successful test session at The Strip at Las Vegas last week helped raise the team's morale. "We're happy; we feel really good about it. But it's crunch time," said the California native. "It's two races left and there's no room for error. So, anything we wanted to get out of the way, or if we wanted to push the envelope as far as the tune-up goes, we were able to try during those two and a half days of testing.

"This track is so great," he added. "Unless conditions get really extremely warm, you're going to see cars going down the track almost every run. And that's great for the fans.

"It's going to be an exciting weekend. Come Sunday, no matter what happens, those are the rounds that are important, and there's a chance for a national record to be set here if the conditions are good. That's an extra 20 points, and that would be huge right now. NHRA also reset the oildown penalties to one credit for all the Countdown teams. So, if a team has a bad weekend in one of these next two races, that's going to be 10 points deducted. You're going to see a lot of number crunching."

As for the butterflies, "I am so much better," he said. "I'm sure we'll get nervous, but, really, Richmond was kind of a turning point for me. I still had the butterflies there. Personally, I kind of felt myself go to the next level. And I know Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) felt like he got his hot rod back that he's been working on.

"I think overall when it comes to Sunday morning you're going to see a lot of drivers and crew chiefs that are involved in this Countdown pretty nervous. But you also have to remember that there's some extremely agitated non-Countdown teams that are wanting to put a cramp on any plans anybody in the Countdown has, and rightfully so.

"With all the press being directed at the Countdown teams, I know I would be trying to do everything I can to get my sponsor on TV and that means win. So, you're going to see a lot of non-Countdown teams get into the mix and try some things they probably wouldn't have tried. And when teams start to do that, they learn things. And when they learn things, it could result in a lot of upsets.

"It's going to be so interesting to see what happens on Sunday. Because what happens on Sunday is really going to dictate on what everybody's approach is going to be for Pomona. You just need to have a decent, if not a great, weekend in Vegas to take some pressure off going into Pomona. And obviously to win Vegas would be just unbelievable. We're looking at just qualifying well and trying to get some rounds under our belts in Vegas and try to do as well as we can in Pomona. But, right now, you can't even be thinking Pomona."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps