CAPPS WINS FIRST RACE FOR DSR, FIRST SINCE 2003, IN ST. LOUIS MADISON, Ill. (June 26, 2005) - A strong fragrance of Brut cologne permeated the air in the press room as Ron Capps arrived for interviews following his first victory for Don...
CAPPS WINS FIRST RACE FOR DSR, FIRST SINCE 2003, IN ST. LOUIS
MADISON, Ill. (June 26, 2005) - A strong fragrance of Brut cologne permeated the air in the press room as Ron Capps arrived for interviews following his first victory for Don Schumacher Racing and his first since Phoenix in 2003. In place of the traditional champagne, his Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car crew had drenched him with the sponsor's product in celebration.
Capps was a happy man and extremely proud of the team he had joined this year, including his teammates and the collection of crew chiefs that worked together this weekend to help his team while crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch recuperated from successful surgery.
His victory in the final round of eliminations over Tim Wilkerson was his second win at Gateway International Raceway (his initial win here was at the inaugural 1997 event), his 15th career win in 33 final rounds, and moved him into fourth place and within striking distance of not only the top three, but the No. 1 spot as well.
The 40-year-old from Carlsbad, Calif., is just 80 points out of the lead and his team is wired to continue its stride to the top of the charts.
Capps earned his pay in the first round by defeating points leader John Force with a 5.034/297.35, then taking out Tony Bartone with a 4.909/318.39, followed by a close match in the semifinals against Tony Pedregon, which he won by just .0062 of a second with a 4.953/295.21.
The final round was a stunner. While local favorite Wilkerson lost traction early, Capps, without lane choice, soared to the finish line in 4.862 seconds at 321.04 mph, the quickest and fastest of eliminations, to Wilkerson's losing 7.808/112.65.
"We just kept after it and with Ace being sick, Mike Neff and the Oakely team, and everybody pitched in. We've been trying to make gains on what John Force has done and I think we got the people now to do it. Ace will be back in Denver, and I'm looking forward to it.
"The Brut Dodge has been really running great. We tested in Topeka on Monday after the race and Ace found something and the thing just started flying. He changed some things on the car and obviously at Englishtown we ran good, we went to the final round. We didn't win but we know why. We were really surprised it fell off.
"And I just had a great feeling about coming back here. .
"Don Schumacher has provided something unbelievable for me. I feel like a lucky jockey. I have a great horse under me now . You can't win the Kentucky Derby riding a mule. We've been in the points hunt, but in these last three or four races it's just been a fun car to drive. It's gone down the track every time.
"I knew the win was coming; I was just hoping it would get here soon.
"The Funny Car class is so tough. It's like Pro Stock. It's really fun as a fan right now to watch this category. We moved way up in the points. Knocking Force out in the first round was a big deal. We were trying to help ourselves and the Oakley team. Unfortunately, Gary had a misfortune, but we made huge strides, moved right up into the hunt."
No. 2 in points Scelzi, Capps' teammate, was also eliminated in the first round and was unable to capitalize on Force's loss.
"It was awesome," he continued. "Don (Schumacher) gave me renewed life over here and it's been tough with Ace gone. You talk about Force having Bernie Fedderley and Austin Coil over there, that brain trust, and I feel we have that now, with Ronnie Thompson (Whit Bazemore's former chief mechanic) coming and working with Mike Neff (Scelzi's crew chief), and especially Dan Olson (co-crew chief on Bazemore's car). He's the glue that held it together. To watch all three teams (including Todd Okuhara, Bazemore's co-crew chief) and to have a swarm of jerseys in between rounds working on our car and enjoying it and wanting us to win is a great feeling."
Also winning for Don Schumacher Racing tonight was Angelle Sampey in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Next up is the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, Colo., July 15-17, 2005.