Memphis: Ron Capps preview

FUNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS IS ENJOYING THE RIDE; NEXT STOP MEMPHIS MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2006) - The O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park this weekend is the next stop for Funny Car points leader Ron Capps on the...

FUNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS IS ENJOYING THE RIDE; NEXT STOP MEMPHIS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2006) - The O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park this weekend is the next stop for Funny Car points leader Ron Capps on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series tour, and he's still on that train heading towards his first Funny Car championship.

Despite four first-round losses in the last five events (and one runner-up), Capps is hanging on to the No. 1 spot he's held since the second event of the season. He's been up as high as 122 points and as low as 15, and with seven races remaining, the five-time season winner is now 48 in front of 13-time champion John Force, who's won once.

Force has had his own share of slip-ups, having exited early in five of the last six events.

"For us to struggle a little bit and go out the first round and have the problems we had the last few races and for Force to have the same problems the following round and only lose a little bit of ground on him is amazing," says Capps, who drives the Brut Dodge Charger R/T with additional support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels.

"That wouldn't have happened five or 10 years ago with Force, for sure, and I really attribute that to the great teams in the Funny Car division right now.

"John Force won a lot of rounds by intimidation 10 years ago and now we have so many teams that are capable of running as good or better than his team at times. It doesn't surprise me that, if we struggle sometimes, he's also going to possibly struggle.

"Every time we go through another race and we still hang on to the points lead, it's one more race down and one less to go. And it's going to turn into a nail-biter. I'm hoping of course that it doesn't get to be as close as it did last year (when Capps lost the title by eight points at the final event). I'm hoping that somebody wraps it up before Pomona (the final race). But until then it's going to be fun.

"I'm enjoying the ride. You can't always count on things going your way. We had a problem last week in Brainerd first round that no team expects to have. Several teams had problems. Things happen that are out of your control. You can't count on going up there and have everything go perfectly. That's what makes this sport so unpredictable and so exciting. I know our slump that we've had the last two races will not last.

"As for Memphis, the conditions will possibly be hot with a lot of humidity. And when you throw in night racing, with conditions changing, you'll have a nightmare for most crew chiefs.

"But I feel the most comfortable with conditions changing, because I think we showed time and time again this year that Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) and (team consultant) Dan Olson can adapt.

"There's a lot of teams out here that can adapt. You just can't count anybody out. It's going to be fun. I've won in Memphis before (in 2000) and I love night racing."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force