Ron Capps Returns To A Favorite Track For NHRA Northwest Nationals
Bringing back unique body from Sonoma victory
Looking to both recapture past successes and build on last week’s first win of the season as he continues his climb up the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, Ron Capps will drive the NAPA AUTO PARTS PlatinumNAPAFilters Dodge Charger R/T onto the Pacific Raceways drag strip here for this weekend’s 24th-annual NHRA Northwest Nationals.
The California native has always been a fan of the region, even before he recorded his first pro NHRA national-event victory there in 1995 behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster. That success was followed by another win (1998) in six final-round appearances at the Northwest Nationals, including last year when Capps was the runner up here to Tim Wilkerson, ironically the driver he bested in last-week’s final round.
“I’ve always liked going to the Seattle area, even before I raced,” recounted Capps. “I enjoyed it when I came here while working on the crew side of the sport and my family has even vacationed here.
“I don’t know why drivers have better luck at certain tracks; it’s just one of those things, so I obviously like racing in Seattle!”
Not leaving anything to chance, the team will roll out the same unique PlatinumNAPAFilters car which won last week’s Sonoma race. Originally, the special graphics were intended for the California race alone, but according to Capps, the crew really wanted to run it again.
“In the Infineon winner’s circle my NAPA guys kept asking about bringing back the PlatinumNAPAFilters body for Seattle and I thought it would be great,” he explained. “Why not – it’s awesome looking, it represents a great promotion and sweepstakes (www.NAPAFiltersDoItYourWaySweepstakes.com) and, hey, why make any changes when everything is going great? We’re not particularly superstitious, but in this sport consistency is important – if it worked before, use it again.”
This year’s race, with the first nitro qualifying session set for 2:30 p.m. PT Friday, will finish the infamous Western Swing (three-consecutive weekends of racing in Denver, Sonoma and Seattle) and, following last week’s success, a win on Sunday would mean the popular Don Schumacher Racing driver would have captured two out of the three challenging events.
“People have asked if getting that win at Infineon Raceway, our first since we won there last year, got the monkey off our back,” said Capps. “I suppose you could say that, but actually, it was more a sense of relief than excitement or anything else. After all, I’ve been preaching a win was coming ever since Tim and Kim Richards (crew chief and crew member) joined the NAPA team (for the Atlanta race in May), so I knew it was going to happen.
“I know saying you’re going to win in nitro drag racing is foolish, but I just felt so certain of it thanks to the job Tim’s been doing. He breeds confidence in me and in the crew – we just believed it was only a matter of time. He hates to lose anytime. He wants to get down the track every run and be the quickest, whether it’s in qualifying or on race day.
“So now, we’re relieved, we got it done, got our first win of the season and it is time to get on with the rest of the season.”
The win propelled Capps past Jeff Arend and John Force into the sixth spot of the Funny Car championship standings, seven points (less than one race-round win) behind DSR teammate Matt Hagan for the fifth position.
“Up until now, like so many of the pro drivers, I didn’t think too much about the points situation,” he said. “But with only (including this weekend’s event) three races left until the playoffs, positioning is becoming crucial. We want to be as high up in the standings as possible, to give ourselves the best chance to win the championship.”
By: don schumacher racing