RON CAPPS FIGHTS INTO FIELD FOR NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS
COMMERCE, Ga. – Ron Capps, driving a new car under the leadership of a new crew chief, cracked into the field today for Sunday’s 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway which he believes sets the stage for great things to come.
The Southern Californian drove the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the 16-car competition with a third-round pass of 4.166 seconds at 303.91 miles per hour, thus erasing the frustrations of Friday’s first two qualifying sessions.
Friday’s runs – 5.439/130.91and 4.821/264.34 – were not enough to break into the top 12, thus did not equal an official time under the NHRA qualifying structure.
“We weren’t in the field after Friday,” he said. “This meant we had to have a safe, but solid run in today’s third round – just in case rain washed out a fourth – and that’s just what Tim Richards (crew chief) was able to achieve.
“And I don’t care where we qualified, because we have a great chance to win this race regardless of our starting position.”
According to Capps, the Saturday success, which resulted in a Sunday first-round race against Jeff Arend, is just the beginning for the rejuvenated NAPA team.
“I’m so excited working with Tim,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “Here we are for the first race with him and I can already understand how and why he won all those races and championships. The leadership and knowledge he’s already demonstrated . . . I’m just so encouraged by everything I’ve seen so far.
“And that third round was great work, especially considering the tricky weather and track conditions, threat of rain and pressure to make the field.
“This is our sixth race of the season, our fifth different car and a new crew chief, but I expect great things the rest of the way. Tim is our crew chief and this NAPA Funny Car is our car for the duration!”
The Atlanta-area race holds even more significance for Capps, due to the proximity of the NAPA headquarters.
“Obviously, we want to win every race,” he explained. “But a win would be even sweeter right here in NAPA’s backyard. They’ve been great supporters of me and Don Schumacher Racing; a win in their home race would be a fitting thank you – and it would be great to do it in front of all the terrific NAPA folk who come here and cheer us on.”