CAPPS' DREAM JOB ALLOWS HIM TO DRIVE THREE TOP FUNNY CARS INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2005) - Aspiring NHRA pro drag racers often just dream of driving one good championship-caliber Funny Car in their lives. However, once you have your foot in the...
CAPPS' DREAM JOB ALLOWS HIM TO DRIVE THREE TOP FUNNY CARS
INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2005) - Aspiring NHRA pro drag racers often just dream of driving one good championship-caliber Funny Car in their lives. However, once you have your foot in the door, as does Ron Capps, who joined the multi-team Don Schumacher Racing this year to drive the Brut-sponsored Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, opportunities just might arise where you can drive three!
So was the case this past Monday at Gainesville Raceway, where Capps became the ultimate test driver for Team Schumacher, when he stepped in for both of his teammates, Gary Scelzi and Whit Bazemore, to drive their cars during an all-day test session at the track that held the NHRA Gatornationals the day before. Of course, he also piloted his own Brut Dodge.
After Bazemore sped home to Indianapolis Sunday night to reunite with wife Michelle and newborn son Dashiell Aidan (who arrived on March 12), Capps made a few laps in the event-winning Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus, as well as Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus, when Scelzi caught a flight home to Fresno following one pass.
"I was on the scooter from the end of the track after a run, never taking my gear off, and back into the next car getting strapped in," laughed Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif. "You talk about already having the dream job of a lifetime just to drive a Funny Car, but to stick around and drive three of the baddest hot rods around, not to mention the car tuned by Lee Beard that won the race the day before, was just very cool.
"The funny thing is they all do the warm-ups a little bit different, as far as when to push the clutch in, when to check the clutch tug, when to let the clutch out, etc. The Matco Tools car is a little different from Zippy's (Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff) Mopar/Oakley Dodge and that car is a little different from Ace's (Capps' crew chief Ed McCulloch) Brut Dodge. It was kind of weird at times. I kind of had to think about, OK, which car am I in, because I need to do something a little bit different.
"It was also strange to drive cars that are not built for you," he continued. "Whit is taller than I am, so I didn't sit as high in his car, so it was a little harder to see out of. And Gary's a little bigger than I am, so I had to adapt to his seat. Every winter we get fitted for these cars and have seats molded, just like they do in Formula 1 and IndyCar, so the car fits the driver like a glove.
"It makes a big difference, because if you're tight in there, you can feel the rattles a little quicker.
"I was like a kid in a candy story, to be able to drive Scelzi's car, the first car to go 330-mph and one that always runs big speeds, and then to drive the car that won the race the day before."
Capps made three planned half-track passes in the Brut Dodge while testing new components, and two each in his teammate's cars, posting a 4.78-second ET at 323 mph in the Mopar/Oakley Dodge at the end of the day, and a 4.82/321 in Bazemore's Matco Tools Dodge.
"Our car, in the very last run of the day, had the quickest number of all three cars up to half-track, where I clicked it off," said Capps. "Ace and (co-crew chief Dan) Olson on the last run decided to get after it a little bit. They put the normal setup back in it and we had great incremental numbers. It was just a great test, an awesome day.
"I was able to share notes with Gary and Whit. I think that is just as important as all the crew chiefs sharing information. I noticed a couple of things on their cars that I'd like to try on mine.
"I think it's a no-lose situation to do that once in a while. And I was glad to do it."