Topeka: Ron Capp final report

CAPPS MOVES UP TO NO. 6 IN POINTS AFTER SEMIFINAL FINISH IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2008) - Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Ron Capps advanced to his third semifinal round of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing...

CAPPS MOVES UP TO NO. 6 IN POINTS AFTER SEMIFINAL FINISH IN TOPEKA

TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2008) - Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Ron Capps advanced to his third semifinal round of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today at the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka and moved into a tie for sixth place (with Tony Pedregon) in the Funny Car point standings.

No. 4 qualifier Capps faced 14-time Funny Car champion John Force in the semifinal round after defeating Cruz Pedregon (with a 4.956/307.37) and Melanie Troxel (with a 4.969/300.06) in the first two rounds on a track surface that reached 130 degrees. With lane choice, Capps launched first off the line against Force with a .075-of-a-second reaction time to Force's .085 (.000 is perfect). But Capps struck the tires early and slowed to a 7.119-second run at 126.99 mph while Force took the win by two seconds with a less-than-perfect 5.009/296.3.

"It rattled the tires," explained Capps. "The track temperature was over 130 degrees. We did have lane choice and we chose the left lane. We saw Gary Scelzi and Tim Wilkerson in front of us both lose traction and Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) actually made a couple of adjustments to the car to back it down, but this NAPA Dodge has been consistently going down the track that it really surprised me and I'm sure it surprised Ace.

"It was a great weekend," added Capps. "Almost a fantastic weekend. I really felt comfortable in the NAPA Dodge. The car's performance breeds confidence, especially in a driver. Any driver will tell you that out here.

"Obviously, I haven't had a whole lot of confidence this year and Ace introduced me to a friend of his earlier in the season who is a sports psychologist and who works with a lot of athletes, and he's really helped me. But there's nothing that will help a driver more than the car running good, and that's what has made me the most comfortable.

"Ace has worked so hard with all the obstacles that have been thrown at our category to get the performance around. I feel so great about this new car, especially this new 'safer' car (which is mandatory for all Funny Car competitors by the upcoming Denver event July 11).

"The NAPA guys are the ones that you don't hear a lot about, although I brag about them, but the way they put this car together every time for Ace so he can depend on going up there and making his choices on his tune-up is awesome. You have to give props to these guys on this team. Time and time again, they do a superb job.

"All that thrown together has really made me a lot more confident. It's exciting. We had a great weekend and I'm going to Eldora Speedway on Wednesday night to race the Prelude to the Dream with Tony Stewart and all the NASCAR drivers. There's nothing better than going there with a little bit of confidence.

"Ace will look at the data on the computer and figure out what happened. But the good thing is he's made minute changes to this car run to run and it's reacted to what he's telling it. And that is the best thing in the world.

"We learned a long time ago that leading the points going into Indy doesn't do you any good. You just need to be one of the top 10 and right now we're climbing the ladder and getting more solid into the top 10, which is where we need to be for the Countdown to the Championship (which begins following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend)."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson , Melanie Troxel