Atlanta: Capps looks for two in a row

Capps is a two-time runner-up here. He finished second to John Force last year in Funny Car. He advanced to his first career final round here in 1995 while driving a Top Fuel dragster, losing to Cory McClenathan. STANDING:: Third with 406 ...

Capps is a two-time runner-up here. He finished second to John Force last year in Funny Car. He advanced to his first career final round here in 1995 while driving a Top Fuel dragster, losing to Cory McClenathan.

STANDING::

Third with 406 points, after six of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE SOUTHERN NATIONALS:

Capps goes into this race on a high note following his victory Sunday at Bristol, Tenn. It was his 10th career win and ninth in Funny Car.

It also was the third victory in a row for team owner Don Prudhomme, who now has 70 wins overall, 49 as a driver and 21 as an owner. Capps has nine of those, Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon has 11 and Tommy Johnson Jr. has one.

"It's encouraging for me to have finished second in the Winston Series Funny Car standings last year and go back to a track again where I was runner-up," said Capps. "Obviously coming off a win at Bristol helps.

"This is an indication how our crew chief, Ed 'The Ace' McCulloch, tunes our cars. It certainly doesn't hurt to have the data from those four runs we made last year at Atlanta, where I was nipped by John Force in the finals.

"We went into Bristol in the same situation. We'd finished second there the year before. I knew getting to all those finals last year we were doing something right."

Capps was a seven-time finalist in 2000, winning once, en route to his second-place finish.

"We are only six races into the season, and to have wins from both our Skoal Racing Camaros shows what kind of team we have.

"There's no way I could've won at Bristol without Ace having the data from Tommy's runs and from my runs at Las Vegas where Tommy won and I lost in the first round.

"The new 2001 Camaro body makes the car nice to drive. It is so smooth it helps our confidence level."

ON CREW CHIEF ED "THE ACE" McCULLOCH:

"Ace is the most important person on our team. He has been the backbone. He's taken on lot and there's a lot of pressure trying get the things done that he does," Capps said.

"It's hard to tune cars two cars like he does. He's held his composure, held this team together and been great. He works with Todd Okuhara (assistant crew chief on Capps' Skoal Racing Green Camaro) and Tommy Delago (assistant crew chief on Johnson's Skoal Racing Blue Camaro) and the they are the three that make this two-car team happen."

A LOOK BACK AT THE THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS:

Capps was the model of consistency, running 4.957 seconds to beat Bob Gilbertson, 4.941 to stop Tim Wilkerson, 4.984 to eliminate Bruce Sarver and 5.045 to knock out Al Hofmann in the finals.

Besides giving Prudhomme his third straight race win, Capps added his name to the Bristol Dragway winners list that includes his boss. Prudhomme won the 1967 Top Fuel title at the old track - now 18 feet below the new facility - and Sunday's race was the first NHRA national event at the site since then.

"I was only two years old when Snake won the last race at Bristol," said Capps. "That tells you what kind of legend he is.

"It's amazing how much the fans remember because they were waiting for him, looking to get old pictures signed."

-Skoal Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Al Hofmann , John Force , Don Prudhomme , Tim Wilkerson , Tommy Johnson Jr.