COMMERCE, Ga., May 1, 2000 - Ron Capps wouldn't mind testing the law of averages during the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at Atlanta Dragway. The law of averages the driver of Don "The Snake" ...
COMMERCE, Ga., May 1, 2000 - Ron Capps wouldn't mind testing the law of averages during the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at Atlanta Dragway.
The law of averages the driver of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's U.S. Tobacco Co. Funny Car has in mind is the one regarding the number of final-round appearances it takes before winning a race.
Capps, for example, has been a finalist at three of the six NHRA Winston Series events this year and, as his interest in averages might indicate, he's still awaiting that elusive victory. It's not that Capps is upset at finishing second - winning rounds of competition are vital to remaining in championship contention during the 23-race campaign - but a win is, after all, a win.
"It's obvious that Ace (crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch) has our Camaro running very well," Capps says. "We've been very consistent but it's unbelievable that we haven't won a race yet. The important thing is that we're winning rounds. It will all even out before the year's over."
It is true Capps has been winning rounds. He has, in fact, already won more rounds of competition in 2000 than he did in 1999. Coming into this event, Capps has 12 round wins compared to 11 all of last year.
He is third in points with 436, seven behind reigning Funny Car champion John Force, and he trails the leader, Jerry Toliver, by 76. Force (twice) and Toliver are the ones who've kept Capps from the winner's circle this season. Force won at Phoenix and again Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park, near Richmond. Toliver won at Gainesville, Fla.
"I'm excited about going to Atlanta Dragway because racing back-to-back weekends is awesome," Capps commented. "We're able to keep our momentum rolling. We're fighting for every point we can. Right now, it's a matter of being consistent, and that's what we're doing. Ace has given me a great hot rod to drive."
And Capps has been driving it. He needed to pedal the throttle to get to the finish line in the semifinal and final rounds at Virginia. He beat Toliver in the semis by getting on and off the throttle to combat traction problems. Capps had a big lead off the starting line (.466 to .712) and won with a 6.351-second, 218.51-mph run to Toliver's 6.433 at 211.23.
Against Force, traction trouble surfaced again for Capps and, like the semis, his opponent experienced the same malady. Unlike the Toliver match, Capps couldn't get the win. "I didn't see him when I left the line, but then my tires started shaking tremendously hard," Capps recalled. "I pedaled the throttle and the tires hooked up. I could see Force's car smoke the tires. I pulled up on him, but then he started to pull away. I didn't want to cross the centerline like I did at Houston (losing in the semifinals to eventual race winner Bob Gilbertson)." Force came close to the centerline but avoided it in taking the win with a 5.913 at 236.01 to Capps' 6.165 at 233.76.
Capps had smooth runs in the opening rounds, beating Gary Densham with a 4.998 and Jim Epler with a 4.937.
"Racing is really fun right now because we're in the thick of the points hunt and every round is so important," said Capps. "We haven't won yet and we're due to win one."
As far as Capps, McCulloch and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Funny Car team are concerned, this weekend would be the best time.