Brainerd: Capps likes the track

Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme'S Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car                The Race: 20th annual Colonel's Nationals, Aug. 17-19, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minn. STANDING: Sixth with 940 points after...

Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme'S Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car               

The Race:

20th annual Colonel's Nationals, Aug. 17-19, Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minn.

STANDING:

Sixth with 940 points after 16 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

"When you start approaching the Brainerd race, there's kind of a red light that flashes and says the season is almost three-quarters over," said Capps.  "That makes you start focusing on where you are in points and where you want to be.  

"Besides that, this is the last race to cement your position in the Bud Shootout.  That's why I think it's like a wake-up call for the teams when they get to Brainerd."

Capps' personal success at BIR has been very good.  He was runner-up in his first Funny Car visit in 1997, won the event in 1998 and advanced to the semifinals the following year.

He set the Brainerd elapsed time record last year at 4.862 seconds in taking the pole position and bowed out in the quarterfinals.

"I've really done well there," he said.  "This is another one of those tracks that feels like a home track to me.  To be able to win at a track is enough, but when you always do well at that track, whether you go a few rounds or to the final round, makes it a place you really look forward to going back to.

"They've made a lot of improvements to the track and the fans there are unbelievable.  Snake and I jumped in our golf cart and went into the camping area to mingle with the fans last year.  That's what it's all about."

Capps hopes to use a good outing at Brainerd to  move up in the standings.  He trails runner-up Del Worsham by 90 points, third-place Whit Bazemore by 87, fourth-place Bruce Sarver by eight and Tony Pedregon by four as five drivers battle for the No. 2 slot.  John Force leads with 1376.

BETTER BUD SHOOTOUT STARTING SPOT SOUGHT

While Capps' first goal is to win the national event, he also wants to qualify well enough to move up one place in the Shootout standings.  He's fourth with 2980 points, 35 behind Tony Pedregon.

"We'd like to finish third in the standings," Capps commented.  "To do that we'll have to qualify several places ahead of Pedregon."

Capps, for instance, could do so by taking the race's No. 1 starting berth and having Pedregon qualify sixth or lower.

Eight drivers earning the most qualifying points over the last 23 races comprise the Shootout field, and they will be vying for a $100,000 first place check.  

Capps became just the second driver in 18 years to win back-to-back Shootouts in 1998-99.  Al Hofmann was the first.

The event is run in conjunction with U.S. Nationals qualifying, Sept. 2 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.  

A LOOK BACK AT FRAM AUTOLITE NATIONALS:

Worsham upset Capps in the first round at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. (Aug. 5) in what Capps called a "good, old fashioned drag race."

Capps entered eliminations fifth (5.005 seconds). The Skoal Racing Green Camaro slowed to 5.055 on a slippery racetrack while Worsham improved to a 5.044.  Worsham went on to win the race.

That was the 14th time Capps and Worsham raced, and the first time Worsham won in a series dating back to 1997, Capps' first in Funny Car.

"Losing to Del was bound to happen," Capps said later.  "I felt great because I'd just watched Tony Pedregon run a 4.99 in the other lane and thought it would be a good drag racing day for us." -30-

-Skoal Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force