Skoal Racing: Capps tries to continue good performances at Thunder Valley Nationals. BRISTOL, Tenn., April 19, 2002 - Over the past two years, Ron Capps has developed an affinity for Bristol and Atlanta Dragways. And the reasons are ...
Capps tries to continue good performances at Thunder Valley Nationals.
BRISTOL, Tenn., April 19, 2002 - Over the past two years, Ron Capps has developed an affinity for Bristol and Atlanta Dragways. And the reasons are obvious:
2000 - Capps was runner-up to Cory McClenathan in the special Winston Showdown at Bristol Dragway, earning $50,000 for a second-place finish.
Capps was second to John Force at Atlanta Dragway and stayed among the top three drivers in the point standings.
2001 - Capps won the inaugural Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, beating Al Hofmann in the title round and leaping from fifth to third place in points, 90 behind the leader.
A runner-up finish at Atlanta - and a first-round loss by Force - pulled Capps into second place with 502 points, 28 behind pacesetting Force.
Capps will be attempting to extend the Bristol Dragway streak to three (final-round appearances) and two (victories) when the latest edition of the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals unfolds April 26-28.
"It is comforting going back to a track where you've either won a race or reached the finals," Capps said. "Good performances always stick out in your mind."
And a good showing this time around would help Capps and his Green Skoal Racing Funny Car crew stay in stride with the leaders. A first-round setback at Houston (April 14) took its toll, dropping Capps from fourth to sixth. Ironically, Tommy Johnson Jr., Capps' teammate and driver of the Blue Skoal Racing Funny Car, moved from sixth to fourth, thanks to back-to-back second-place finishes at Las Vegas and Houston.
Capps has 285 points in the clogged standings, but he's only 55 points behind runner-up Del Worsham's 340. Force leads with 423.
Now it's time for Capps to answer a few questions.
Q - What is your assessment of the first five NHRA Powerade Series events?
A - Looking at the way we want to perform and how the season has gone so far, we're not happy. In a sense it's been frustrating because the drivers you know are going to be in championship contention at the end of the year have struggled at times.
Del Worsham came out shooting with a win and a runner-up in the first two races, then had a glitch at Gainesville, Fla., when he didn't qualify. We had a chance to make up some ground on Force because he lost in the first round at Gainesville and Las Vegas. The keys to winning it all are being able to take advantage of those kinds of situations and we just haven't been able to do that.
Q - What's it going to take to remain in contention all season?
A - The way the competition is right now, it's going to be a close race all year. I don't see any team running away with it, but a team has to stay in contention and stay within grasp of the leader. If you let that slip away, then you have to change your approach on how you race, and then rely on somebody else having bad luck. Believe me, it's not any fun when you have to rely on somebody having bad luck.
It's the time of year now where the dust is beginning to settle a little bit and you're going to see who's going to stay in contention and who's going to rise to the top. That's where we want to be at all times.
Q - What is it about the tracks at Bristol and Atlanta that you like?
A - I always feel more comfortable when the conditions get a little worse - with the weather a little hotter and the track a little more difficult to get down. I've always felt my crew chief, Ed "Ace" McCulloch, and my Green Skoal Racing crew have excelled at battling the elements and facing adversity when it's hot and humid out. We seem to do well in those kinds of conditions. Bristol and Atlanta have traditionally been hot and humid places to race.
With Bristol and Atlanta being on back-to-back weekends, we've been able to do some fun things between races. After the race at Bristol, we drive to Charlotte to see some of our friends on the Winston Cup side, getting garage tours and visiting. We always seem to be running around in airports and it's nice to be able to relax and drive for a change.