FUNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS GEARED UP FOR ALL WEATHER CONDITIONS IN COLUMBUS HEBRON, Ohio (May 12, 2006) - Championships are won in the summer months, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps has said. Well, it's not...
FUNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS GEARED UP FOR ALL WEATHER CONDITIONS IN COLUMBUS
HEBRON, Ohio (May 12, 2006) - Championships are won in the summer months, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps has said. Well, it's not quite summer yet as the series heads to National Trail Raceway outside of Columbus, Ohio, May 19-21. That might account for the varied conditions he and crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch have dealt with so far at the events they thought would be held under hot and humid conditions this season. The unexpected is expected at National Trail Raceway as well.
"We figured that Atlanta Dragway (May 5-7) was going to have conditions that were going to be kind of a start of the hot weather, with a lot of humidity," says Capps, who lost in the first round in Atlanta but still holds a 96-point lead in the championship, "and we had a cool front that came in and sure changed everything for all the crew chiefs.
"I can bet you that in Columbus, like last year, we won't know what's going to happen, because last year Tony Schumacher set the speed record (336.15 mph) there on a weekend that started out with conditions that were hot and humid, then changed.
"This is why I envy the crew chiefs so much," adds Capps, the 2002 Funny Car winner here who will debut a new Brut Dodge Charger body in Columbus. "They're able to make changes so quickly when one day it's very hot and humid for qualifying - or even on race day - and the next thing you know it's 60 degrees and cloudy.
"As a driver you're in the car getting mentally ready to do whatever you can to get the car down the track, whether it be pedaling the car or driving it through tire smoke and, in the next instance, you're having the crew chief tell you to hang on because you could be running a low 4.70 (-second elapsed time) at over 325 mph.
"It's just all part of the game. I really love that about our sport - that the conditions could change so much, so quickly. It keeps you on your toes.
"Columbus is where we got a win in the past, and it's one of those races that ranks up there with some of the biggest races on the tour. It's one of the older races that we have and you always want to win at a race that has a lot of history. As a kid growing up you always read about these races and there's an aura that seems to surround them.
"I remember going to National Trail Raceway as a kid working on an Alcohol Dragster when they used to run the All-Star races. It was such big event. It's also close enough to Indiana where most of our Don Schumacher Racing team members live. It's kind of a home track. A lot of family members come here and enjoy what their husbands and wives do at the races. It's always nice to have family and friends come to your events."
Capps would like to put the incident that occurred in Atlanta on May 6 between him and his teammate Whit Bazemore, and for which Capps was fined by the NHRA, behind him as soon as possible, so that they both can get back to racing. "What happened in Atlanta is something I never thought I would have to explain or go through in my career," Capps says. "It's not something I ever saw myself doing and the repercussions are what they are from NHRA. It was a mistake I made and I apologized to Whit and his family. Right now, the fine I had to pay pales in comparison to trying to fix a relationship between Whit and me. Right now, my relationship with Whit is far more important than having to pay a fine.
"I have to figure out where all the animosity came from between both of us and make sure it never happens again. It's something I wish I could take back. More than anything else I'm looking forward to going to Columbus to race. I'm looking forward to trying to break bread with Whit, sit down and just make things the best that I can make them. Obviously, I can't take it back. I can only only put it behind me and try to make our relationship better in the future."