CAPPS LOOKS TO PARLAY THREE ATLANTA RUNNER-UP FINISHES INTO A WIN COMMERCE, Ga. (May 10, 2005) - Ron Capps' Atlanta Dragway racing record includes three runner-up finishes: in 1995 (Top Fuel), 2000 and 2001 (Funny Car). He'd like to parlay those...
CAPPS LOOKS TO PARLAY THREE ATLANTA RUNNER-UP FINISHES INTO A WIN
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 10, 2005) - Ron Capps' Atlanta Dragway racing record includes three runner-up finishes: in 1995 (Top Fuel), 2000 and 2001 (Funny Car). He'd like to parlay those results into his first victory here in this weekend's NHRA Southern Nationals, the seventh round of the 23-event 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
The Southern Nationals event is also the start of a six-race countrywide sweep in seven weeks for the driver of the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car and his competitors. The NHRA teams will travel to Columbus, Ohio, Topeka, Kans., Chicago, Englishtown, N.J., and St. Louis, Mo., with one weekend off in between before they're rewarded with two off weekends.
"For whatever reason a win has always eluded us here," said Capps. "Two of those runner-up finishes were with Ace (Ed McCulloch, Capps' crew chief this year) as my crew chief, so I'm excited about returning here again with Ace. Of note is the fact that, as a former Funny Car driver, McCulloch is second only to John Force in the number of wins at the Southern Nationals. He's won three times - in 1986, 1988 and 1990.
"It's a track where we've seen everything from national records being set to it's being so hot and so humid that nobody could get down the track without having to pedal the car," Capps remarked. "The weather right now looks like it's going to be pretty warm. However, I think with the current NHRA rules in place (tires, rev limiter and 85 percent nitromethane), it's going to make for really good racing.
"We're really impressed by the lack of oildowns recently - not to jinx anybody - but the shows have really gone well the last two races. So going to Atlanta where it could be really tricky and really humid, it will be hard on the crew chiefs and the crews as far as setting the car up and very difficult for a driver to be in the mindset to be ready for anything.
"Friday night is going to be a very, very important qualifying run. Our plan, as always, after Ace, (co-crew chief Dan) Olson and I talked, is to make a great run on Friday afternoon, which will put us near the back of the pack on Friday night so we could go after a good qualifying spot. We don't need to have another nail-biter like in Bristol last week," he said, referring to making the field on points after not qualifying in the one round held because of rain. "Getting into the Skoal Showdown this year is also one of our goals."
Only the top eight in Skoal Showdown points, which are based on qualifying results, are eligible for the special money event, and Capps is 10th at this stage of the season.
"This weekend is going to be the beginning of our sixth race in seven weeks," he added. "In the blink of an eye we'll be in St. Louis and we'll be about to have six races under our belt. This could make or break a team as far as a points run. You could be in St. Louis on Sunday night saying, Well, we sure had a great six weeks, moved way up in the points, or vice versa. You really have to have everything lined up, just have to have your act together for these next six races."