IT'S A TOUGH SCENARIO, SAYS CAPPS OF THE COUNTDOWN COMING INTO DALLAS CARLSBAD, Calif. (Sept. 19, 2007) - Ron Capps is hanging on by a thread in the Countdown to Four Funny Car point standings in this year's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series new...
IT'S A TOUGH SCENARIO, SAYS CAPPS OF THE COUNTDOWN COMING INTO DALLAS
CARLSBAD, Calif. (Sept. 19, 2007) - Ron Capps is hanging on by a thread in the Countdown to Four Funny Car point standings in this year's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series new playoffs system. He's two points ahead of his teammate Gary Scelzi in fourth, and just nine markers ahead of No. 5 Tony Pedregon. It's a precarious position, and this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex is a crucial point of the season, as only two races remain to determine the final four before that quartet vies for the championship in the last two races of the year.
"It's been the same way the last couple of years, as to how important Dallas has been in the points chase," said Capps, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship after three bridesmaid seasons in his career. "I know two years ago, and even last year, Dallas became a pivotal part of the season and it is again this year. After Memphis on Sunday, everything got so bunched up in the points.
"There's so many guys in the running to lock up one of the top-four spots right now," added Capps, who has driven the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T to three victories this season and had led the points through 14 of the first 17 events. "Going into Dallas we're very lucky to have all three Don Schumacher Racing cars in the top four at the moment, and that's why Dallas is so crucial.
"You don't want to go to Richmond, Va. (the last race of the Countdown to Four) two weeks after Dallas and have to have a great weekend just to make the top four. You really need to go in there with a little bit of breathing room. That's why I think I can echo the eight Funny Car drivers that Dallas is really important.
"You see John Force back in seventh, and he needs to have a big weekend. And Gary Scelzi, who is only two points behind us, needs to have a great weekend. And we need to have a great weekend.
"It's a tough scenario, because the Countdown has kind of changed everybody's mentality. Yeah, we have three Funny Cars at Don Schumacher Racing, but when we roll into the starting line we're not teammates. You have to go up there and race because it could be the difference between us being in and not being in the Countdown to One.
"Looking at the Dallas weather, it's calling for a pretty warm weekend and possibly cooling off on Sunday. Despite the Dallas heat, the Brut Revolution Dodge has always done well at that race. I've gotten a chance to win there in the past (in 1998, over John Force).
"This year we have the Brut Brigade we're doing on Friday night, and the fans have really shown the support by signing up and basically helping to make is a sell-out.
"It's a big race for us. There is going to be so much pressure there. If a driver is telling you that there isn't that much more pressure and it's a driver who's in the Countdown, he's lying. Because you do not want to go to Richmond and have even more pressure.
"We felt like in Memphis we could have made up more ground," he said of his quarterfinal finish there. "It was a big win for us to beat Tony Pedregon first round and move around him in the points. But, you can't take one second to take a deep breath and reflect on what's happened, because you have to be ready for Dallas."
Capps' other successes at the Texas Motorplex include No. 1 qualifying efforts in 2005 and 1997(2).