CAPPS EXCITED ABOUT POTENTIAL SHOWN BY COPE RACING CAMARO DALLAS - The idea of competing on the all-concrete racing surface of the Texas Motorplex pleases Ron Capps. He's had success at the track that hosts two...
CAPPS EXCITED ABOUT POTENTIAL SHOWN BY COPE RACING CAMARO
DALLAS - The idea of competing on the all-concrete racing surface of the Texas Motorplex pleases Ron Capps. He's had success at the track that hosts two NHRA events a season, winning there in May 1998 and being the No. 1 qualifier two years ago. But the driver of Don Prudhomme's Copenhagen Racing Camaro Funny Car has another reason to be excited about the O'Reilly's Fall Nationals, Oct. 22-24, at the Motorplex - the presence of his new crew chief, Dale Armstrong. This will be Armstrong's third race with the team and he arrived with a winning Funny Car tradition. Armstrong was crew chief on the first Funny Car to win a NHRA national event at the Motorplex, in 1986. He and the car's driver, Kenny Bernstein, went on to win four straight Funny Car championships. It's no secret Capps and Prudhomme would like to see Armstrong emulate his previous success in the upcoming seasons. "Going to the Motorplex will be awesome, especially the way Dale runs our car," said Capps. "I could tell by the way the car ran in the first round at Memphis (Oct. 10). You can tell it's going to be a heck of a ride when we get to good tracks like the Motorplex. "He's just beginning. Dale's still getting used to the Cope Racing Camaro, so it will take a little time. All we have right now is time. We want Dale to learn as much as he can about the car before we come out next year and do it for real. He learns more and more about how the Funny Car reacts on every run. Every run he gets is a plus." Three races remain - including stops in Houston (Oct. 31) and Pomona, Calif., (Nov. 14) - which mean there are 12 rounds of racing to go. "At the race in Memphis, I could tell how things are going to be next year," an enthusiastic Capps continued. "It should be fun." Even though rain in Memphis washed out two qualifying sessions, Armstrong got Capps into the field with a 5.140-second, 247.52-mph run. In a first-round match against Del Worsham, Capps won with a stellar 4.958 at 295.92 mph. "The car ran really well until past half-track, then began spinning the tires," Capps recalled. "The car was responding to the changes Dale made. We are excited by what the car is beginning to show. You have to remember that Dale is just getting used to the Funny Car. It is going to be a very, very quick car once he gets a handle on it." In the quarterfinal match against Tony Pedregon, Capps had to deal with tire shake and smoke, which enabled Pedregon to get the win. "It left great and I didn't even see Tony," Capps reported. "It was way, way beyond where it usually gets into trouble and shakes. All of a sudden it struck the tires and I felt the rear end come up like it was going to smoke the tires. That's all she wrote. It was more depressing to have him go by and run only a 5.14. They did what they had to do to get down the track. We expected to run a 4.90 to a 4.92." Those are the kind of numbers Capps, Prudhomme and Armstrong would like to see at the Motorplex.
Ron Capps Facts:
Age: 34 Hometown: La Costa, Calif.
Final-round record: 8/13 (7/11 Funny Car, 1/2 Top Fuel); Last win: Topeka, Kan., 10/17/98;
Quickest time: 4.864 seconds; Fastest speed: 315.45 mph
At Texas Motorplex: His best finish was a win in May 1998
1999 Winston Series Standing: 8th, 748 points