Englishtown: Ron Capps eyes Funny Car lead

DRIVER OF DON "THE SNAKE" PRUDHOMME'S SKOAL RACING GREEN CAMARO FUNNY CAR                The Race: 32nd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals, Englishtown, N.J., May 18-20. RACEWAY PARK HISTORY: Capps has reached the semifinals twice...

DRIVER OF DON "THE SNAKE" PRUDHOMME'S SKOAL RACING GREEN CAMARO FUNNY CAR               

The Race:

32nd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals, Englishtown, N.J., May 18-20.

RACEWAY PARK HISTORY:

Capps has reached the semifinals twice (2000, 1997). Each time, the driver who beat him won the race.

STANDING:

Second with 502 points, after seven of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD ATO THE SUPERNATIONALS:

A win at Bristol, Tenn. (April 29) and a runner-up finish at Atlanta (May 6) lifted Capps within 28 points of Funny Car point leader John Force (530-502).

This is the first of three races in a row and is followed by stops at Topeka, Kan., May 25-27, and Joliet, Ill., June 1-3.

"The tracks we've been on lately have been pretty tricky," Capps commented, "but Englishtown is a place where you definitely can go for low e.t.  I know we showed what we could do last year when we ran 4.81 (seconds) at Dallas (May 28) on that Sunday morning.  

"That was a good indication of what Ed (crew chief Ed "The Ace' McCulloch) can do with the car's tune-up.  He isn't shy about making horsepower, and Englishtown has the track where he can use the horsepower.

"We're looking forward to this race.  You'll see a lot of good runs.

"With the way the Funny Cars are running this year, I expect it to be the quickest field in history."

That record has already fallen this season, the last time at Atlanta, where the No. 16 qualifier's time was 4.957 seconds.

ON BEING A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER:

"It's easy to say it's early in the year and we want to stay in the points hunt," said Capps, "but after this race we'll be a third of the way into the season.  It's huge that we can say we're in second place right now.  Every race is important.

"I know that Ace is going to make sure we run consistently, and that's what it's going to take to win the championship.  It's nice to go to the starting line and know I don't have to worry about the car continually going down the tracks

"The only way to get points is by going rounds (of eliminations), and that's what our Skoal Racing Green Camaro has been doing.  The hard work Ace did in the off season is beginning to pay off.  

"This class is so awesome right now.  John Force isn't the only concern to anybody.  Every team has stepped up its program.  It's a major complement just to have your car qualified.

"You used to worry about where you qualified and then concentrated on Sunday's eliminations. Now you worry about making the show. Even being in the top 10 is something to brag about.

"Back in '98 (when Capps was runner-up to Force), we battled Force pretty strong and it seemed like there weren't a lot of teams that stepped up consistently. Now, heck, there are 10 cars that can run with him and the other teams."

A LOOK BACK AT THE SOUTHERN NATIONALS:

After slow start, Capps was the model of consistency for six of his last seven runs at Atlanta Dragway.  His best qualifying times were 4.879, 4.870 and 4.904 seconds and he came back with runs of 4.863 (beating Bob Gilbertson), 4.886 (beating Jim Epler) and 4.916 (beating Bruce Sarver).  

In the final against Frank Pedregon, the Skoal Racing Green Camaro spun the tires about mid-track and Capps shut it off to a 5.566 at 180.07 mph. Pedregon won with a 4.902 at 305.98.

"Looking at the bright side, we moved up in the Winston Series points chase and we go into Englishtown on the upswing."

# # #

Ron Capps Facts:

Birthdate: 6/20/65=A0 =A0 =A0 =A0=20
Hometown: Carlsbad, Calif.

Career wins: 10 (nine Funny Car, one Top Fuel)
Final rounds: 21 (19 Funny Car, 2 Top Fuel)
Last win: 4/29/01 at Bristol, Tenn.
Last final round: 5/6/01 at Commerce, Ga.
Best Funny Car elapsed time: 4.811 seconds ('00 Dallas)
Best Funny Car speed: 315.45 mph ('97 Houston II)

-Skoal Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Ron Capps , John Force