Gateway: Ron Capps preview

Capps won his first Funny Car race at the track's inaugural event in 1997. He reached the semifinals the following season. STANDING: Third with 676 points after 11 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events. LOOKING AHEAD TO CRAFTSMAN ...

Capps won his first Funny Car race at the track's inaugural event in 1997. He reached the semifinals the following season.

STANDING:

Third with 676 points after 11 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD TO CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS:

Capps might want to call this the "Summer of Slippery Tracks Tour" this will be the team's second stop in as many weeks at a track that is expected to have a hot, slippery racing surface.

He's hoping to improve upon his No. 16 qualifying, first round losing near Columbus, Ohio, last weekend in the tour's first taste of hot, humid weather and a slick track.

"The track at St. Louis is another one that will be slippery," Capps "Last year the race was run at night and the conditions were a little cooler, so we won't be able to use the same data that we had.  Now we're back to running during the day and we know it will be hot.  

"It's not only critical, but essential, that we have a good tune-up for those kinds of tracks," he continued. "We could sit here and complain about the tracks day in and day out if we wanted to, but everybody has to race on them.  What you need to do is go out there and prove you can go down the tracks like everyone else.  That's what this is about."

"Each weekend the track gives us a different character.  Tracks are different.  Maybe some, like Gateway, are slipperier than others because of the hot summers.  You can stand back and blame the tracks for anything, but we know full well we're going into the summer months and we know what it takes to try and get down these tracks.

"The big obstacles going into St. Louis are the heat and humidity, then trying to get our racecars down the track under power.  That's going to be critical.

"The day we won the inaugural race at Gateway it was very, very hot."

Capps and the Skoal Racing Green Camaro crew know about winning in hot weather.  It was hot (but not humid) in Bristol, Tenn., when Capps won there in April.  

Capps was runner-up at Atlanta in his other 2001 final round appearance.

A LOOK BACK AT THE PONTIAC NATIONALS:

This marked just the third time in Capps' career that he qualified 16th, although he was just happy to be in the starting field.

"We didn't get down the track on our first qualifying run (Friday) so that put us at the front of the pack on Friday night," Capps said.  "There was a cooler weather front moving in and the temperature dropped dramatically about 15 minutes before we were ready to start the car and we weren't ready for it."  His 5.111-second run wasn't good enough but his 5.078 time Saturday afternoon held up for the final starting spot.

"The good thing was we didn't get bumped," Capps added, "and the bad thing was we lost to (Dean) Skuza in the first round."

-RCR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps