Indianapolis: Capps preview

Skoal Racing Report . . . Ron Capp Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing QGreen Camaro Funny Car              The Race: 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Aug . 31-Sept. 3, Clermont, Ind ...

Skoal Racing Report . . .
Ron Capp
Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing QGreen Camaro Funny Car             

The Race:
47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Aug . 31-Sept. 3, Clermont, Ind .

STANDING:
Fourth with 1053 points after 17 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

Capps, Following Win At Brainerd, Minn., Excited About His Chances At U.S. Nationals

Yes, Capps' triumph over Whit Bazemore at Brainerd (Aug. 19) was important for the Skoal Racing Green Camaro team, but winning at Raceway Park is the primary focus now.

Capps has two opportunities to visit the IRP winner's circle.  The first is Sunday's Bud Shootout that pays $100,000 to the winner. The second, of course, is Monday's prestigious event.  Capps has two Shootout victories (1998-99) but no U.S. Nationals titles.

"Really, the win was great," he said, "and it gave everybody on our team a lot of confidence. But we forgot about that weekend Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 21-22) when we tested at Indy.  We were concentrating on what was coming up. 

"You could see that look in Ace's (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) eyes with the U.S. Nationals coming up.  We began focusing on the next task at hand, which is really qualifying for the race and going into the Bud Shootout."

Using Capps' test times as a barometer, the Green crew looks like it's ready to challenge for the win. Capps had best runs of 4.848 and 4.862 seconds.  The 4.84 was an eye-opener because it came during a hot, humid afternoon on the newly resurfaced IRP track.

"We were very happy to run the 4.84 during the heat of the day," Capps added. "First, because I shut off a little early - about 100 feet before the finish line - and, secondly, because it was the hottest part of the day.  To get down the track like that made us feel confident.  With some of the other things we tried, I think we're going to be pretty successful in the race."

A Concentrated Effort During Testing

"It was a pretty extensive test session.  You could really tell the teams that were monitoring the time of day before going to the starting line.  They were trying to emulate runs at the different times of the day when we're going to be racing.  Everybody's pretty geared up for this race. The teams that were testing were putting a lot of thought into it."

Kudos To New IRP Track

Capps was very impressed with the track's new racing surface.  "It was just unbelievable. It makes a huge difference (in the car's performance)," he said.  "We ran in both lanes and you couldn't even tell the difference between them.  There's nothing to worry about, even in the hottest part of the day. That should make things pretty exciting."

"With the track as good as it is, it answered a lot of questions about what to do when you go up to run.  I didn't see much weakness in the track.

"And that's the way it should be. This is the U.S. Nationals.  It's Indy. It's the biggest race we have. It needs to be a place where spectators shake their heads when they leave at night and say they just saw one of the best shows in drag racing.

"It's like the Indy 500. You leave that race in awe and I think a lot of the spectators at IRP this year are going to feel that way."

Big Money In Bud Shootout

Capps and the seven other drivers - John Force, Tony Pedregon, Bruce Sarver, Bazemore, Frank Pedregon, Dean Skuza and Del Worsham - earned qualifying points to get to this plateau.  It is NHRA's race within a race and takes place Sunday during the final day of U.S. Nationals qualifying.

Capps, the No. 4 finisher, meets Bazemore in the first round. Other pairings are Force vs. Worsham, Tony Pedregon vs. Skuza and Sarver vs. Frank Pedregon.

"This is a big deal because you wait all year for it," said Capps, who was the second driver to win back-to-back titles in the event's 19 years.  "Obviously it's eight of the top cars in Funny Car. It was a big accomplishment to win it twice."

But Capps doesn't want to stop there.

Looking Back At The Brainerd Win

Capps' second win of the season in his fourth final round also was his second career victory at Brainderd

"We gained a bit of ground in the standings but we have more to gain," he noted.  "There are a lot of us fighting for second place right now and we're just concentrating on doing the best we can at every race.

"There were two huge round wins for us at Brainerd - beating Tony Pedregon (in the quarterfinals) and Bruce Sarver (in the semifinals).  We've been moving back and forth in points and we were able to move around both of them in one day."

Capps avenged a final-round loss to Bazemore at Seattle, running 4.949 at 306.53 to a 5.991 at 201.70.

There are five drivers locked in the battle for second - Bazemore, second at 1125 points; Worsham, third, 1081; Capps, fourth, 1053; Sarver, fifth, 1020; and Tony Pedregon, sixth, 1002.

-DPSR-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force