CAPPS GRABS NO. 6 IN U.S. NATIONALS QUALIFYING CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2006) - Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team arrived at the U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at ...
CAPPS GRABS NO. 6 IN U.S. NATIONALS QUALIFYING
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2006) - Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team arrived at the U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis with an aggressive attitude. It worked for the most part, as Capps posted three solid passes in five qualifying rounds to earn the No. 6 spot for Monday's eliminations.
Just 17 points separated second-place Capps from leader John Force in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship chase entering the event. With Force qualifying No. 1, Capps is now 21 points behind, and ready to race on Monday in an attempt to regain the lead he had held from the second through 16th season race. He will face Gary Densham in the opening round.
Capps' quickest pass of 4.730 seconds at 324.67 mph came in the first qualifying round Friday night (good for No. 3 at the time). On Saturday, Capps posted a session-quickest 4.777-second lap at 320.58 mph, which was followed by a tire-smoking 8.897/91.87 in his third run. The fourth round on Sunday produced a 4.793/320.05, while the parachute opened early on his final try, resulting in a 5.331/173.16.
"The parachute came out. It was on a great run," he said. "The numbers were leading to another mid- to low 4.70 and for some reason the cable pulled through the 'chute pack, so we have to figure out why that happened."
Not only is Capps deep in the chase for his first Funny Car crown with six races remaining, he'd also like to win his first U.S. Nationals. "The U.S. Nationals is all about pacing yourself," he said, "because it will wear you out if you don't do it right. I think we're doing a good job of that. We had five rounds, we've run good when we needed to, we ran great in the heat in the middle of the day, and we ran great Friday night to run the 4.73 that got us into No. 6.
"The first goal is always to qualify. We've done that. The second goal is to have lane choice first round Monday morning here in Indy. And we've done that. We're just shooting for that third goal, and that's to go rounds."
It was very apparent that the team was in aggressive mode. "We tested here last week," Capps explained. "Raybestos put that test session on that everybody came to and there were more cars than at a national event on Tuesday and Wednesday night. They closed the staging lanes at 8 o'clock and there had to be 25 Funny Cars, 25 dragsters in the lanes to test in the night conditions, knowing that we would see those conditions two times this weekend. We learned something in that test session that helped us run that 4.73 Friday night.
"Knowing that we were 17 points behind Force, and now it's 21 points, makes it a little tougher. It's just a little over a round. But we still have the same goal and that is to go more rounds than John every race. Those are the small battles each race and the object is to win the war at the end. We just have to focus on each race. And right now Monday is our focus."
In the Skoal Showdown, Capps lost first round to Eric Medlen in a very close race. Capps launched a tad quicker than Medlen, with a .064 reaction time to Medlen's .067, but a mere 10 feet separated the pair at the finish, as Medlen took the win with a 4.770/323.35 to Capps' losing 4.793/320.05.
"Obviously, you hate to lose," said Capps, who receives additional support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels, "but we didn't beat ourselves again. I know it sounds like I say that a lot, but the important thing is that the car went down the track.
"We just got outrun. We really didn't expect them to run that well in those (warm) conditions. All you can do is take your hat off to Medlen and those guys and now we can focus on the race."