CAPPS AIMS TO "ACE" THE U.S. NATIONALS CARLSBAD, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2007) - After leading the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings by as much as 154 markers since the fourth national event of the season, Ron Capps finds...
CAPPS AIMS TO "ACE" THE U.S. NATIONALS
CARLSBAD, Calif. (Aug. 28, 2007) - After leading the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings by as much as 154 markers since the fourth national event of the season, Ron Capps finds himself just a half-round ahead as all but 10 of the points he garnered in the first 17 races are erased and the new Countdown to Four begins this weekend at the U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Having clinched the No. 1 slot in the Countdown to the Championship at the last event in Reading, Pa., Capps is ready to deliver the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T into the winner's circle for his first U.S. Nationals win and his fourth Skoal Showdown triumph this weekend.
And he has an "Ace" up his sleeve. That's crew chief Ed McCulloch, who has won more U.S. Nationals Funny Car titles than any other driver. McCulloch had claimed five Funny Car victories (1971, '72, '80, '88, '90) and one Top Fuel win (1992) at this prestigious event before he retired as a driver at the end of 1993. Both Capps and McCulloch have competed in seven Showdown bonus events. This weekend will mark Capps' eighth appearance in the Showdown.
"I've talked time and time again about the approach that a veteran racer like Ed McCulloch has," said Capps, a three-time winner this season. "Not just counting how many times he's won Indy, but the intensity of how he approaches race days.
"It's such a fun, intense moment to go to battle with him at every drag race. I really can't tell you how much I enjoy racing with him and learning from him. And I try to take that with me when I go to the starting line at big races like this and coming down to the championship. I so badly do not want to let him or the Brut crew members down. He's been through so many high-pressure situations in the past as a driver and now as a crew chief, I want the best for not just the whole team but for Ace."
The pressure is on for the top eight in the Countdown to earn a place in the Countdown to Four in the next four races, and this weekend brings extra anxiety for those also competing in the $100,000 Skoal Showdown bonus event. With five qualifying rounds scheduled, including running the Showdown during those sessions, there will be no time to relax. "The key is to hopefully get our Brut car qualified well before we begin the Showdown," said Capps, who is looking for his first Funny Car championship after three bridesmaid career finishes. "I've been in a position in the past, along with other drivers, going into Sunday with two qualifying runs left, being part of the Showdown and not yet solidly qualified. Having to focus on the final two qualifying passes is difficult, because you're trying to win that $100,000 bonus and yet you need to get qualified, and it's in the heat of the day.
"So, if you're not in the show by the time Sunday rolls around, you could be in a heap of trouble. Talk about pressure.
"It's so important for us to get qualified high either in the Friday night run or the Saturday afternoon and night runs. We don't need that extra pressure of going into the Showdown not being qualified."