The thought of being in the Chicago area in late September brings a smile to Ron Capps' lips - especially if the weather forecast for this weekend calls for usually cool fall temperatures. Capps will be among the Funny Car drivers hoping to ...
The thought of being in the Chicago area in late September brings a smile to Ron Capps' lips - especially if the weather forecast for this weekend calls for usually cool fall temperatures.
Capps will be among the Funny Car drivers hoping to improve their career-best elapsed times should those conditions prevail at Route 66 Raceway. In NHRA's first visit to the track in June, it was cold and Capps was one of many who left with a personal best. His is 4.808 seconds.
He didn't come away with a race victory, though, so that is high on his list of things to do Friday through Sunday in Joliet. "We qualified fourth and unfortunately we lost in the first round when we had a clutch problem," Capps recalled.
"I'm excited to be going back because we did run so well there. Since then I've really been looking forward to returning in September. We know it's going to be cool. Route 66 is one of the best tracks on the circuit and the fans should see good times, maybe even record times."
Capps reached the semifinals of the June race in 2000, his best showing at the track.
This is the second of three races in three weeks and is followed by the Pep Boys Nationals at Reading, Pa., Oct. 5-7, an event that was postponed by the terrorist attacks.
Cool weather is likely for both races as Capps continues his bid to finish second for the second consecutive year and the third time in his five seasons in Funny Car. His semifinal finish at Memphis on Sunday left him fourth, 95 points behind current runner-up Whit Bazemore and one behind third-place Del Worsham. Five races and 20 rounds of competition remain.
Time for Teammates to Meet?
What are the odds that Capps and teammate Tommy Johnson could go 19 races into the season without racing each other during eliminations? They are 0-for-19 so far.
"I guess we need some more luck so that we could race each other in the finals," Capps said. "A lot of the two-car teams have raced each other in the first or second rounds this year.
It's weird to be at the end of September and we still haven't raced each other.
"Our primary goal each weekend is to qualify on opposite sides of the ladder . . . so we can meet in the finals."
Perhaps one of the more surprising statistics is Capps and Johnson have been on the same side of the ladder just three times in 19 races (Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn., and U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis).
The Skoal Racing crews could've met in the semifinals at Bristol. Capps, the No. 6 qualifier, won the event. Johnson qualified 15th and didn't advance to the quarterfinals. Johnson was fourth, Capps fifth at Indy, and that had them on course for a quarterfinal pairing, but Johnson was upset in the opening round.
Capps added a win at Brainerd, Minn., and was runner-up at Atlanta and Seattle while Johnson was victorious at Las Vegas in April and second at St. Louis.
There are four more chances after this race - at Reading, Pa., next weekend, Dallas (Oct. 21), Las Vegas (Oct. 28) and Pomona (Nov. 11).
Only two Funny Car teammates have met in the finals this year and Tony Pedregon defeated John Force twice.