CAPPS THE HUNTER IN CHICAGO JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 27, 2005) - Ron Capps considers himself the hunter now instead of the hunted as he and the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car team head to Route 66 Raceway for this weekend's Ameriquest Mortgage ...
CAPPS THE HUNTER IN CHICAGO
JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 27, 2005) - Ron Capps considers himself the hunter now instead of the hunted as he and the Brut Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car team head to Route 66 Raceway for this weekend's Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals.
The California native feels he's in a better position to hunt down the competitors in front of him in probably the tightest battle for a Funny Car championship the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has ever seen. He's fallen from second to fifth in the point standings after two first-round losses in a row, but is still very much in the chase for his first Funny Car crown.
Capps is just 82 points out of the lead with four races remaining and five drivers are in combat for the championship: Capps' teammate Gary Scelzi, Robert Hight, John Force, Eric Medlen and Capps.
Every single point each of these drivers earns from this weekend's event to the end of the season is crucial, and Route 66 Raceway has the potential to reward one of these drivers with a bonus 20 points for a national elapsed-time record.
Since 1998, when Route 66 Raceway first hosted an NHRA POWERade event, records have been smashed here left and right. John Force currently holds the Funny Car ET national record, set here at this event in 2004, of 4.665 seconds.
"I feel pretty good," said Capps, "especially as of the last few races and what Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) has learned about the Brut Dodge and being able to run in these good conditions coming up. Obviously, earning an extra 20 points is going to be extremely valuable."
The mandated rev limiter for Funny Cars and Top Fuel dragsters, however, could be the spoiler. "It's hard to say with the rev limiter right now whether anybody is going to be able to run better than the 4.66, which is the record now," said Capps.
"In Reading (last race in Pennsylvania), I and a couple of other drivers had felt the rev limiter hit on a few of the runs and those runs were low 4.80s," he continued. "It was hitting the rev limiter before the finish line. So, it's really hard to tell, once we get into these cooler conditions and the rpms start climbing again after the clutch locks up, whether the record could be broken. When you're on a good track like Chicago it could be hitting the rev limiter by 900 or 1000 feet, and if that happens it's going to be hard to set the record.
"But you never know until you get there. We saw Alan Johnson (Tony Schumacher's crew chief) set a Top Fuel track record at the U.S. Nationals with the rev limiter, so you just never know. But I do feel much better about going to Chicago in cool conditions with the car that I'm driving now. It was a brand-new car in Reading that we brought out that we had fixed and it's back driving like it should and reacting like it should.
"We've turned into the hunter instead of the hunted now. It's been exciting for everybody on the Brut Dodge team to be in the hunt this year, but now we're back a little bit. I think it's going to pose a little more excitement for us to get up to where we need to be. There are 16 rounds left, and we need to make up three or four rounds on the people in front of us. I feel pretty good about it."