Las Vegas II: Ron Capps preview

Ron Capps Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car The Race: Inaugural ACDelco Nationals, Oct. 26-28, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Standing: Fourth with 1304 points after 22 of 24 NHRA ...

Ron Capps
Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car

The Race:
Inaugural ACDelco Nationals, Oct. 26-28, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas

Standing:
Fourth with 1304 points after 22 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

With New Tune-up, Capps Looks For Quicker Times, Race Victory

Just because crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch is already testing different parts while preparing his 2002 tune-up doesn't mean he won't use it in 2001.

And it's quite likely the new items contained in the motor and clutch areas of Capps' Green Skoal Racing Camaro will be in use this weekend at The Strip.  They were partially responsible for Capps taking his quickest and fastest Funny Car ride (4.802 seconds at 317.57 mph, Oct. 20, at the Texas Motorplex).  

"Ace decided it was time to begin testing some new things to get them ready for next year," commented Capps.  "Now he's going to get the car ready for the last two races.  It's exciting knowing we have a car that can run consistently with anybody in the class.

"To run a 4.80-flat after Ace put on some new parts that he wanted to test was very surprising. We only had a few runs on the new set-up that is something we're working on for next year and already I've run my career best time and speed."

McCulloch's goal was to make the car run quicker over the last half of the track.  "He wanted to couple up the car's performance in the last half of the track with the first half," Capps continued. "Our car usually has some of the best numbers to half-track, but now it also shows the car wants to run speed."

From 315 to 317 mph in Four Years

And speed is something Capps hasn't really seen much of since 1997.  He was the first driver in Funny Car to exceed 315 mph (315.45 mph) in Houston in October 1997.  That stood as his personal best until Saturday (Oct. 20)

"That's an interesting statistic," Capps said, "but you have to remember that speed does not win races.  Because Ace has been able to put up good numbers (elapsed times) during the first half of the track, it makes up for any speed anyone else is running.  

"Now that Ace has learned a little more about running speed, he's going to couple that with our half-track numbers and you're going to see our Green Skoal Racing Camaro run real well.  We may even be able to run in the 4.70s (seconds) at Las Vegas.

"It's awesome going back to Vegas because we know we're going to have the new combination Tommy and I ran at the Motorplex in our cars.  It will be interesting, too, because Tommy won there in April and Ace has great data for the track."

Johnson went all the way to his first win with the Skoal Racing team. It was a true team effort because both crews worked on the one car and Johnson won the first two rounds with his Blue Camaro body on the car and the last two with Capps' more aerodynamic Green Camaro body.

More on Speed

"It's nice to run speed but you can ask any other driver in Funny Car whether they'd like to run big speed or get to the finish line first and they'll all say they want to get there first," said Capps.

"My car had at lot more in it at the finish line when I ran the 4.80 at 317.  We were sneaking up on the combination to run that speed. I know as a driver how it felt when the car stopped pulling at about 800 feet and just drove to the finish line and didn't pull hard.  I knew then there was more left."

Looking to Break a Streak

Mechanical problems in recent races have sent Capps home after the first round.  A blower explosion sidelined him at Reading, Pa., and a broken throttle cable stopped him in Texas.  

"We'd qualified so well (at Ennis) I was looking forward to the race," recalled Capps. "And to have the throttle cable break is just bad luck. The crew worked hard going into that race and it was very disappointing to have something like the throttle cable breaking end our weekend."

-DPSR-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps