Las Vegas: Ron Capps preview

Ron Capps Driver of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car THE RACE: Second annual Summitracing.com Nationals, April 6-8 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway THE STRIP AT LVSM HISTORY: Advanced to quarterfinals in...

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

THE RACE:
Second annual Summitracing.com Nationals, April 6-8 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

THE STRIP AT LVSM HISTORY:
Advanced to quarterfinals in inaugural race last year.

STANDING:
Fourth place, 184 points, after three of 24 NHRA Winston Series races.  (Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla. was postponed by rain until April 21.)

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE SUMMITRACING.COM NATIONALS:
"Last year the track was very green and tricky to read from a tuning standpoint, but it should be much better this year," Capps said.  "I think The Strip at LVMS will be one of the better tracks on the circuit . . . and we're going to be coming back here in October.

"There are a lot of really tough cars in Funny Car this year and you can't take anyone for granted anymore.  All you have to do is qualify for one of these races and you have a chance to win.  If you qualify, it means your car ran at least in the 4.90s (seconds).  A few years ago it was a really big advantage to qualify in the top four because you may have a couple early rounds a little easier.  Now, it doesn't matter where you start.

"You have to concentrate on setting goals and you can't miss any of them.  You start with qualifying. 

"It is a race in itself just to get into the show and be able to put your helmet on Sunday morning and not be on the sidelines watching.

"It's not just John Force and his team that you have to watch out for anymore.  It's Del Worsham and Frank Pedregon, Chuck Etchells' two cars, Whit Bazemore . . . just a lot of really tough cars.

"I think having two Skoal Racing Camaros is an advantage. Yes, it's another tough car in the field, but we're getting double the information that Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) can use.  On top of that, now we have one of the best drivers on our team, Tommy Johnson Jr."

ASSESSING HIS THREE-RACE PERFORMANCE:
"We've been disappointed that we haven't won a race or been to a final round yet," Capps commented.  "We expect to win every race. That's the mindset you need going into each race.  To be as disappointed as we are with our results on Sunday, we are still in a great spot because we are only three rounds out of the point lead.

"You also have to stand back and look at all the competition.  I'm glad it's still early in the year.  Our Skoal Racing team can't ask for anything more than being a contender and being in a car that has a chance to win.  Tommy and I both have that.  We have two of the fastest cars on the property.

"One of our goals is to not lose in the first round at all this year and so far we've done that.  We just need to get more consistent as a team."

LOOKNG BACK AT THE O'REILLY NATIONALS:
Capps qualified fourth with a 4.852 at 312.28 mph.  He defeated Jerry Toliver in the opening round with a 4.917.  Capps lost to Gary Densham in the next round when the Skoal Racing green Camaro lost traction halfway down the track.

"The car spun the tires a little bit against Toliver and whenever it does that you lose quite a bit of e.t. because they spun at the start of the run," Capps pointed out.  "I guarantee you the 4.91 was not what Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) was looking for.

"That's funny because a few years ago we would've been happy with a 4.91.  Now the car runs 4.91 and we look at it like the tires had fallen off."

<pre> Ron Capps Facts:

Birthdate: 6/20/65      Hometown: Carlsbad, Calif.    

Career wins: 9 (eight Funny Car, one Top Fuel) Final rounds: 20 (18 Funny Car, 2 Top Fuel) Last win: 10/8/00 at Memphis Last final round: 10/8/00 at Memphis Best Funny Car elapsed time: 4.811 seconds ('00 Dallas) Best Funny Car speed: 315.45 mph ('97 Houston II)

-Joe Sherk

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Chuck Etchells , Gary Densham , Tommy Johnson Jr.