Don Schumacher Racing press release
RON CAPPS ROLLS OUT OF 12TH STARTING SPOT FOR NHRA NATIONALS AT zMAX DRAGWAY
CONCORD, N.C., September 17, 2011 – Thanks to a pair of solid runs in today’s final two qualifying sessions, Ron Capps, aboard his NAPA AUTO PARTS “Great Breaks on Great Brakes” Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, will start from the 12th-position for Sunday’s fourth-annual NHRA Nationals here at zMAX Dragway.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver came into today’s two sessions without an official time (due to his two runs on Friday of 7.057 seconds and 7.923 seconds, being outside the top-12) and two more chances to make the field. A 4.152-second lap at 278.12 miles per hour on his opening attempt moved him into the field at 14th with a 4.114 at 312.50 mph on his final run elevating him up to 12th.
“It was difficult for the NAPA team throughout qualifying,” said the native Californian. “We came here very confident after our success at Indy, looking to gather those ‘small’ qualifying points in our quest for the championship, but had gremlins from the outset Friday.
“I’m so proud of Tim (Richards, crew chief) and the entire NAPA team for stepping up and figuring things out to get us those two solid runs today. It just goes to show how difficult these nitro cars are to figure out when gremlins creep in. This is why it is so important to have a crew chief like Tim, with so much experience, who can patiently find the answers.
“We’re not yet where we want to be, and we don’t have lane choice for the first round, but we will be ready to race.”
Capps takes on fifth-qualifier Jeff Arend in the first round of final eliminations which begin at noon EDT. Capps holds a 7-4 record against Arend, including two losses during the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
“Like I said, we came to North Carolina looking to first grab some of the ‘small’ qualifying points, but now it’s time to concentrate on the big points,” he explained, noting the importance of scoring round wins which are each worth 20 points. “We are going to go as many rounds as possible tomorrow to close in on the Funny Car leaders as we work toward the championship.
“That’s why it’s great working with Tim. He focuses the team and me on going one round at a time, which is how we have to proceed for ultimate success.”
This race is the first of six in the Countdown to the Championship pitting the top-10 Funny Car drivers in a playoff for this year’s title. Capps heads into Sunday’s first round sixth in the standings, less than a round behind DSR teammate Matt Hagan who qualified first for the race.