Don Schumacher Racing press release
RON CAPPS SETS SPEED MARK IN QUALIFYING THIRD FOR 57TH-ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS, September 4, 2011 – Ron Capps, aboard his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, set the speed record for Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis today on the way to grabbing the third-starting spot for Monday’s 57th-annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.
Capps blasted down the 1,000-foot drag strip in 4.069 seconds at 314.31 miles per hour in the fifth – and final – qualifying round for the premier event on the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit.
“The NAPA Dodge launched like a rocket - it felt like it knocked me into the trunk,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “It just kept powering down the track and was still pulling strong when I pulled the chutes. I haven’t felt a car perform like this in a long time.”
Capps squares off against 14th-qualifier Jim Head in tomorrow’s first round of final eliminations, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. EDT.
“We’re excited about eliminations,” he said. “What excites me about tomorrow, is that the weather is supposed to be even better than today, bordering on too good. If so, it could lead to some national records and some amazing runs.
“We were solidly in the field, so Tim (Richards, crew chief) was able to try some things he’d been thinking about (on the last run today), some things a bit out of his comfort zone. We didn’t know if it would stick, but, obviously, it did.”
Beyond winning the coveted U.S. Nationals title, tomorrow’s contest will also end the NHRA’s 16-race “regular” season. The top 10 drivers will then have their points reset for the six-race Countdown to 1 championship playoff.
“I’m not ‘worried’ about points or standings,” explained Capps, who starts Monday’s action in sixth place, less than a race-round win behind his DSR teammate Matt Hagan. “I just want to drive well enough to make Tim proud and to go rounds. If I do that, the points and the race will fall into place.”
Cruz Pedregon will begin the Labor Day event from the number-one spot after the five-round, three-day-qualifying session where temperatures ranged from near 100-degree heat the first two days to today’s cool, cloud-covered conditions.
“Regardless of how well we and many of the other teams may have done today, tomorrow is race day, and race day is a completely different deal,” Capps said.