Norwalk: Ron Capps preview

WITH NEW CHASSIS, CAPPS LOOKS TO RETURN TO WINNING IN NORWALK CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 23, 2009) - Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the entire NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car team took advantage of a three-event back-to-back swing and...

WITH NEW CHASSIS, CAPPS LOOKS TO RETURN TO WINNING IN NORWALK

CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 23, 2009) - Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the entire NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car team took advantage of a three-event back-to-back swing and holding the points lead in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series to do some at-event testing. And now, following 10 days of revamping and regrouping before this weekend's NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, the team returns with a new chassis and a renewed determination to return to the winner's circle.

Capps, four-time titlist this season and points leader since the first event, slipped to third in the standings following his first-round exit in the last race in Englishtown, N.J., and is just 26 markers behind leader Tony Pedregon, and six points back of second-place Ashley Force Hood.

"Of course, it's been nice to have led the points," said Capps, who is still seeking his first Funny Car championship. "We've kind of been floating out there in first, and here and there it got a little bit close. But then, on a couple of occasions, at the next race we were able to extend the lead.

"It allowed us to do some testing and try some things. To be honest with you, now that we're in third, it kind of lights a little bit of a fire under us because we now have a reason to get back to our race mode and try to get the points lead back."

As for the new chassis, "The way these Funny Car chassis are built you get to a certain number of runs and they need to be replaced," Capps explained. "And we were at that point prior to the Topeka race, where we had three races in a row coming up, and Ace is always looking down the road trying to figure out a plan. At first, we were going to change it before we went to Topeka but we decided to run it and we ended up winning the race.

"The NAPA Dodge has been reacting a little bit differently as well, and we were past that number of runs and we thought it was time to go to a new chassis. We've run this car since the beginning of the year, so we decided with the break after Englishtown and before Norwalk to give the guys a chance to bring down the brand-new spare from the trailer.

"Right now the NAPA guys are putting that car together to make it exactly like the other car. And they'll take the other chassis and front-half it and have it completely race-ready. All we'll have to do is put head gaskets on it and put it on the track when and if we need to. And that's going to be exciting.

"Norwalk is quickly becoming one of our favorite tacks," added Capps, whose NAPA crew is made up of five graduates of the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima. "We're often asked why we like certain race tracks, and I always say that Norwalk is a great place to take the family. It has a fun atmosphere.

"The Baders do all they can to make the fans more comfortable, from the 'dollar a pound' ice cream to the facility itself, the nice rest rooms, the cool pit area. It just makes you want to come back there. And when conditions warrant, it's a very good track, and even if it's hot there it holds up very well.

"We would sure like to get a win there. We ran well there in qualifying last year (No. 2), felt we had a car that could win, but ended up losing in the semifinals. I'm pumped up about going back."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , Ashley Force