FUNNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS GEARED UP FOR NORWALK CHALLENGE CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 27, 2007) - Ron Capps, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader since the fourth event of 10 so far, is eager to get to this weekend's ...
FUNNNY CAR POINTS LEADER CAPPS GEARED UP FOR NORWALK CHALLENGE
CARLSBAD, Calif. (June 27, 2007) - Ron Capps, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader since the fourth event of 10 so far, is eager to get to this weekend's Inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. He's vying for his first Funny Car championship and he'll be checking off each of the next seven national events before the Countdown to the Championship begins at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day.
Winner of three events this season, the most in the Funny Car class, the pilot of the Brut "Test Drive" Dodge Charger R/T holds a strong 123-point lead over Robert Hight. He and crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch know that edge won't mean much when the Countdown begins, as the standings will revert to 10-point increments among the top eight.
But that margin will help Capps and McCulloch overcome those butterflies that come with having to learn a new race track.
"I personally have never been to Norwalk," said Capps. "I've read and heard about all the Fourth of July races they had every year. I know John Force has raced at Norwalk for a lot of years, and I've always heard great things about it.
"I've seen pictures of it and it's always been a place I wanted to go to. When NHRA made the decision to race there this year, Man, it got everybody pretty excited.
"It's great for the Brut Dodge crew guys, because the race is close to the Don Schumacher Racing shop in Brownsburg, Ind., and they can get their families out and that always makes for a more relaxed weekend. Also, any time we know we're going to a track that's well prepared, it takes a little bit of the pressure off the crew chiefs.
"Norwalk has had pretty good cars running pretty good numbers there in the past, so the word spread very quickly as to how good the place really is.
"I know that the conditions are expected to be very warm. That is going to put the pressure on the track surface as far as trying to hold up under the warm weather. But, it's the same for everybody. The crew chiefs right now are just fighting to get used to the tracks the last few races and find a happy medium where we can go down the track when it's 120-plus degrees on the surface."
There's a fierce battle among a group of drivers who are trying to get into the top eight for the Countdown. Fourteen-time champion John Force, in 14th, is one of them. He is 107 points short of eighth place and has a tough road ahead of him.
"I don't count him out," said Capps. "Right now, our being the points leader going into each race seems to be at the bottom of the page (or not at all) in NHRA's pre-race press releases, and I'm not saying that as a dig. I'm just saying that there's a lot of good stories right now. The fact that John Force isn't in the Countdown is one of them, and it's going to be interesting to follow that story.
"But, let's not forget the other stories. There's Del Worsham, there's Kenny Bernstein, Jack Beckman, Jeff Arend, and a lot of tough guys in Funny Car that we all thought would be in the Countdown for sure and aren't. Tommy Johnson Jr. just made it into No. 8 after winning in Englishtown, but he's in a precarious position, because Arend is only three points behind him in ninth, and my teammate Beckman is just nine points behind Tommy in 10th.
"We're pretty confident we'll be in the top eight, and, as a fan of the sport, it's going to be great to watch this battle for the sixth, seventh and eighth positions. I don't want to be a part of it. I guarantee you, come Brainerd, Minn., and Reading, Pa., the fans are going to get every bit of their fill of excitement when these guys are trying to get into the Countdown.
"Right now, watching a guy like John Force, when you know that team could break out and make a run at it in typical John Force fashion, is a thrill. He's never lacking excitement and right now he's providing it."