RON CAPPS READY TO PLAY IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 21, 2005) - Ron Capps wishes he could push the rewind button and replay the first round of eliminations at the season-opening event of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at Pomona...
RON CAPPS READY TO PLAY IN PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 21, 2005) - Ron Capps wishes he could push the rewind button and replay the first round of eliminations at the season-opening event of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at Pomona Raceway two weeks ago. In his first race for Don Schumacher Racing in the Brut-sponsored Dodge Stratus Funny Car, Capps' car suffered a rare split oil tank at the starting line, putting him out of contention in an eagerly-anticipated first round against new teammate Whit Bazemore.
Capps was pumped to get the season started on a high note, and now will erase the last event and push the Play button for the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway this weekend, the second round of the year.
"It's unfortunate," he said. "What happened in Pomona was out of everybody's control. But, you have to look at the bright side: if that had happened during that run it probably would have put the car into the wall. We probably saved ourselves having to replace the car. The guys were really disappointed, and I was disappointed for them.
"The results didn't show the great effort (crew chief) Ed 'Ace' McCulloch and the crew put together, that's for sure, but we're excited about getting to Phoenix and ramping up again for this race and for the rest of the year. It's going to be a fun season.
"After a weekend like we just had in Pomona you can't wait to get to the next race," he continued. "It's unfortunate that we didn't have back-to-back race weekends in a way, because you want to shake everything off and get to the next track immediately. But, I tell you, I feel very good."
Capps' past results at Firebird Raceway, along with the expertise of the Don Schumacher Racing stable of crew chiefs (including McCulloch, co-crew chief Dan Olson, Gary Scelzi's tuner Mike Neff and Whit Bazemore's crew chief Lee Beard) should give the California native a bit of a psychological edge this weekend. Capps was winner here in 2003, runner-up in 1998 and 2000, and No. 1 qualifier in 2000.
"Having won here before is a plus from a mental standpoint, and as a driver you feel good about going to that race," he commented. "The last time I won here Ace was my crew chief. We beat Gary Densham in the final round in a very close race. It was a fun weekend.
"Firebird has always been a fast track. Tony Schumacher was the first to run 330 mph at the track in Top Fuel," said Capps, whose team tested here in January, with both Capps and Dale Pulde driving the Brut Dodge. "I think that testing went extremely well. Especially when Pulde drove the car and ran a 4.75 (-second ET) in cooler conditions. When we got back into town after attending the Matco Tools Tool Expo in Nashville, the conditions changed. It got very warm and a little bit greasy during the week. I was driving when we ran a couple of very good runs in the hottest part of the day.
"That's encouraging, as the conditions this weekend will be a lot warmer than they were during the early test days."