Phoenix: Ron Capps preview

Quickest in Jan. testing, Capps ready for Phoenix CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2007) - Ron Capps was the quickest during National Time Trials at Firebird Raceway in January, and he's ready to repeat those results and add a victory at this...

Quickest in Jan. testing, Capps ready for Phoenix

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2007) - Ron Capps was the quickest during National Time Trials at Firebird Raceway in January, and he's ready to repeat those results and add a victory at this weekend's CSK NHRA Nationals at on the same drag strip in Chandler, Ariz.

Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch, and the entire Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team have stepped up their game in this season's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, targeting high qualifying spots to add to the consistency they have demonstrated the last two years.

At the season-opening event in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago, the power and consistency were evident, as Capps qualified No. 3 with a 4.709-second elapsed time at 331.45 mph, then eclipsed that speed with a new career-best 331.61-mph lap to win the opening round over Bob Gilbertson with a 4.728-second ET. A minor mechanical issue, however, resulted in a loss to Jeff Arend in the quarterfinal, despite a 4.765/320.66 pass.

"We've always talked about how good a start you want to get on a season," said Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif., "and even though we didn't win our first race back in Pomona we had a great start. We qualified well and that's something we worked on all winter long. We ended up No. 3 and that was great for the Brut car.

"Now the season is starting to get into the swing, with the second race in Phoenix this weekend. The Brut Revolution Dodge guys are getting used to being on the road again. Historically, for as long as I can remember, Phoenix has always followed Pomona. It's a race where you kind of get back in the groove.

"It's also a place where the conditions are going to be a lot different than they were in Pomona. The Winternationals in Pomona are always in cool conditions, great for running big numbers. In Phoenix it's the Valley of the Sun, so it's always quite a bit warmer. The teams that can adapt to the different conditions are the ones that are going to rise to the top.

"Last year we left Phoenix with the points lead," said Capps, currently in fifth. "We didn't win the race, but had a close weekend (a semifinal finish against John Force). It's always been a race where our team has done well, and it's a race we look forward to.

"We spent our pre-season testing at Firebird. A lot of teams went to Vegas for both test sessions, and I think that's going to play into our hands a little bit. The conditions were quite a bit cooler for testing, but for longer than I've been driving, Phoenix has been a place that you couldn't always trust to be as good in preseason testing as it was on the official NHRA weekend. Well, this year NHRA has made a lot of changes. The track brought in (track preparation specialist) Chad Head for the test session and the track was prepared like it used to be for a national event. And I think that was the biggest thing.

"Also, the PRO organization, which is like a union for the NHRA owners and drivers, this year announced that at a lot of test sessions on Mondays following events, such as in Phoenix after this weekend, the Safety Safari will stay and prepare the track just like it was for the race weekend.

"When you talk about 8000-hp cars like we have, you can't go test on a marginal race track that isn't going to be the same as at an NHRA race. You don't learn anything. This is a very good decision on the part of NHRA."

Capps is the 2003 Funny Car winner at Firebird Raceway.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Ron Capps , John Force , Jeff Arend , Chad Head