Pomona 2: Capps ready

Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals at Pomona, Calif., July 5-7. First mid-summer race held at Pomona Raceway. POMONA RACEWAY HISTORY: Capps won the Winternationals in 1998 and was a semifinalist at last season's Auto Club ...

Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals at Pomona, Calif., July 5-7. First mid-summer race held at Pomona Raceway.

POMONA RACEWAY HISTORY:

Capps won the Winternationals in 1998 and was a semifinalist at last season's Auto Club Finals.

STANDING:

Fifth with 686 points after 12 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD TO ANNIVERSARY NATIONALS:

"There's a lot of hoopla surrounding this race, and it's close to home, so it will be exciting," said Capps, who didn't qualify at the Sears Craftsman Nationals (June 24) near St. Louis. "Coming off our performance at St. Louis, all of us on the Skoal Racing Green crew want to bounce back and win this race.

"Racing at night is fun for me because it brings back a lot of memories I have from watching Funny Car races in the Los Angeles area. This race gives me the chance to relive a little bit of my past."

A LOOK AT SEASON'S FIRST 12 RACES:

"This has been a learning experience with the two-car team.  It's something I've never been involved with.  Our team - both the Green and Blue Skoal Racing Funny Cars - has done a great job.  Tommy and I have each won once and we've both been runner-up once in a category that is the toughest in the history of NHRA," Capps said.  

"It's been great to see all the guys working together. That's part of building this team concept - to try and get wins, round wins and race wins. And to have Tommy win at Las Vegas and me win at Bristol (Tenn.) was great for our team members and sponsors.  But we really felt we let a lot of rounds get away from us.  That just makes you more motivated to go out and not let it happen again.  

"With the Funny Car field as tough as it is, you never know what's going to happen.  Right now, we are concentrating on winning as many races as we can."

LOOKING BACK AT SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS:

Capps' 4.979-second time was one-thousandth of a second behind No. 16 qualifier Jerry Toliver's 4.978. A faulty valve in the clutch management system forced Capps to abort his Friday night qualifying run - which had the most optimum conditions - and he couldn't catch up.

How important was that run? Saturday, Capps' best run of 4.979 seconds came in the last qualifying session and was fifth best that afternoon. Thirteen of the 16 starters, meanwhile, registered their quickest times Friday night.

"Everybody pitches in when we get down like this and they get motivated to not let it happen again," said Capps.  "We also want to rebound the best we can.  It hurts, but we'll get over it.

"You can't win a championship when you don't qualify.  Everybody wants to win the championship, but it's more than just going out and going down the track. A lot of things play into it."

The only drivers who've qualified for all 12 races this year are John Force, Del Worsham, Bruce Sarver and Whit Bazemore.  Only 76 points separate second-place Del Worsham and Capps (762-686).  Force leads with 1033.

MID-SEASON ASSESSMENTS:

Owner Don Prudhomme - "The Funny Car competition in the first half of the year was tougher than I expected.  I think it surprised everybody, including the Force team.  We knew it was going to be tough, but I think it has gone pretty dog-gone smooth.  We've had some ups and downs, but so far Ron and Tommy have each won a race and they've each been a runner-up and both cars have run well.  So I'm pretty pleased.

"We've already had record qualifying fields at eight races.  It certainly hasn't been a cakewalk, it's been very challenging.  But I believe we've kept pace pretty well.  Now days anybody can win out there.  Not just Force, but anybody who qualifies has a shot at it."

Crew chief Ed McCulloch - "First, we were highly disappointed the Green car didn't qualify at St. Louis. But I think what we learned there under the same kind of (track and atmospheric) conditions we'll see at tracks we're getting ready to go to, is that we're probably in very good shape. We helped ourselves a lot.

"Funny Car qualifying has become a lot like Pro Stock where if you miss the Friday night session when conditions are usually pretty good, you're in trouble.  We had a mechanical problem and our run Saturday wasn't good enough to get us into the show.  It hurt us in points.

"Our season started good.  Everything was coming together and working well in the first quarter of the year.  Then the second quarter made a turnaround and it wasn't very good. But I don't know that the championship race is over.

"If we could get on a roll with both cars clicking and have some of the other drivers take out Force, who knows what could happen."

-Snake Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Don Prudhomme , Jerry Toliver