Pomona II: Ron Capps preview

Capps Looking for Storybook Ending in Pomona POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2006) - Three-time bridesmaid in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship chase Ron Capps is looking for a storybook ending to this season's battle for the...

Capps Looking for Storybook Ending in Pomona

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2006) - Three-time bridesmaid in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship chase Ron Capps is looking for a storybook ending to this season's battle for the crown at this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif.

After leading the rankings for the majority of the 2006 season, the driver of the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car finds himself 71 points behind 13-time champion John Force and two points ahead of Force Racing driver Robert Hight going into the final event of the year.

The contest for his first Funny Car title is similar yet very different to last year's scenario, where Capps went into the final event just two points behind teammate Gary Scelzi and 26 in front of Force. When all three were eliminated in the second round, Capps ended up second in the championship to Scelzi by eight points, and 24 ahead of Force.

The mathematical possibilities are complicated, but, if Force wins the first round of eliminations this weekend, he could clinch. If Force were to lose the first round, Capps would have to win the event to win the championship. The spoiler could easily be if one of the three sets a national elapsed-time record and earns 20 bonus points. Qualifying points are also in the mix, so it's difficult to come up with a solid scenario. It will be an exciting qualifying and racing show, to be sure.

"I think the whole Brut team learned a lot last year going through what we went through with the championship battle down to the end," said Capps, who also receives support from Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels. "We have a little more on our plate this time. It's not an easy task to be forced to make up 71 points.

"And we're in a fight with Robert Hight as well. Worst case scenario is we're going to leave Pomona in third place. Best case scenario is we're going to leave in first place. Personally, I felt really good the last few races. Last year was a real gut-check, but this year we have one choice and that is to go to Pomona and earn as many points as we can. We plan on winning, and we can't control what Force does first round unless we have him first round.

"If the conditions are right, we're going to try to set a national record, but, actually, that's something you can't get yourself too involved with. Last year Force tried to do the same thing and he ended up getting behind in qualifying a little bit. So, you can't focus on something like that. You just have to go there with a plan on qualifying the best you can and winning the race and then becoming a spectator first round to see what Force is going to do. If he wins first round, then we're going to fight for second place."

Setting a national record has not been the Brut Revolution's team usual 'modus operandi.' "We stayed and tested Monday after Las Vegas," said Capps, five-time season winner. "I drove both Gary Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Dodge and the Brut Revolution Dodge. We tested several things that we were always really leery to test during a race. Our car is very capable (of setting a national ET record). You don't see the Brut car a lot of times at the top of the qualifying list, but, you have to remember, we're in a position to win the championship because we've been consistent. And we are not in a car that has always gone for low ET. Not to say that we can't, because if you look back we've run several 4.60s, and I think if Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch), at any time, had gone up to the starting line with the mentality that he wanted to set the national record, it would be a different story.

"If the conditions in Pomona are good, and if we get in the show first pass Thursday, you never know. Those extra 20 points are extremely valuable, but aiming for them could bite you. John Force was a great example last year. He talked about going for a national record, before the weekend even started, and he wasn't qualified until Saturday.

"It's easy to get distracted by something like that. I think that we just need to qualify well, get lane choice first round, and win the race on Sunday.

"I completely believe that it would be a storybook ending to show up at Pomona and actually win the race and have Force go out first round. And what better way to end the season than in great fashion like that. It would be unbelievable. It would be the greatest story and I'm not saying it's completely out of reach."

But, what about Hight? "His car has very often been on a national-record-setting pace. I know the mentality that (crew chief) Jimmy Prock has and that car can go for low ET and a national record. I'm hoping they're going for the national record because I don't think they will be as focused as they normally would be on a race weekend.

"Not only do you have to run a national record, you have to back it up to set it. It's not just one run and it's not an easy task. You hear the Nextel Cup guys say, 'Well, I was as fast as the guy in front of me." But catching the guy is one thing, passing is another.

"To be in a position we're in, it's a great precursor to next year's point system. You hear some people say they don't like the new system, but, I tell you what, they love the fact that it's come down to the last few races in Funny Car and Dragster, and that's what we're going to have the last third of next year."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Robert Hight