CAPPS SET FOR NEW SEASON START CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2008) - He's had a good off-season he says, but Ron Capps is ready for the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series to begin at this weekend's NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in ...
CAPPS SET FOR NEW SEASON START
CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2008) - He's had a good off-season he says, but Ron Capps is ready for the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series to begin at this weekend's NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in 2008, his fourth year with Don Schumacher Racing, the California native is eager to get back to the challenge of claiming his first Funny Car championship since beginning his pro career in 1995. He'll also be facing some changes and variables this season, in particular at this opening event.
"It's been a great off-season," said Capps, who came off a disappointing fourth-place finish in last year's all-new Countdown to the Championship playoffs after leading the standings most of the season. "We have a new sponsor on board with NAPA AUTO PARTS, which is awesome. And sometimes you don't go very far into the off season before you're ready to go racing again. But after last year and competing in the Countdown to One, I really felt I needed some rest. It was pretty grueling at the end.
"I spent a lot of time with the family and did a lot of cool things. When Phoenix rolled around for preseason testing you could tell it was time to go racing again.
"In the past, you could always tell how the drivers anticipated Pomona by how the preseason testing went. And for the most part the last few years we've come off our preseason testing in good shape and we've had a good showing in Pomona.
"We had a great test session at Firebird Raceway (outside of Phoenix). However, the conditions will be different in Pomona, obviously. On top of that, this year NHRA threw into the mix the upping of the nitro percentage to 90 percent, which I think is going to help the teams, believe it or not, with attrition and parts breakage. Not only that, the cars sound so much better. They sound like they did when I was a kid growing up. You can really tell the difference.
"The downside is the 100 pounds that they added to the Funny Cars. That's a pretty substantial amount, and it has taken its toll already in preseason testing. At Firebird, guys were going off at the end of the track and having a harder time slowing the cars down. The crew chiefs are still focused on getting the cars down the track, and I believe that NHRA didn't do their homework by not considering that somebody has to actually slow these cars down with the extra weight on them.
"It's going to be interesting to watch these upcoming races, especially Pomona where we have one of the shorter shutdown areas. There were teams leaving Phoenix on Wednesday that weren't quite happy with their tune-ups yet, and it has really thrown some curves.
"I think probably a majority of the teams are not quite as ready as they want to be for Pomona, but you have no choice. However, you know the track will be great, and the conditions are going to be great. So, I'm looking forward to a good start, especially for our new sponsor, NAPA AUTO PARTS."
As for the revised Countdown format and the new qualifying procedure, "I really applaud the NHRA for changing the Countdown format," said Capps. "Last year was just not quite right at the end of the year. And I really think that everybody's going to benefit from that. The new qualifying format remains to be seen. I think any change from where it was is good. But I'm interested to see how that comes out as well."