Richmond: Ron Capps preview

IT'S TIME TO GET RACY, SAYS CAPPS CARLSBAD, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2007) - Ron Capps is accustomed to being under the gun, in a pressure-cooker situation, feeling the squeeze - all those cliches we're all tired of hearing. But he also knows it's time...

IT'S TIME TO GET RACY, SAYS CAPPS

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2007) - Ron Capps is accustomed to being under the gun, in a pressure-cooker situation, feeling the squeeze - all those cliches we're all tired of hearing. But he also knows it's time to step up to the plate, grab the bull by the horns, go for the gold and give it his all, as this weekend's Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park will determine the top four in each NHRA Pro category who will vie for championships in the two final events of the season, known as the Countdown to One.

After enduring three career seasons in which he's battled to the finish for his first Funny Car championship and came up short, Capps finds himself in familiar territory (more cliches are welcome; please submit).

The driver of the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is in a precarious position in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Countdown to Four playoffs. After leading the standings this season by as much as 154 points, Capps is now scratching to get back in the chase from his fifth slot in the rankings.

Fourteen-time champion John Force is sidelined after surviving a crash at the last event in Dallas following his second-round victory and a move into fourth in points. While he recovers from his injuries, the chances of his returning to competition this year are very slim. His resolve to return, however, is well-respected by all his fellow racers, who expect and hope he'll make a quick return.

Capps is just three points behind Force; a good qualifying effort could lob Capps into the top four before eliminations even begin on Sunday. Qualifying, of course, is the number-one goal, as every driver in the top eight in points has at one time or another failed to qualify this season.

"Right now I'm really excited," said Capps. "There is going to be a lot of pressure and basically it's who goes the furthest out of the six of us (Capps, Tony Pedregon, Robert Hight, Jack Beckman, Gary Scelzi and Mike Ashley) who will get into it. We just need to have a big race. But it's a perfect time. I told Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) that this is a great time for us to get racy. When I say racy I mean to get back in the mode that we were in the beginning of the year, where we roll up there and guys are not happy about racing us. And I think we have that car back (following a successful test session the Monday after the Dallas event).

"This is a great time to go to Richmond. This is going to be as pressure-filled as it gets. Especially for the six guys. Last year, it was our first year back to this track for some time and there were still some issues with the track surface that needed to be addressed. It was a difficult race track because we had a rainout and had to come back and it was freezing cold.

"So, I think a lot of the notes we had from last year are just going to be thrown away. It will be a whole different weekend."

As for John Force, "the guy amazes me," said Capps. "We had to test on Monday after Dallas and it was very hard. It was probably the one time I didn't want to drive a Funny Car. But we had to do what we had to do. Knowing John was in the hospital was tough.

"We need John Force. We really want to race with him in this Countdown and he just got around us in points. It would have made Virginia that much more exciting. But, I fully expect John Force to make it to Richmond and cheer his team members on. That's just the way he is."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Jack Beckman , Robert Hight