PROLONG SUPER LUBRICANTS NORTHWEST NATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 1998 FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28 RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, wins his third race of the season and moves into...
PROLONG SUPER LUBRICANTS NORTHWEST NATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 1998
FUNNY CAR -- CAMARO Z28
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, wins his third race of the season and moves into second in Winston Championship points after defeating John Force in the Funny Car final today, with an elapsed time of 5.136 seconds at 288.27 mph to Force's 5.253/274.72. Force had an edge in reaction times, .465 to .480, but it was Capps first at the finish line, with a margin of victory of .102 of a second.
Note: This is the fifth title win of the season for the Camaro Funny Car (3 for Capps, 2 for Chuck Etchells).
CAPPS: "It was a weird feeling when I got out of the car down at the finish line -- in '95 when I won Top Fuel for Roger Primm I was the underdog then too -- I stopped in the same exact spot and it hit me really weird. When I looked around and saw I was in the same spot I said this is cool. It's a great feeling. The run was so exciting. We left together, he was a little bit ahead of me, maybe a fender. By half track he still had a fender on me, but I said, you know what, you are all mine, my Camaro is so planted where evevryone else has been hazing their tires, both Funny Cars and Fuel Cars. And, sure enough, in the corner of my eye I watched his nose disappear. Roland (Leong, crew chief) has worked so hard -- he hasn't got a lot of credit lately. Roland is a contender, he needs to be up in the group of crew chiefs like Austin Coil and Tim Richards. Two times the computer didn't work. He tuned it like the old days. It was an awesome sight to watch. It's like going back and reading a history book on drag racing today."
ON BEING CLOSE IN THE POINTS CHASE: "It's like it was in Dallas. We were an underdog in the final here and to go up there and beat John (wow). He's the best there is out there. Just a little piece of brain says wow this is John Force, we may not have a chance of beating him. But another part of the brain says I have Chevrolet, I have Copenhagen, I have 'Snake' and that takes over. What a great day."
"I'd be lying by saying we just take one run at a time. At this point in the season you are fighting tooth and nail for that extra point. It's a fierce battle for the championship with eight races left, it's going to be a fun season. Whoever wins, it's going to be a lot of fun looking back at this year. I hope I can say that at the podium (at the awards banquet)."
WHAT DID FORCE SAY TO YOU AT THE FINISH? "He said 'great job.' He looked pretty dejected. It's nice to see a plan come together. I was telling reporters in Denver since the Denver race the world champion would be whoever did the best on the West Coast swing. We stumbled a litte bit, but here we are, we had that plan and we pulled it off. We can pull into Brainerd with a big smile on our face."
ON THE CAMARO BODY: "It's fun to be in the seat of that car, the Camaro is so much fun to drive."
ON THE SUN GLARE: "There was bad glare at the starting line. But what do you do? You just buckle down and tighten your harnesses."
ON THE CHEVY FANS: "It's fun. It's really fun when I go to a store and fans see me and say we love watching Funny Cars. They turn on the T.V. and are guaranteed to see a good race and a new face. I'm a big John Force fan. I think he's the best thing we have in the sport. I don't want him to get out of the seat, I want him to continue driving. I just want to beat him, especially with him driving a Ford and me a Chevy. The fans say 'go Chevy', they're wearing Chevy hats. It's like the old days, with people like Bill Jenkins. It's let's go out and fist fight over our cars."
DID SNAKE GIVE YOU ANY BITS OF ADVICE? "He gave me a couple, one that I can say and one that I can't. I went to shake Force's hand saying no matter who the winner is to have a safe run, I didn't want to wish him too much luck. Snake patted me on the butt and said 'go get him,' then he grabbed me again when he saw me with Force and said 'don't be too nice to him.'"
IS THERE A LOT OF PRESSURE DRIVING FOR PRUDHOMME? "I used to see him on the other side of the fence, and I thought he's one intense individual. He always looks pissed off or in a bad mood. But he's a class act, he's a legend. He oozes legendness. Greatness starts from the top and trickles down. Having a guy like him around, what can you say, he's the 'Snake.'"
DON PRUDHOMME: "This just makes it extra sweet when you are having some problems qualifying and then you get up to the last round and the Camaro ran so good to qualify, and then to see the team work so well together, and watch them win rounds and whether it's John Force or whoever, it doesn't matter who they're racing. And Roland, Ron, all the guys did such a good job. This particular race, for me -- beating Force makes it extra sweet."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR DRIVER? "I love him, he's cool. What's cool about him is that when we come back after the round he's signing autographs. You can't beat youth and enthusiasm. He's got that. He's so cool with the spectators, he always has time for them. He doesn't take his firesuit off between rounds. I think he forgets, he gets so excited. It's fun to be around him."