Seattle: Ron Capps preview

CAPPS EXCITED ABOUT DSR TEAMWORK AS HE BIDS FOR FUNNY CAR CHAMPIONSHIP KENT, Wash. (July 20, 2005) - Ron Capps is a newbie to the Don Schumacher Racing operation this season, driving the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car, but he's already making a ...

CAPPS EXCITED ABOUT DSR TEAMWORK AS HE BIDS FOR FUNNY CAR CHAMPIONSHIP

KENT, Wash. (July 20, 2005) - Ron Capps is a newbie to the Don Schumacher Racing operation this season, driving the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car, but he's already making a strong bid for his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship. The California native has won once this year and is carving his way to the top with his strong performances, with the aid of tuner Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the entire DSR brain trust.

After 13 races, Capps is fourth in the rankings, just 45 points out of third, 59 short of second and 81 behind leader Robert Hight. He's pumped to get back to sea level at Pacific Raceways, outside of Seattle, this weekend, after the grueling Denver Mile-High Mopar Nationals last weekend, where he exited in the second round and John Force went out in the first and lost the points lead.

"You don't want to jinx yourself by getting too excited about the championship," he says. "We all know it's there. We know that we're within striking distance of taking the lead, and the best part is how good the whole Don Schumacher Racing team is working together.

"It was so evident in Denver with the way (teammate Whit) Bazemore's car ran (No. 2 qualifier), with crew chiefs Dan Olson and Todd Okuhara, how we ran Friday night (No. 3 qualifier), and how Zippy's (Gary Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff) car ran all weekend (No. 4 qualifier and semifinal finisher).

"Everybody's got a great communication going and we just feel like we have a great team. And that's just going to do nothing but make all of our three cars stronger for this chase and in the Western Swing, especially at places like Seattle, where I've gotten to win Top Fuel (1995) and once in Funny Car (1998). Having the success I've had here in the past makes it a place you look forward to returning to.

"They make improvements every time we get to Pacific Raceways, so it's exciting to come back here, especially being in the points chase. I remember in '98, when we battled Force down to the end, Seattle was where we won, and we took the points lead over soon thereafter. It's just something I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

"The focus right now is on every single point, in qualifying, everything. It's like the Nextel Cup guys talking about how important it is to lead a lap and get five points. It's the same way with us. Qualifying is crucial and especially earning round points."

John Force has lost in the first round in the last two races and his teammate Robert Hight has taken the points lead after winning in Denver, but no one counts him out, especially Capps. "Like we said in St. Louis and again in Denver, to watch Force not be at the top of the heap is a bit surprising, because (Force's crew chief) Austin Coil is just so talented. You don't expect him to struggle that long.

"This is where championships (against Force) have been lost in the past, where you think you have Force and you see him struggling a little bit and you don't take advantage of it. We've already taken advantage of it in a big way in St. Louis, where we beat him in the first round then went on to win the race. That was huge.

"I feel good about what Ace and the Brut team and Ronnie (Thompson, assistant crew chief) and everybody has done already, taking advantage of those situations. We just need to get up every race like we do, do the same thing and I think we're going to be good."

RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:

* Fourth in 2005 Funny Car point standings, after 13 events, 81 points out of the lead

* Has one win, two runner-up finishes in 2005 (St. Louis was his first win for DSR in '05)

* At the 2004 CARQUEST Nationals, Capps qualified 10th, lost first round to Whit Bazemore

* Won Top Fuel here in 1995, Funny Car in 1998

* No. 1 qualifier here in 1997

* A perennial fan favorite, Capps has driven and won in both Top Fuel and Funny Cars since he began his pro NHRA career in 1995

* His best season points finishes were seconds in Funny Car in 1998 and 2000

* He has 15 event wins in 33 final rounds to his credit

* In 2003 he finished in the top 10 in the Funny Car class for the seventh consecutive season.

* His career best elapsed time (established during an event) is 4.753 seconds, set in 2003 at Chicago 1

* His career best speed (established during an event) is 324.75 mph (Las Vegas 1 '04)

* Lives in Carlsbad, Calif., with wife Shelley and daughter Taylor (8) and son Caden (3)

* Is the subject, along with son Caden and the Brut racing crew, of a number of Brut ads appearing this year in mainstream magazines, such as People, Sports Illustrated, etc.

* New to Don Schumacher Racing this year after eight years with Don Prudhomme.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Austin Coil , Mike Neff