CAPPS WINS SONOMA! SONOMA, Calif. (July 18, 2010) - Racing the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Ron Capps won his first race in three final rounds of the season today at the FRAM-Autolite...
CAPPS WINS SONOMA!
SONOMA, Calif. (July 18, 2010) - Racing the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Ron Capps won his first race in three final rounds of the season today at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif. It was also his 31st national event win in 65 final rounds, including back-to-back finals (Seattle last week), and his second win at Sonoma (he won it in 1997).
With the win, Capps moved into fifth in the rankings and clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. It also marked the first race win for Capps since John Medlen came on board as crew chief three races ago, after joining Don Schumacher Racing to tune the DieHard Dodge for driver Matt Hagan in March 2010.
Capps powered through the field to reach the final round, dismissing Seattle winner Tim Wilkerson (with a 4.188/298.14), Melanie Troxel (4.236/292.39) and his DSR teammate Hagan (4.169/298.54), before meeting up with his other DSR teammate Jack Beckman in the final.
Capps launched a tick later than Beckman but was in the lead by the 60-foot mark and held it to the finish, grabbing the victory with a 4.169/296.44 over Beckman's 4.210/298.93
"It's all confidence," said Capps, in the media center. "Confidence is built on success. We've been testing a lot of things all season long. And, obviously when John went over to Matt Hagan's car we saw what happened over there. Matt won two races, set the national record. And I've always wanted to work with John.
"It has been such a pleasure [having Medlen as crew chief]. Not only the confidence that I've been given in the car, I now go up there without being afraid of the Tree and worrying about the car. You start to doubt yourself sometimes. He's so calming until you stage the car and he beats on it, and he starts to walk away, and turns around and beats on it again like a little kid, and he gets me so excited. I think, man, he's having fun. I've got to have fun too. It carries over. It's just been nothing but smiles in our NAPA pit, it's been a lot of fun.
"His approach to racing is 'let's win but let's have fun.' I can't even tell you how exciting it's been for me. He's such an asset. I feel like I can conquer the world in the car right now.
"It was a neat day to be the understudy of a great racer and to watch John Medlen 'tickle' the car, because that's all he did. We gave up a little bit in the second round against Melanie. We felt like we didn't want to push it in that hot part of the day and make a mistake and smoke the tires. That was probably our biggest run, even though it was one of our slowest. Then John knew if we made it into the next round he could get back after it like he did before. And that's what he did and it's neat to sit up there in the lounge with the crew chiefs and listen to what they want to do, what they're thinking of doing and watching it come into effect in the car. It's really so much fun. I feel l like I learned so much today."
Said Medlen, when asked about moving over to DSR from John Force Racing last March: "In the beginning it's all a bit of a trauma, you really don't know what to expect. But about the second day I came to work for DSR I realized that they're still race cars and I realize that Don Schumacher has an extremely well-groomed group of people. There's a tremendous talent pool there. Those guys took me in as an orphan and just accepted me in all ways. I'm very, very grateful for the people who are there.
"What we do in life is get together with a scarlet thread. There's some sort of a method to all this that gets people together for a common goal. And what I saw at DSR was extreme focus on winning. Six teams and all of them dedicated to make these cars win and put these cars in the winner's circle. I really enjoy it. It's a great thing. It's a tremendous opportunity for me.
"Ron Capps and I have been friends for years. He was a very close friend of (son) Eric's. (Eric Medlen lost his life in a Funny Car testing accident in 2007). If anybody guided all this together, Eric did. He's pretty smart. He did a good job."
Said team owner Don Schumacher: "It's fantastic for Ron. This is a special, special race for the NAPA team and it's a special race for John Medlen and (DSR consultant and former NAPA car crew chief) Ed McCulloch. For them to pull this one off and get the car turned around at this point of the season to start winning races is fantastic. Looking forward to the Countdown."
The Countdown to 1 playoffs begin for the top 10 in points in the final six races of the season.
Next up is the final race of the Western Swing, the 31st annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., July 23-25.