CAPPS EXITS EARLY IN SONOMA, HANGS ON TO POINTS LEAD SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2007) - Brut "Test Drive" Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Ron Capps made an early exit today at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, but maintained...
CAPPS EXITS EARLY IN SONOMA, HANGS ON TO POINTS LEAD
SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2007) - Brut "Test Drive" Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Ron Capps made an early exit today at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, but maintained his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points lead.
Capps had already clinched a spot in the top eight for the Countdown to the Championship, which begins at the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend, and now tops Robert Hight by 101 markers.
The Northern California native launched first at the starting lights with a .097 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Del Worsham's .105. He was still in the lead at half-track, but by the 1000-ft. mark Worsham nosed ahead, taking the victory with a 4.899-second elapsed time at 320.97 mph. Capps trailed to the finish stripe 34 ft. behind Worsham, posting a 4.986/292.46.
He admitted that crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the Brut Dodge team may have been taking advantage of having clinched a spot in the Countdown by testing some parts during that run. "It's been a strange weekend. We had a few of those this year," he said. "A lot of people don't understand what goes on in the pit area. The teams fight so hard sometimes to find out how to get down the track a little quicker, and on top of that you may have a gremlin here or there, and it becomes very trying on these teams.
"We've been trying things here and there. We know we're in the Countdown so it allows us to do that and we learned a lot this week, believe it or not, and we're excited about what we know will work come Indy time (the U.S. Nationals, when the Countdown kicks in).
"It's been a brutal six-race swing and we've got two very big races coming up to get back on the right track and go to Indy with a lot of confidence and on a big roll.
"Since Seattle, Ace has been trying some different clutch parts. Clutch discs are always very important, probably one of the most important things on a fuel car. They're only made a batch at a time at certain times so they can vary from when they're made time to time. So, when you see a team struggling, they may be trying to get into a new batch of discs and trying to learn about them. And that's the case with us. We wanted to look way down the line at Indianapolis, at Memphis, and Vegas, and places where we need to look down and see what kind of clutch pack we want to run, and that's why we needed to try some things. We just don't get to test enough to be able to learn that.
"I think that you see a lot of teams trying things right now. And in our case a lot of times you learn more from what doesn't work than what does work.
"Even though we did lose today first round, we're still leaving with the points lead and it's going to be an exciting next few races.
"I feel good. I feel like Ace is approaching it like a football coach. You have to look down the road as well as right in front of you. And right now he's trying to look down past Indianapolis and the next step, which is going to be the playoffs, and I love his approach."