St. Louis: Ron Capps preview

DEFENDING GATEWAY CHAMP CAPPS CREDITS NAPA CREW FOR RECENT UPSWING CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 29, 2008) - Ron Capps credits the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car crew for the team's renewed performance in the last two races, which helped...

DEFENDING GATEWAY CHAMP CAPPS CREDITS NAPA CREW FOR RECENT UPSWING

CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 29, 2008) - Ron Capps credits the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car crew for the team's renewed performance in the last two races, which helped propel Capps into No. 9 in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series point standings. Capps is ready to attack the quarter-mile at Gateway International Raceway this weekend and defend his 2007 victory there at the NHRA Midwest Nationals. He is the winningest Funny Car driver at this track, with three triumphs (1997, 2005, 2007).

Last year at this time, Capps was enjoying a solid points lead when he arrived in Madison, Ill., after pocketing two season victories. He left Gateway with another win and an even heftier margin in the standings. He continued to lead the pack through the next 10 events by as many as 154 markers until the Countdown to the Championship kicked in and the team began to struggle. He ended the season in fourth place.

This year the NAPA team struggled through the first four events, but now that crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the NAPA crew have tweaked the NAPA Dodge back into contention, reaching the semifinal round in the last two events, Capps and the crew are confident and comfortable.

"Everything is so different this year." said Capps. "You can't really count on taking any information from last year. But the thing I'm most excited about right now is just how we've been running the last couple of races.

"You hear drivers thank their team, and thank the people back at the shop, but, I can tell you, the NAPA team has worked harder than we ever had to work as a team to get better this year with the rules changes (100 pounds added to the Funny Cars and nitromethane percentage upped to 90 percent), and it feels that much better when you can reap the benefits of working that hard.

"Ace has this NAPA Dodge turned around and now we're running well, going rounds. For me as a driver, when you're going back to a place like Madison, where you won the year before, it gives you just that much more confidence.

"We had a great season last season, won a lot of races (three) and led the points for most of the year. And we just didn't peak at the right time at the end of the year. And right now, although we started off a little bit slow this year, it's good to be coming to a track that we know we've done well at.

"I won the inaugural race there in 1997, which was my very first Funny Car win. I'll never forget that weekend. So, going back there is always a pleasure. And on top of that Thursday night a bunch of us NHRA drivers and my teammate Jack Beckman's crew chief Tommy DeLago are going to race on dirt at Tri-City Speedway, which is just a few minutes from the drag strip in Madison. And that's going to be fun.

"It's so much about business now and it's so demanding during the race weekend that it's nice to do some fun things away from the drag strip. And, better than that, I bet a large amount of fans will probably show up to watch their favorite drag racers run on dirt."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Jack Beckman