Topeka: Capps preview

Ron Capps Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme'S Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car THE RACE: 13th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals, May 25-27, at Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kan. HEARTLAND PARK HISTORY: Capps can count one win...

Ron Capps
Driver Of Don "The Snake" Prudhomme'S Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car

THE RACE:

13th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals, May 25-27, at Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kan.

HEARTLAND PARK HISTORY:

Capps can count one win (1998) and one runner-up finish (2000) among his appearances. He beat Al Hofmann early Sunday morning (Oct. 18) in a rain-delayed event in '98 and lost to John Force in last year's title round.

STANDING:

Third with 536 points, after eight of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD TO ADVANCE AUTO NATIONALS:

Admittedly bummed because he lost in the first round of the SuperNationals Sunday at Englishtown, N.J., Capps wants to rebound and climb closer to series leader John Force's 627 points.

Capps fell victim to Frank Pedregon when the engine in the Skoal Racing Green Camaro dropped a cylinder and Pedregon ran an impressive 4.844 seconds.

"This car has not dropped a cylinder in a long time and I wasn't ready for it," Capps said. "I pedaled it to see if I could chase him but we were already done.

"I'm glad we don't have to wait long to get to Topeka, which is a track where we've had some success in the last few years. In your career, you always have tracks you like to go to, and Topeka is like that for me.

"This race also comes in the middle of three races in a row for us so it's important that we do well. If you're struggling when you come into a three-race swing, you need to bounce back.

"Obviously we were disappointed losing in the first round Sunday, but we are confident going to Topeka. I know Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) has a good tune-up ready for this weekend."

There's no reason Capps shouldn't feel confident. He had three good qualifying runs at New Jersey - with a best of 4.863 seconds - that put him sixth overall.

Capps is only 18 points behind runner-up Bruce Sarver in the tight championship chase.

"We let a lot of drivers get closer to us points-wise last weekend, but we're still close to second place. A lot can happen at Topeka and Chicago (June 3), and we hope it's good.

"We just have to stay focused, concentrate getting the car qualified well and take just one round at a time. That's what we'll be doing at Topeka and the rest of the races this year."

A LOOK BACK AT THE SUPERNATIONALS:

Capps had been to the finals at the two previous events, winning at Bristol, Tenn., and finishing second near Atlanta.

"The Green crew was helping to get Tommy's (teammate Tommy Johnson) Blue Camaro in the show. We were trying to make sure our car qualified but we were really concentrating on getting the whole team running a little bit better," Capps said. "I think we found the problem because Tommy's car ran better."

Weather conditions changed Sunday, going from warm - temperatures in the high 70s - to cold, the thermometer holding at about 60 degrees.

The engine in Capps' Camaro ran on seven cylinders for part of his quarter-mile run against Pedregon, who had beaten Capps the last time they met, in the finals at Atlanta.

It was only the second time this season that Capps has lost in the opening round. <pre> Ron Capps Facts:

Birthdate: 6/20/65 Hometown: Carlsbad, Calif.

Career wins: 10 (nine Funny Car, one Top Fuel) Final rounds: 21 (19 Funny Car, 2 Top Fuel) Last win: 4/29/01 at Bristol, Tenn. Last final round: 5/6/01 at Commerce, Ga. Best Funny Car elapsed time: 4.811 seconds ('00 Dallas) Best Funny Car speed: 315.45 mph ('97 Houston II)

-DPSR-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Ron Capps , John Force , Tommy Johnson