CAPPS POISED TO BEGIN ROAD TO COUNTDOWN IN TOPEKA CARLSBAD, Calif. (May 27, 2008) - Ron Capps' journey so far in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is quite different from where it was at this time in 2007. Last May he entered the NHRA...
CAPPS POISED TO BEGIN ROAD TO COUNTDOWN IN TOPEKA
CARLSBAD, Calif. (May 27, 2008) - Ron Capps' journey so far in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is quite different from where it was at this time in 2007.
Last May he entered the NHRA Summer Nationals leading the Funny Car standings by 120 points over his next competitor. This year, he's 192 points behind in No. 8. But that's OK, says the driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T who has won twice at Heartland Park Topeka (1998 and 2006) and who's buoyed by the recent boost in performance of the all-new NAPA Dodge tuned by Ed "Ace" McCulloch.
With the new Murf McKinney chassis - which will be mandatory by the NHRA for the Denver event in July - reacting well to the tweaks and changes McCulloch made to it at its debut in Bristol two weeks ago, Capps and the NAPA team are aiming to be running strong when the Countdown to the Championship kicks in after the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend.
"This time of the year we're getting to what we call the meaty time of the season," say Capps, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship. "Things are going to start happening fast, races are coming at us fast and, before you know it, we're going to be done with the West Coast Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif., July 11-27). Topeka always falls in line where the weather really starts to warm up and especially this year.
"The last few races we have been to have brought cool conditions. I really believe that Topeka will show us the first sign of triple-digit track temperatures. It's going to be a very tricky race weekend.
"We've won in Topeka a couple of times and that's always a good thing, but the biggest thing that motivates me right now is the fact that we brought out our new Murf McKinney car in Bristol on a very gutsy call by Ace to bring it out not being sure if the rain was coming or not, and take a chance.
"For the NAPA Dodge to run as good as it did and go a couple of rounds was a huge boost of confidence for everybody on the NAPA team, me included. Going forward from here is just icing on the cake. The fact that we're working on it this soon gives us a chance to get used to the car.
"Last year we were leading the standings by over 100 points going into the Topeka race and with the Countdown format, the urgency just isn't there to be a points leader or to be No. 2. Yes, we want to move up and, yes, we want to make sure we're solid, but right now it's all about peaking at the right time. And that's the goal.
"I think the important thing is for our NAPA team to concentrate on being the best we can when it counts. And that's going to be when we get to Indianapolis for the U.S. Nationals. We want to make sure we're in the top 10 for the Countdown. We learned last year that we need to be better later in the year.
"I love being in Topeka. I remember winning on a rain delay in 1998 and beating Al Hoffman in the final. It was about midnight and we had to go to the truck stop in town to celebrate with the crew. And having everybody in the truck stop celebrate with us was awesome.
"The fact that the people who own the Topeka track do everything they can to make you feel like you are the best thing that happened to that city when we roll into town is a great feeling. We race where we have to race, but the fact that we get to go to tracks like Topeka, where they make you feel that good, is just something that stands out every year."