Keeping Pace

Regaining points lead on Capps' hit list

Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA Dodge NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car. (Photo courtesy of NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)
Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA Dodge NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car. (Photo courtesy of NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)

Ron Capps heads to this week's NHRA stop looking to regain the top spot in the chase for the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car points standings.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Brainerd, Minn.- Ron Capps is bent on regaining the Funny Car points lead he's held throughout the majority of this year's regular NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season. After 2007, the year in which Capps entered the inaugural Countdown to 1 playoffs as the points leader without an earned advantage, NHRA began awarding 20 bonus markers to the leader going into the Countdown, and Capps wants those points this time.

Three national events remain before this year's Countdown begins for the final six races, and this weekend's NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int’l Raceway is key towards Capps achieving that goal. The driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Funny Car is just 11 markers behind leader Tony Pedregon, and a third victory for him at this facility would return him to the top of the roster.

"Those 20 points are equivalent to one round-win," said Capps, "and on top of that there's increments of 10 points for every driver behind the leader in the points. So, if you can add 20 points before you even go to Charlotte for the first race of the Countdown, that's huge. We lost the championship in 2005 by eight points, so we know how important the points are.

"Having the points lead going into the Countdown also gives you a little more confidence and more media coverage for the sponsors. So, there are other advantages to leading the standings besides just the 20 points.

"Coming into Brainerd this weekend, everybody's got their batteries recharged after two weeks off following the Western Swing," added the two-time Brainerd Funny Car champion, who also leads the class with five victories this season. "It's a grueling part of our tour. It's always nice to get a couple of weeks off and then go to Brainerd. It's a fun race.

"It's also turned into a very pivotal race the last few years, especially with the Countdown. It follows the Western Swing where points have been shuffled so much. The drivers have had two weeks off to relax and now they have to start thinking about where they're at, where they want to be when the next three races will be over, and about racing in Brainerd.

"Brainerd could be hot and humid, and over the years the new owners have done a great job of making improvements to the facility. We've seen clouds come in like last year and cool down the temperature of the track. If that happens again, we could see record-breaking conditions.

"Anything can happen in Brainerd. I've been lucky enough to win there more than once, so it's a special place for me as a driver. On top of that my wife Shelley's whole family is from that area. So we have a lot of good friends and family coming to watch."




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.




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