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Keeping Pace

NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car points leader Capps returns ‘home’ this weekend

Ron Capps and the NAPA team will continue to try to achieve their goal of winning every round. It they accomplish it, it will help them hold onto the points lead through the next four races leading up to the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, after which the Countdown to 1 playoffs begin for the final six races.


Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Sonoma, Calif.–Ron Capps returns “home” this weekend for the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway. Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader always enjoys this final leg of the three-race Western Swing.

Sonoma for me is like coming home to race,” said Capps, a five-time season titlist in the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Funny Car. “I lived up in the Bay area, went to school there, met my wife Shelley there and got married there. And when I was going to school I was teaching racquetball at a couple of health clubs in the Bay Area and played in tournaments all over Northern California.

“I have a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a while, and every year they pop up at this race. It’s just a great feeling. My parents always come up and it’s a wonderful place to race.”

As for a new set of challenges and conditions he’ll face after competing at the mile-high Denver event and the sea-level Seattle race, “The conditions we expect in Sonoma always get me excited as a driver because when you look at the hot, triple-digit track temperatures, it takes a savvy crew and crew chief to get an 8000-horsepower Funny Car to go down the track. And we have that.

“We know it’s going to be hot there, it always is, but it’s a great race track because it’s owned by Bruton Smith, who is famous for his well-run facilities.”

Capps and the NAPA team will continue to try to achieve their goal of winning every round. It they accomplish it, it will help them hold onto the points lead through the next four races leading up to the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, after which the Countdown to 1 playoffs begin for the final six races.

“We knew we were going to have a good Western Swing,” said Capps, who won in Denver, the first of the three Swing races and reached the semis in the second in Seattle. “Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) was confident with having a new car built and I had the confidence that the NAPA crew guys and the DSR chassis guys had put together a good car. To win in Denver, get the points lead back and have the success we’ve had the last couple of races, is a testament to the hard work of the NAPA crew and the guys back at the shop. My hat’s off to them.

“We’re slightly looking out in front of us at the Countdown scenario. It’s out on the horizon, but we’re still focused on every run that we make and right now the goal is to be in first leaving Indianapolis and gain that extra 20 bonus points for leading going into the Countdown. If we keep going rounds, that will be a successful goal.”

Capps’ Sonoma record includes one victory in 1997, two runner-ups in 2002 and 2005, and a No. 1 qualifier in 1998.


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

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