Keeping Pace

Capps heads straight to Chicago for Route 66 Nationals

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 arrives in Joliet, west of Chicago, holding a 119-point margin over second-place Del Worsham, following his win last Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka. He’s the 2005 Funny Car titlist at Route 66 Raceway and the 2007 runner-up at one of his favorite tracks on the circuit.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Chicago, Ill. Originally, Ron Capps, the 2009 NHRA Funny Car points leader and four-time national event winner this season, was planning to make a detour to run in Wednesday evening's Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Instead, persistent rain postponed that event to Sept. 9, and Capps is turning around and heading directly to Chicago for this weekend’s NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

“It’s unfortunate, but the bright side, and this happened a few years ago when it was rained out, is that the rain-out date is going to be Wednesday night, Sept. 9,” said Capps. “And it happens to be right after the biggest race on our NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, the U.S. Nationals, which we run on Monday, Labor Day, in Indianapolis. So, I’ll be able to stay in town again and cruise over and run the Prelude. It will be held prior to what they call ‘The World,’ which is one of the biggest Late Model races they have. It’s going to be just as big an event, and we expect the weather will be good at that time.”

Capps will arrive in Joliet, west of Chicago, holding a 119-point margin over second-place Del Worsham, following his win last Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka. He’s the 2005 Funny Car titlist at Route 66 Raceway and the 2007 runner-up at one of his favorite tracks on the circuit.

Chicago is a track which every year, even with conditions that aren't cool, is considered one of the best tracks we go to, surface-wise,” said Capps. “Lanny Miglizzi, our ‘track whisperer,’ as Tony Schumacher once called him, gets so excited when we roll into Chicago, because it’s a place where you can automatically throw a lot more clutch into these cars and that only means good things for a driver. It means hang on and pull your belts tighter.

“On top of that, my crew chief, Ed ‘Ace’ McCulloch, says that conditions look like they’re going to be pretty darned good. It looks like temperatures will be in the 70s, and any time we go to Chicago and conditions are good and it’s not too hot there’s a chance of really putting some horsepower down on the track.

“A good track in good conditions often evens things up. A fine example is Topeka last weekend. Conditions got so warm and difficult to get down the track that it seemed to separate the really good crew chiefs at that time from ones that might be struggling.

“At this time of year, when we have seven races in nine weeks, especially starting a three-race swing with Chicago right in the middle, it’s kind of neat to see Chicago on the schedule because we know these next few races during the summer will be under very difficult and tricky conditions.

“When you can get to a track like Chicago where we know the surface is just outstanding and it will hold just about anything you throw at it, it gives you en extra boost of confidence. It’s kind of the last hurrah of really good conditions and good tracks before we get to these upcoming ‘summer’ tracks.”




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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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