Keeping Pace

With Countdown points tightened, Capps aims to move up

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)

With only four of the 10 “Countdowners” making it out of the first stanza, the standings, which had reset for the playoffs, tightened up by the end of the day. And now just 78 points separate the top eight heading into this weekend's NHRA Fall Nationals.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Dallas, pre-race: Ron Capps joined a star-studded list of Funny Car championship contenders sitting on the sidelines following the opening round of eliminations in Concord, N.C., last Sunday, in the first of six Countdown to 1 playoffs events of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. With only four of the 10 “Countdowners” making it out of the first stanza, the standings, which had reset for the playoffs, tightened up by the end of the day. And now just 78 points separate the top eight heading into this weekend's NHRA Fall Nationals.

"We weren't the only ones who were upset on Sunday," said Capps, driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Funny Car who is the 1998 Dallas winner and the 2005 polesitter at the Texas Motorplex. "Looking at the computer with Ace [crew chief Ed McCulloch] at the data after the run, it was identical to the 4.10 we ran in qualifying and the track was identical to the day before. It just didn't want to go through that certain spot on the track and it pulled the tires loose.

"So, we don't feel like there's anything to worry about. Lately, Ace has been working tirelessly on this new tune-up and you wouldn't believe the strides we've made with it in the last few races. And I believe that having the chance to improve our performance, especially when it counts during the playoffs in the next few races, is going to pay dividends.

"Going into Dallas I would love to say, 'Mark my words, we're going to be one of the teams battling for the championship in Pomona,' because I feel pretty confident we're going to qualify well and make a great run at the points there.

"In Concord, there were some upsets, a lot of people made up a lot of ground, and now you have a very, very tight battle.

"If you look at it from the fans' perspective," added Capps, who is currently fourth in the rankings and seeking his first Funny Car championship, "they have a great spectacle to watch in the next few races, because now you have the top eight drivers all within a few rounds of each other. So, anything can happen.

"We ran our quickest quarter-mile pass in Dallas in 2005 [4.694 seconds], and I've won there in the past. Ace has also done well there in the past [Funny Car win in 1987 and Top Fuel in 1992 as a driver], and it's a place I love to see on the schedule. At this point in time, I feel very comfortable."




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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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