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Keeping Pace

Capps returns to St. Louis to add to his win record

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 a win at Gateway already on his resume, Ron Capps looks to extend his record at the Illinois facility located just outside of St. Louis.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Madison, Illinois-Ron Capps returns to Gateway Int’l Raceway for this weekend's 14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals as the top Funny Car winner at this track located outside of St. Louis. Capps, who drives the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing, boasts three victories at Gateway, more than any of his competitors. He'd like to add to that record on Sunday by scoring his first triumph of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.


"St. Louis has always been special to me and our team," said Capps, fourth in the points standings after six of 23 events so far. "Obviously, winning there as many times as we have is something that makes you fond of going back to that track.


"More than that for me is that I won the inaugural race there (in 1997) and it also was my very first Funny Car win. For many years that race was held in temperatures of over 100 degrees, and the humidity was very high. And we've always said that it takes a big team effort to win a race like that because you really have to come together as a team. The driver has to do his job and the crew chief has to be on his game to get the car down the track in those conditions.


"In 2007, when we won our last race in St. Louis, we faced some challenges," added Capps, who has 30 wins in 62 final rounds to his credit. "Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) was sick with cancer and he went into surgery that weekend and that was the first time Ace had missed a race and I missed him pointing at me through the windshield at the starting line.


"We ended up winning the race with (assistant crew chief) Ronnie Thompson on the phone talking to Ace after every run while Ace was in the hospital in Indianapolis. And we got the trophy to him after winning the race.


"So, for many reasons this race has become special to me. I believe that championships have been won on these hot and humid tracks. Having the Countdown now takes away from that a little bit, but I still think that a team can show what it's made of at races like the ones we run in St. Louis."


Capps also won at Gateway in 2005 and was runner-up last year to Del Worsham after qualifying No. 1.

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Keeping Pace

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