TOPEKA, Kan. (May 19, 2012) - Ron Capps rushed from one interview to another on Saturday afternoon during the Dollar General NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
After making his first Funny Car qualifying pass on Saturday afternoon, Capps had to pack his parachutes. It's good he's been doing that for almost 20 years because several were awaiting his presence.
There was a patient newspaper reporter waiting for Capps to complete an interview with an ESPN2 crew. Then there were photos to be taken with the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member.
As Capps finally was able to take a breath and talk about his wondrous turnaround he jokingly told Gregory Halling of Indiana's The Elkhart Truth newspaper, "Man, where was everybody when we weren't doing any good?"
It's attention Capps relishes since Rahn Tobler became his crew chief about six weeks ago.
While he was bouncing from request to request, the voice he reacted to instantly was that of Tobler when it was time to warm up the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car that is part of the "super team" at Don Schumacher Racing.
"It's like my career was restarted," Capps said of the realignment.
Capps is qualified No. 4 for Sunday's championship eliminations of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event in Topeka where he is trying to win a second consecutive event title after winning at Atlanta two weeks ago.
Since Tobler and Capps were teamed by owner Don Schumacher after Capps' car didn't qualify April 1 at Las Vegas, they have advanced to the final round in each of three events in which they've been teammates.
"I'm feeling like I'm starting to run out of words talking about how much fun I'm having driving Tobler's race car," Capps said.
"Several times this weekend, Rahn reached into the (clutch management control) box and made the move to be safe rather than sorry and this NAPA car made it down the track all four runs again. That's some crazy number like 45 of 46 passes this car has gone down the track. That allows you to gather data and I'm as confident as I've ever been going into race day on Sunday."
Capps hopes to be in even greater demand after Sunday's championship round.
The following are final qualifying results and other notes:
No. 1 qualifier: Cruz Pedregon (4.046 sec., 315.56 mph)
Ron Capps, NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger R/T
Final qualifying position: No. 4
First round opponent: No. 13 Jeff Arend
Session 1: 4.192 sec., 298.93 mph
Session 2: 4.078, 307.09
Session 3: 4.156, 299.80
Session 4: 4.152, 300.66
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