BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 3, 2012) - Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team are headed to Reading, Pa., this week and he's not concerned that Maple Grove Raceway is one of only three tracks where he has not won an NHRA event title.
He's never won at Norwalk, Ohio, but the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series only has competed there since 2007. He doesn't own a U.S. Nationals trophy from the track near Indianapolis but has won three all-star races there.
And the points leader in Funny Car isn't daunted by not having won at Maple Grove, where he's raced since 1997.
"I've run good there and been close to winning," he said of runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2000.
This year, however, he grew very fond of racing on the East Coast. On May 31 at Englishtown, N.J., Capps, with a tune-up from crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant John Collins, recorded the quickest time ever by a Funny Car at 3.964 seconds and second fastest speed ever of 320.89 mph.
"We showed at Englishtown we know how to run in good conditions," Capps said.
"We've got a good hot rod. There's still 20 bonus points out there for someone who sets a national (elapsed time) record, and there are several cars out here that could do it, and we're very capable of doing it.
"It will be fun."
Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T will begin qualifying Friday with a 30-point lead in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship after three of six events in drag racing's playoff.
DSR teammate Jack Beckman, who is second to Capps in points, took a big chunk out of Capps' 96-point lead last weekend near St. Louis when Beckman won the event title and Capps lost in the second round after a rare incident for his team when his Dodge lost traction and smoked the tires to lose to DSR teammate Matt Hagan.
What made it surprising was Capps had the quickest run of the first round when his Dodge completed a pass in 4.072 seconds that also was quickest of the day in Funny Car.
"Rahn showed what he's made of in the first round when we were the quickest of the round so we would have lane choice. About halfway down the track against Matt it started to shake and smoke the tires, but Matt and (crew chief Tommy DeLago) have had one of the best cars out here lately. We knew it would take a good run to beat them."
Hagan, the reigning Funny Car world champion, had a subpar first half of the season and didn't qualify for the Countdown so he can't compete for this year's championship. But Capps said when he's at the line he's not thinking about whether he's paired against a car that he's battling for the championship.
"When I go out there I'm really not thinking about who's in the Countdown and who isn't. I get so engrossed in what's going on at the track that it doesn't register whether or not the car in the other lane is in the Countdown until I'm watching the replay on ESPN2 or someone tells me."
But it's a sure thing other Countdown contestants know exactly what Capps is doing.
"That sound you heard after we lost was everybody in the Funny Car pit area cheering because we went out. That's how it is; I've been there. Everybody wants to gain ground. That's OK.
"The nice thing is we go right back at it this weekend at Reading, and the weather is showing it will be cool and get in the 60s. It's going to be really fast. As a driver, it excites me to know I'll strap in and have to hold on.
"We'll see what happens. I'm up for when these guys throw the pressure at us. We can put out a good hand and raise them. It was fun to do it in the first round, and I think we can do it all weekend in Pennsylvania."
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Career at Maple Grove Raceway: Wins 0, Runner-ups 2 (1999-00), Poles 0
2011 at Maple Grove Raceway: Qualified No. 6; lost in first round
2012 Pts Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
1st 20 4 3 2 1 39-15
Career Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
384 37 39 13 17 464-330
NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
Countdown to the Championship
(Thru Sept. 30, 2012; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS, 2,361
2. JACK BECKMAN, 2,331
3. Mike Neff, 2,262
4. Cruz Pedregon, 2,202
5. Tim Wilkerson, 2,197
6. Courtney Force, 2,180
7. Robert Hight, 2,179
8. JOHNNY GRAY, 2,149
9. Jeff Arend, 2,148
10. John Force, 2,143
11. MATT HAGAN, 1077
NEXT FULL THROTTLE EVENT: Reading, Pa.
Friday: Qualifying, 2 p.m., 5 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, Noon, 3p.m.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
(Times are ET, schedule subject to change)
SUNDAY: Qualifying, 12:30 a.m., 6 p.m.
SUNDAY: Eliminations, 7 p.m.
FRIDAY: High 80; 10 percent chance of rain
SATURDAY: High 64; 40 percent chance of showers
SUNDAY: High 55; 40 percent chance of showers
UPCOMING FULL THROTTLE EVENTS
Oct. 25-28, Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas
Nov. 8-11, Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.
About NAPA AUTO PARTS
NAPA was founded in 1925 to meet America's growing need for a world-class auto parts distribution system. By providing excellent customer service for more than 80 years, NAPA has become the industry leader.
NAPA's strength is unrivaled, with over 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, 64 Distribution Centers, than 13,000 NAPA AutoCare, AutoCare Collision and Truck Service repair facilities, over 400,000 parts in inventory every day and the convenience of 24-hour shopping with NAPAonline. NAPA AUTO PARTS stores provide friendly, personalized service. Our highly trained and experienced professionals are here to help you get the job done. With our huge in-stock inventory, NAPA provides the parts you need when you need them.
For your automotive repair needs, NAPA AutoCare and AutoCare Collision and Truck Service Centers can handle everything from preventive maintenance to major repairs. Technicians at NAPA AutoCare Centers have access to the most extensive training in the automotive industry. Qualifying repairs are backed by the NAPA AutoCare "Peace of Mind" Warranty, providing our customers with 12-months/12,000 miles of worry-free protection on qualifying parts and labor. Wherever you may travel, our warranty is honored at all NAPA AutoCare Center locations across the country.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 195 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
- 195 -
Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.