Ron Capps is not resting on his laurels after winning the season-opening NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series national event in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago. Instead, he, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car team are aiming to keep this momentum rolling right along through hard work and savvy strategy as they head to the second event of the season at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., this weekend.

"We learned how to race the Countdown in the past, especially the first year (2007)," said Capps, the points leader after one event. "We led the standings all the way through the year and then we had the Countdown kick in and we fell back. We, and I believe every other competitor, learned it didn't matter where you were in points going into the Countdown.

"Cruz (Pedregon) proved that last year. I think he went into the Countdown fifth or so and demonstrated that you didn't need to be first, second or third in the points going into the Countdown to win a championship.

“As a team Ace and I and the NAPA guys are going to focus on winning races this year and let the points all fall into place, rather than look at the big picture of getting into the Countdown. We're going to attack every race like it's a must-win situation.

"That methodical approach by Ace came into effect in Pomona. It just showed throughout the weekend that even with the addition of two days and having to race the final three rounds on Tuesday, everyone on the NAPA team kept their composure and we were able to get up and get motivated for each race, and come out the winner."

Capps was the Funny Car winner at Firebird International Raceway in 2003, No. 1 qualifier in 2000 and runner-up three times (1998, 2000, 2005).

"Going to a place where you've won before is always a good thing for any team," he said. "But, these days you just can't take the data that you had from a previous year anymore. We did test there a few weeks ago but we were also on a mission to test things out of the ordinary and we didn't go past half-track. The track will be different this weekend than it was in testing. I think after just having one qualifying shot to get into the show in Pomona, it will be nice to have all four runs in Phoenix.

"You're only as good as your last run, not even your last race,” added Capps, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship. "So it will be nice to show up on Friday and be at the back of the pack in qualifying in the first session and concentrate on getting our NAPA car qualified in the top of the field."


  • No. 1 in 2009 Funny Car points, after winning the season-opener in Pomona, Calif.
  • No. 8 in 2008 Funny Car points; two runner-up, five semifinal, four quarterfinal finishes, 13 first-rounds
  • Firebird FC winner in 2003; runner-up three times (1998, 2000, 2005); low qualifier in 2000.
  • 2008 round win-loss record is 20-24
  • Is tied with Tony Pedregon with longest qualifying streak among active Funny Car drivers: 40
  • No. 4 in 2007 Funny Car point standings
  • Led 2007 Funny Car point standings by as much as 154 points through 14 of the first 17 races of the season
  • NAPA AUTO PARTS is primary sponsor for second straight season
  • Joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2005
  • Has three U.S. Smokeless Showdown titles: 1998, 1999 and 2002
  • Third in 2006 final point standings
  • Had class-best five wins in 2006
  • Had three wins, four runner-up finishes in 2005 (St. Louis was his first
    win for DSR in '05)
  • 2005 Funny Car championship runner-up, eight points short of title
  • Qualified No. 1 once in 2005, in Dallas; first time since Brainerd 2000
  • Has seven career No. 1 qualifiers, none in 2006, '07 or '08
  • A perennial fan favorite, Capps has driven and won in both Top Fuel and Funny Cars since he began his pro NHRA career in 1995
  • His best season points finishes were seconds in Funny Car in 1998, 2000 and 2005
  • He has 26 event wins in 55 final rounds to his credit (25 national event wins in Funny Car, one in Top Fuel)
  • His career-best elapsed time (established during an event) is 4.694 seconds, set in 2005 in Dallas
  • His career-best speed is 331.61 mph (Pomona 1, '07)
  • Capps' career round win-loss record is 337-255
  • Capps' career record against 14-time champion Force is 18-41 in round wins. He's won 10 of the last 15 meetings against Force, and has won five of the last seven first-round match-ups over Force
  • Age 43 (June 20, 1965); born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  • Lives in Carlsbad, Calif., with wife Shelley and daughter Taylor (7/25/96) and son Caden (7/1/01)
  • Has tested for IROC Series and competed in Skip Barber Formula Ford, Dirt Late Models, Mini-Sprints and Go-Karts


SUNDAY, Feb. 22 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.

Sunday, Feb. 22, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at midnight (ET).
Sunday, Feb. 22, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute pre-race show, at 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, Feb. 22, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of final eliminations at 7 p.m. (ET).

Friday, Feb. 20, 10-10:30 p.m. (ET) - AMC 15 / Transponder 9 K (Downlink Frequency: 11880 MHz, Vertical)
Saturday, Feb. 21, 8:30-9 p.m. (ET) - AMC 15 / Transponder 9 K (Downlink Frequency: 11880 MHz, Vertical)
Sunday, Feb. 22, 10:30-11 p.m. (ET) - AMC 15 / Transponder 9 K (Downlink Frequency: 11880 MHz, Vertical)