BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2010) – 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."
RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:
FRIDAY, Feb. 20 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 1:30 and 4 p.m.
SATURDAY, Feb. 21 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at noon and 2:30 p.m.
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)