CARLSBAD, Calif. (Mar. 24, 2009) -Ron Capps, Funny Car points leader in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, is shooting not only for his third NHRA Spring Nationals victory at Houston Raceway Park but also his third triumph of the season.

Winner of the first two of three 2009 national events and back-to-back Houston champion in 2006 and 2007, Capps is ready to steer the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car back into the winner's circle after a first-round loss at the last event in Gainesville, Fla.

"I say it every year,” said Capps, who leads the field by 38 markers. “No matter where we are in the standings, we don't ever start counting the points or looking at them until we're in Gainesville or Houston and things kind of settle down and the points start being what they're going to be.

"Obviously, it was a huge disappointment to go out early in Gainesville after winning the first two races. That being said, we have a car that should have won the race in Gainesville and I as a driver didn't do my job as I'm used to doing.

"The good news is that we definitely have a car that can win any race that we show up to. It's going to be a very fun year. I know we're going to see the winner's circle again, for sure.

"It's such a great feeling to have the kind of energy that our NAPA AUTO PARTS team has right now. And, going to a race like Houston where we’ve won back-to-back, elevates our adrenaline level. It's nice to return to a track you've had success at, no matter what. Any driver will tell you that.

"We seem to have a big target on our backs and that showed in Gainesville. Guys are going to take shots at you whether it's at the Christmas Tree or on the track. And it reminds me, I guess, of the old days, when you'd put a notch in your belt for knocking off somebody whose had success.

"If somebody's on a roll and you can stop his or her momentum, you feel you're helping the whole class and helping everybody in the points. It's a tough deal, but we feel the same way.

"Being the points leader also comes with being able to roll into town, get a little extra media attention and know that you have a lot of confidence in your team."


  • No. 1 in 2009 Funny Car points, after winning the first two races of the season in Pomona, Calif., and Phoenix
    * Round win-loss record in 2009 is 8-1
    * Houston FC winner in 2006 and 2007
    * Qualified No. 5 in 2008 Houston, lost first round to Tim Wilkerson
    * No. 8 in 2008 Funny Car points; two runner-up, five semifinal, four quarterfinal finishes, 13 first-rounds
    * 2008 round win-loss record was 20-24
    * Is tied with Tony Pedregon with longest qualifying streak among active Funny Car drivers: 42
    * 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 eight career No. 1 qualifiers, none in 2006, '07 or '08. One in 2009 so far
    * 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 27 event wins in 56 final rounds to his credit (26 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 341-256
    * 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

SATURDAY, March 28 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, March 29 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.

Saturday, March 28, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 8 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, March 29, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute news magazine show, at 11a.m. (ET).
Sunday, March 29, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours and thirty minutes of coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET).
Friday, March 27, 9 - 9:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 1K (11720 MHz, vertical)
Saturday, March 28, 8 - 8:30p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 1K (11720 MHz, vertical)
Sunday, March 29, 8 - 8:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 1K (11720 MHz, vertical)

Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners' interviews on Sunday.