CAPPS HEADS STRAIGHT TO CHICAGO FOR ROUTE 66 NATIONALS THIS WEEKEND


Originally, Ron Capps, the 2009 NHRA Funny Car points leader and four-time national-event winner this season, was planning to make a detour to run in Wednesday nights’s Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Instead, persistent rain has postponed that event to Sept. 9., and Capps is turning around and heading directly to Joliet, Ill., for this weekend's NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

"It's unfortunate, but on the bright side, and this happened a few years ago when it was rained out, is that the rain-out date is going to be Wednesday night, Sept. 9," said Capps. "And it happens to be right after the biggest race on our NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, the U.S. Nationals, which we run on Monday, Labor Day, in Indianapolis. So, I'll be able to stay in town again and cruise over and run the Prelude. It will be held prior to what they call ‘The World,’ which is one of the biggest Late Model races they have. It's going to be just as big an event and we expect the weather will be good at that time."

Capps will arrive in Joliet, west of Chicago, holding a 119-point margin over second-place Del Worsham, following his win last Sunday at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.). He's the 2005 Funny Car titlist at Route 66 Raceway and the 2007 runner-up at one of his favorite tracks on the circuit.

"Chicago is a track which every year, even with conditions that aren't cool, is considered one of the best tracks we go to, surface-wise. Lanny Miglizzi, our 'track whisperer,' as Tony Schumacher once called him, gets so excited when we roll into Chicago, because it's a place where you can automatically throw a lot more clutch into these cars and that only means good things for a driver. It means hang on and pull your belts tighter.

"On top of that, my crew chief Ed ‘Ace’ McCulloch says that conditions look like they're going to be pretty darned good. It looks like temperatures will be in the 70s, and any time we go to Chicago and conditions are good and it's not too hot there's a chance of really putting some horsepower down on the track.

"A good track in good conditions often evens things up. A fine example is Topeka last weekend. Conditions got so warm and difficult to get down the track, that it seemed to separate the really good crew chiefs at that time from ones that might be struggling.

"At this time of year, when we have seven races in nine weeks, especially starting a three-race swing with Chicago right in the middle, it's kind of neat to see Chicago on the schedule. Because we know these next few races during the summer will be under very difficult and tricky conditions.

"When you can get to a track like Chicago where we know the surface is just outstanding and it will hold just about anything you throw at it, it gives you en extra boost of confidence. It's kind of the last hurrah of really good conditions and good tracks before we get to these upcoming 'summer' tracks."

RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:
* No. 1 in 2009 Funny Car points, after winning four in five final rounds of the first nine races of the season (Pomona, Calif., Phoenix, Las Vegas, Topeka)
* Leads Del Worsham by 119 points
* Round win-loss record in 2009 is 21-5
* Chicago winner in 2005; runner-up in 2007
* Qualified fourth in Joliet in 2008, lost first round to Scott Kalitta
* 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: 48
* 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 nine career No. 1 qualifiers, none in 2006, '07 or '08. Two 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 29 event wins in 59 final rounds to his credit (28 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 354-260
* Capps' career record against 14-time champion Force is 20-41 in round wins. He's won 12 of the last 17 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

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:    
FRIDAY, June 5 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
SATURDAY, June 6 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at noon and 3:00 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 7 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10:30 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.
 
TELEVISION:      
Saturday, June 6, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 10:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday June 7, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air NHRA Race Day at 11 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, June 7, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of eliminations at 4 p.m. (ET).

SATELLITE:  
Friday, June 5, 10:30 - 11 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 3K (11760 MHz, vertical)
(Analog feed)  Saturday, June 6, 7:30 - 8 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 3K (11760 MHz, vertical)
Sunday, June 7, 730 - 8 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 11K (11760 MHz, vertical)