CARLSBAD, Calif. (Sept. 30, 2009) – Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car regrouped following the Ennis, Texas, NHRA Fall Nationals last Sunday and tested at the Texas Motorplex on Monday, pulling out the chassis that won them four races in the beginning of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Raciing Series. With two successful passes completed, Capps and the NAPA team are ready to attack the NHRA Mid-South Nationals this weekend in Memphis, the third of four back-to-back national events before the circus heads West for the final two events in Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.
"We stayed and tested in Texas on Monday," said Capps, who is sixth in the Countdown to 1 playoffs following two first-round exits in the first two events of the playoffs. "We pulled out the car that we had run the first half of the year.
"Even though you have cars that are built identically to each other, you hear a lot about a crew chief finally just going back to the car he knows best. We hear about it all the time in the Pro Stock class. You struggle a little bit and you start to think maybe it's your tune-up. And then, lo and behold, you go back to a proven chassis that you know will react to what the commands are from the crew chief, and it reacts right away.
"That's what happened to us. We stayed on Monday and basically just went back to what we knew.
"We had pulled out a new car in Norwalk (Ohio) this year. It was the sister to the chassis we ran the first half of the year and we front-halved the car that we'd been running the first half of the year - the one that won four races for us and is the current holder of the national elapsed-time record (4.023 seconds in Phoenix).
"You just don’t think that a car that has been built identically is going to be any different. First pass on Monday the car ran 4.18 (seconds) in conditions that were quite a bit warmer than in the first round on Sunday. And Sunday's quickest run was a 4.17 by Bob Tasca. That was very encouraging. It went right down the track like it had in the past. We ran 4.18 and 4.17 in two passes.
"We asked ourselves, is it too late now? We're not sure," he said of his chances to move up in the standings. "We're going to give it a heck of a try and we think, if we can run the way we ran earlier in the year and if we run the way we ran on Monday, we should have a great chance.
"Robert Hight's team went from last to first in two races, and we've got four left. A couple of top-running cars in the Countdown also went out early in those first two races, so the points are tightened up. It’s anybody’s game.
"We're going to rely on some luck in Memphis," added Capps, the 2000 titlist there and 2005 runner-up.
RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:
* No. 6 in Countdown to 1 playoffs, following second event in Concord, N.C. - two first-round losses
* Is 94 points out of first place
* No. 2 in 2009 Funny Car "regular season" after winning class-best five in seven final rounds of the first 18 races of the season (Pomona, Calif., Phoenix, Las Vegas, Topeka, Denver)
* Round win-loss record in 2009 is 32-15
* Currently holds the national record racing to 1000 feet of 4.023 seconds (Phoenix 2009)
* Memphis winner in 2000; runner-up in 2005
* Qualified No. 10 in 2008 Memphis, lost first round to Robert Hight
* 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: 59
* 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. Three in 2009 so far (Phoenix, St. Louis, Denver)
* 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 30 event wins in 61 final rounds to his credit (29 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 (racing to 1320 feet)
* His career-best speed is 331.61 mph (Pomona 1, '07) - racing to 1320 feet
* Capps' career round win-loss record is 365-269
* Capps' career record against 14-time champion Force is 21-41 in round wins. He's won 13 of the last 18 meetings against Force, and has won five of the last seven first-round match-ups over Force
* Age 44 (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
FRIDAY, Oct. 2 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 2:15 and 4:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, Oct. 3 - PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
SUNDAY, Oct. 4 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 10:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Oct. 4, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute news magazine show, at 11 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Oct. 4, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of eliminations at 7 p.m. (ET).
Friday, Oct. 2, 8 - 8:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 16 / Transponder 14K (11980 MHz, horizontal)
Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:30 - 8 p.m. (ET), AMC 16 / Transponder 14K (11980 MHz, horizontal)
Sunday, Oct. 4, 7 - 7:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 16 / Transponder 14K (11980 MHz, horizontal)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.