CARLSBAD, Calif. (Nov. 10, 2009) – Ron Capps would like to end the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series the way he began it at the season opener in Pomona, Calif., by winning the 45th annual NHRA Finals this weekend at the same venue.
The driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car knows he has only a slight chance of winning his first championship this year, as he enters the season finale in fifth place, 127 markers behind points leader Robert Hight.
"Obviously, the opportunity to win a championship this year is pretty slim," said Capps, the class-best five-time winner in 2009. "But, I have to tell you, I am focused on ending the season like we did last year at this event. We went to the final round and had the quickest car. We also won here in the first race of this season, and now we have a very good chance of finishing No. 2 in the points.
"To me, that would be ending on a high note. It's a huge letdown after having the kind of year the NAPA AUTO PARTS team had but, overall, in the scheme of things, if we can finish second that would be a huge victory," added Capps, who is 22 points out of that spot. "That, and the fact that we could end the year with six wins, would be another huge accomplishment.
"The off-season could become very long if you don't have a good result at the last race of the season. It makes for a long Monday night at the awards banquet and definitely a long season. But, I can tell you, ending on a positive note and doing well at this last race will definitely help you get through the holidays better."
RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:
* No. 5 in Countdown to 1 playoffs, following five events of six
* Is 127 points out of first place (Robert Hight), 22 short of second (Ashley Force Hood)
* 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 37-18
* Currently holds the national record racing to 1000 feet of 4.023 seconds (Phoenix 2009)
* Pomona 1 winner in 1998 and 2009, Pomona 1 runner-up in 2006, Pomona 2 runner-up in 2008
* Pomona 1 low qualifier in 1999
* Qualified No. 6 in 2008 Pomona 2, runner-up to Cruz Pedregon
* 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: 62
* 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 370-273
* 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
THURSDAY, Nov. 12 – PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSION at 1:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, Nov. 13 – PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSION at 1:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, Nov. 14 – PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Nov. 15 – Pre-race ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 10:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Nov. 15, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air NHRA Race Day, at 11 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Nov. 15, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of final eliminations at 7 p.m. (ET).
SATELLITE (Analog feed):
Friday, Nov. 13, 7 - 7:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 16 / Transponder 14K (11980 MHz, horizontal)
Saturday, Nov. 14, 9:30 – 10 p.m. (ET), AMC 16 / Transponder 14K (11980 MHz, horizontal)
Sunday, Nov. 15, 10:30 - 11 p.m. (ET), AMC 16 / Transponder 14K (11980 MHz, horizontal)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.