LAST YEAR'S EVENT CHAMP CAPPS PUMPED UP FOR PHOENIX RACE


Following their close runner-up finish in Pomona, Calif., last Sunday, Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car team are pumped up for this weekend's NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway, just outside of Phoenix. As the No. 1 qualifier in 2009 and defending event champion, Capps feels the team is strong enough to pull off a repeat of last year's success here.

"It's such an exciting part of the season," said Capps. "To show up in Pomona and do as well as we did after the preseason test went so well, is very encouraging. Even though we lost a close final round there, we're excited to get to the next race and return to Firebird.

"It's better at this point in time to go back to a track where we not only won, but where we set the current national record at 4.023 seconds last year. And what I recall about that race and what excites me about going back there is the final round. We had a single run in the final round against Mike Neff (who couldn't engage reverse gear after the burnout), and Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) really showed what he was made of when he tuned the car to run a 4.048/306.81 lap, despite being guaranteed the win.

"It just put an exclamation point on such a great weekend.”

"Phoenix has always been a place where the weather is good, so you don't have to worry about that, and the crowds are always great. I know the whole NAPA team is pumped up about racing at Firebird."

RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:

  • No. 2 in 2010 Funny Car points, after one event (runner-up in Pomona)
  • Ended 2009 season No. 3 in the point standings
  • Won class-best five events in 2009 - Pomona 1, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Topeka, Denver - in seven final rounds
  • Entered 2009 Countdown to 1 No. 2 in 2009 Funny Car "regular season" after leading standings in12 of the first 14 events
  • Qualified No. 1 three times in 2009
  • Round win-loss record in 2009 is 39-19
  • Currently holds the national record racing to 1000 feet of 4.023 seconds (Phoenix 2009)
  • Qualified No. 1 in Phoenix in 2009; won final against Mike Neff
  • Phoenix winner in 2003 and 2009
  • Phoenix No. 1 qualifier in 2000 and 2009
  • Three times a runner-up in Phoenix: 1998, 2000 and 2005
  • 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: 64
  • 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 third 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  (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 62 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 375-275
  • Capps' career-best speed racing to 1000 feet is 310.55 mph (Las Vegas 2, 2009)
  • Capps' career record against 14-time champion John Force is 21-42 in round wins. He's won 13 of the last 19 meetings against Force, and has won five of the last seven first-round match-ups over Force. His final-round record against Force is 3-1
  • 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


WEEKEND SCHEDULE:    
FRIDAY, Feb. 19 – FULL THROTTLE SERIES QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
SATURDAY, Feb. 20 – FULL THROTTLE SERIES QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
SUNDAY, Feb. 21 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:  
Sunday, Feb. 21, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 2 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Feb. 21, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute news magazine show, at 11a.m. (ET)
Sunday, Feb. 21, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of coverage starting at 7 p.m. (ET).

SATELLITE:    
Friday, Feb. 19, 8:30 - 9 p.m. (ET), AMC 9 / Transponder 24K (12180 MHz, vertical) (Analog feed)   
Saturday, Feb. 20, 9:30 - 10.m. (ET), AMC 9 / Transponder 24K (12180 MHz, vertical)
Sunday, Feb. 21, 9 - 9:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 9 / Transponder 24K (12180 MHz, vertical)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.