RON CAPPS: "HAVING LANE CHOICE IN HOUSTON IS KEY"


Following a strong performance at the Inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Concord, N.C., last week, Ron Capps is eager to return to two-wide competition this weekend at the 23rd annual NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

Capps, who drives the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, finished third in Concord and stands second in the point standings behind leader John Force (89 markers back). His DSR teammates Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan are third and fifth, respectively, with Ashley Force Hood in fourth. It looks like it will be an ongoing DSR-versus-JFR (John Force Racing) battle to the finish this season.

"Right now everybody is kind of taking a deep breath coming away from the Concord four-wide race," said Capps, the Houston Funny Car champion in 2006 and 2007. "We're excited about getting back to 'normal' drag racing. And going to a track where you've won before definitely plays a part in the confidence of the team.

"Houston has been very, very tricky in the past. We've had some bumps and some dips in the race track surface that really caused the crew chiefs to be even more on their games as the drivers had to be able to navigate around some of the tricky spots on the track.

"In the last two years, lane choice was so important that qualifying well was a premium. You had to make sure you qualified in the top half of the field. Right now I feel our NAPA Dodge is very capable of not only that but of being No. 1 qualifier.

"We always talk about what the weather could and should bring and I think a lot depends on that in Houston. The weather can change so quickly there. The cream always rises to the top, for sure, especially with crew chiefs, and I believe that, going to a track as tricky as Houston, it will be really good to have a crew chief like Ed 'Ace' McCulloch."

As a driver, McCulloch was the 1993 Top Fuel champion at Houston Raceway Park.

RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:

  • No. 2 in 2010 Funny Car points, after four events (one runner-up, one quarterfinal, two semifinal)
  • Has two wins in Houston in Funny Car: back-to-back in 2006 and 2007
  • Qualified No. 14 in '09 Houston; lost first round to Ashley Force Hood
  • 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 in 12 of the first 14 events
  • Currently holds the national record racing to 1000 feet of 4.023 seconds (Phoenix 2009)
  • Qualified No. 1 three times in 2009 (Phoenix, St. Louis, Denver); none in 2010 so far
  • Has nine career No. 1 qualifiers
  • No. 8 in 2008 Funny Car points; two runner-up, five semifinal, four quarterfinal finishes, 13 first-rounds
  • Is tied with Tony Pedregon with longest qualifying streak among active Funny Car drivers: 66
  • 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
  • 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 378-277
  • Capps' career-best speed racing to 1000 feet is 312.35 mph (Gainesville 2010)
  • Capps' career record against 14-time champion John Force is 22-42 in round wins. He's won 14 of the last 20 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