A THREE-TIME RUNNER-UP, CAPPS SEEKS FIRST ATLANTA WIN


In his 30 national-event wins in 62 final rounds since 1995, Ron Capps has never landed in the winner's circle at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. He's been runner-up three times, in 1995, 2000 and 2001, and hopes that he and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car team will earn that elusive victory at this weekend's 30th annual NHRA Southern Nationals.

"I'm not sure we have to do anything different," said Capps, who's reached one final and three semifinal rounds so far this year in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. "We've had good success there in the past. We've gone rounds and run well, but never closed the deal. It's one of the few tracks I haven't won at in my career. But, I think if we dwell too much on that, it's going to be more of a hindrance than a help right now.

"One thing I've always looked at, and I've said it time and time again, is that we can go to different tracks in different conditions and I always feel very comfortable with Ed 'Ace' McCulloch as my crew chief.

"This race in Commerce is very important on the circuit, and it has become even more so in the last few years, because our sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS is based out of Atlanta, just south of the Atlanta Dragway.

"You ask any of the drivers and they will tell you that one of the most important places they want to win at is where their sponsor's headquarters are located. You definitely want to show off to the bosses. We have some corporate people coming out this weekend who haven't been to a drag race yet, and it's going to be exciting for us to showcase our sport to some of these executives at NAPA AUTO PARTS.

"And nothing would be better than on Monday morning, before getting on the airplane, to be able to go to the headquarters and hand the trophy over to them.

"We had a great race in St. Louis," added Capps, who went to the semifinal round there two weeks ago. "We tested some things back in Vegas that we thought would help us improve the car's performance through the summer months at the marginal tracks. And that's exactly what Ace has done. The NAPA crew guys have really worked hard at it and it's neat to see that all come to fruition.

"It's difficult with all the different conditions we've had so far this year. And sometimes we've had rain thrown at us, which caused us to lose a qualifying session at some events. All in all, with the way the NAPA Dodge is running, it gives me a lot of confidence as a driver to be able to race under any conditions, on any track surface, and still have a car that will go down the track at a very good pace.

"I feel very good about it."

RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:

  • No. 4 in 2010 Funny Car points, after seven events (one runner-up, one quarterfinal, three semifinal, two first rounds)
  • Has no wins at Atlanta Dragway; three runner-ups: 1995, 2000 and 2001
  • Qualified No. 3 at 2009 Atlanta event; lost second round to Tim Wilkerson
  • 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: 70
  • 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 unny 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 380-280
  • Capps' career-best speed racing to 1000 feet is 313.80 mph (Concord 2010)
  • (THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE FOUR-WIDE RACE IN CONCORD) 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