CAPPS PREPARED FOR EMOTIONAL NORWALK RACE


With the crew chief change announced this week on the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car team, Ron Capps is preparing himself for an emotional fourth annual NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, this weekend.

Team owner Don Schumacher announced on Sunday that John Medlen, who came on board at Don Schumacher Racing earlier this year to help tune the Funny Car driven by Matt Hagan, would now take over as crew chief on the NAPA car. Capps' longtime tuner Ed "Ace" McCulloch would become a consultant to all three DSR Funny Car teams. Capps and McCulloch both joined DSR in 2005.

"This is probably one of the bigger races in my career," said Capps. "It's not the first race of the Countdown or even the last race of the year, but it's going to be so much different for me not having Ed McCulloch as my crew chief. John Medlen will now be the one pointing into the windshield before I make a run.

"It's going to be an emotional race, but you have to put all that aside and focus on what's going on right now in our 2010 season. We've slipped to seventh in the points and there are only five races left before the Countdown to 1 playoffs starts and thatís when reality starts to hit. We saw the drama unfold last year when in the last race of the regular season there were several teams trying to get into the 10th and final spot. Our NAPA team is way too good of a team to be focused on that part of it.

"When you go through a change like this, it can be emotional, and at times it feels a little personal. You have to put that aside and think about the business side of it. One great thing about being with DSR is that there is such a great support system in place, that having Ed McCulloch stay on board and work with all the Funny Car teams, including the NAPA team, can only make everybody better.

"We know that if we get into the Countdown, we as a team are as good and as capable as any other team out there, if not more capable than some. It all comes down to confidence. With the Countdown being six races you obviously have to peak at the right time but, when you're in the middle of the summer months of racing, like we are going into Norwalk this weekend, there's nothing better than having confidence in your team.

"When you have challenges thrown at you like this, you really learn a lot about yourself. You learn about the people around you and, to be honest with you, it's going to be fun to work our way back to the top.

"WI was very close to Eric Medlen (who lost his life in a testing accident in 2007) and I've gotten to know John Medlen pretty well, and even more so when he came to DSR. And, after all those years watching John point his finger at his son Eric before he made a run, I am now going to be the one John points at before we make a run. It's going to be very unique."

RON CAPPS QUICK FACTS:

  • No. 7 in 2010 Funny Car points, after 12 events (one runner-up, two quarterfinal, four semifinal, five first rounds)
  • Has no wins in Norwalk
  • Qualified No. 4 at 2009 Norwalk event; lost second 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
  • 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: 75
  • 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, with class-best five wins
  • 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 385-286
  • His career quickest ET at 1000 feet is 2.023 seconds (Phoenix 2009)
  • Capps' career-best speed racing to 1000 feet is 314.09 mph (Houston 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 45 (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