ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 31, 2011 – Having become the 16th driver in NHRA history to reach the 400-round win plateau with a first-round victory at the season's last race, Ron Capps believes the stage is set for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car to take off and this weekend's 42nd annual NHRA SuperNationals here at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park would be the perfect launching pad.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver, who won this race in 2006 and also reached the finals in 2003 and 2005, attributes his optimism to the leadership of Tim Richards, with this his third race as the NAPA crew chief.
"The confidence within the entire team just keeps building after a couple of races with Tim in control," said the Southern Californian. "He's a great old-school crew chief - he knows how to battle on Sundays. When you have won as many championships as Tim has (six), I don't care when or with what kind of car, he's a champion.
"A drag-race team in this day and age is dependent upon the crew chief and Tim's everything you need in that: a leader and a go-to guy. I feel like with Tim and our NAPA crew, we are going to win a lot of races the rest of the year."
Capps, who comes to the Garden State holding the 10th, and final-playoff spot, in the Funny Car standings, can barely contain his excitement when talking about racing at Englishtown, both for its history and the potential for great runs.
"We have races that are big races," said Capps, winner of 31 national events. "My Englishtown trophy is one of the most prized possessions I have - period! I keep it right next to my Pomona trophy.
"I grew up reading about and hearing about this race, this track, even the commercials! To come here and do well, that's a drag-racer's dream."
Doing well here can mean going fast, especially in the cool air during Friday evening qualifying. The Raceway Park elapsed-time record is 4.025 seconds, while the national Funny Car 1,000-foot E.T. mark is 4.011.
"When conditions are (relatively) cool, this is as fast and as good a race track that we go to," he explained. "I truly believe the Friday night session is going to possibly hold a national record run; it might not be backed up, but I think the fans on Friday night could see some of the quickest Funny Car runs in NHRA history.
"And we'll be right there, because Tim, like the other DSR Funny Car crew chiefs Tommy DeLago, Lee Beard and Rahn Tobler, is not content to simply go down the race track when there's a chance to get the number-one spot."
The first two nitro-qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:30 and 7 p.m. Friday, with the third and fourth beginning at noon Saturday. Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. Sunday (all times EDT).
FRIDAY, June 3 - Full Throttle Series nitro qualifying 4:30 and 7 p.m. EDT
SATURDAY, June 4 - Full Throttle Series nitro qualifying 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. EDT
SUNDAY, June 5 - Pre-race ceremonies 10 a.m.; Full Throttle Series eliminations begin at 11 a.m. EDT
Saturday, June 4 -- ESPN2/ESPN2HD will televise an hour and a half of qualification highlights 5:30-7 p.m. EDT
Sunday, May 22 -- ESPN2/ESPN2HD will televise two and a half hours of eliminations coverage 4:30-7 p.m. EDT
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS after the seventh of 16 races in the "regular" season: