NORWALK, OHIO, June 23, 2011 – The challenges facing Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team heading into this weekend's fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals here might seem daunting to lesser drivers and crews, but this Don Schumacher Racing group's experience defies the odds.
Capps, winner of 31 national events and 402 rounds of racing, has not yet won during the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season and for the NAPA team's relatively new crew chief, Tim Richards, with more than 70 national event wins and six championships to his credit, this will be a "short" preparation period after finishing Sunday's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. four days prior.
According to Capps, though, none of these factors can diminish his outlook for the weekend or the remainder of the season.
"This is another warm and tough track," said Capps. "It's new for Tim with a Funny Car, but his experience and talent plus the ability as part of DSR to talk to great crew chiefs like Rahn Tobler, Tommy DeLago and Lee Beard provides us with an edge over other teams and organizations.
"Racing on back-to-back weekends ups the pressure for every crew chief. Tim's got some extra pressure because this is only his fifth race of running the NAPA car, not a lot of time for anyone to master all of the technical and people aspects of the job. But Tim is special and has done a great job and the confidence of everyone on this NAPA team, starting with the driver, is way up thanks to him.
"We are running much better, getting down the race track much more consistently. When you run like we've been running the last couple of races, the round wins and race wins will come."
The Southern Californian comes to the Buckeye State sitting ninth in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship, but less than three race rounds separate him from the sixth spot in the standings.
"I'm not worried about the points or the standings at this point in the season," he said. "Now, it's about winning races and rounds, getting comfortable in the car and being in a position to challenge for the championship when the Countdown (to 1 post-regular-season playoffs) begins.
"Not only has Tim and his work been a great boost to my confidence, but my new car, which was built in-house at DSR, is so great, I am really comfortable driving it. The guys at the shop did such a great job; it's so good, I feel like I am part of the car!"
FRIDAY, June 24 - Full Throttle Series nitro qualifying 5 and 7:30 p.m. ET.
SATURDAY, June 25 - Full Throttle Series nitro qualifying 12:30 and 3 p.m. ET.
SUNDAY, June 26 - Pre-race ceremonies 10 a.m.; Full Throttle Series eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET.
Saturday, June 25 -- ESPN2/ESPN2HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights 10 p.m.-2 a.m. ET.
Sunday, June 26 -- ESPN2/ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage 8-11 p.m. ET.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS after the ninth of 16 races in the "regular" season: