JOLIET, ILL., July 5, 2011 – The words on the side of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car Ron Capps will drive this weekend in the Route 66 NHRA Nationals here at Route 66 Raceway — "Good to Go" — carry a double meaning for the team.
The unique one-off graphics were designed to promote the month-long "NAPA 'Good to Go' Big Event" mail-in-rebate program on select batteries, starters and alternators, but, according to Capps, describe his feelings about the performance of the NAPA Funny Car since Tim Richards took over as crew chief.
"I get into the NAPA car now and am confident I'll make a solid, competitive run," said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. "The car is running much better, much more consistently since Tim came on board (five races ago). I've always been optimistic about our chances, but now I can't wait to get into the car and go racing. I am definitely 'good to go — for this race and the remainder of the season!"
"I've been saying for weeks now we will get our first win soon. We came close in Norwalk (Ohio), giving Mike Neff a very tight final-round contest. We'll get that win sooner rather than later, you can be sure of that!"
Capps qualified second for the last event in Norwalk, made two solid runs in the rain-shortened qualifying rounds and then came within .021-seconds of his first win. He lost to Neff who sits atop the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings.
The success in Ohio enabled the Southern Californian to jump three places in the standings, from ninth to sixth, and move to within three-race-round wins of fifth.
Route 66 Raceway, the first "stadium drag strip," has been friendly for Capps who won here in 2005 and finished runner up twice, in 2002 and 2007.
"Obviously, I like racing in Joliet," said the 31-time national-event winner. "This is a fast and quick track when the weather cooperates and this year we have two nights of qualifying, rather than the normal one.
"This could mean some really quick elapsed times with potentially cool night air and without any sun warming the track, but it can also make for difficult duty for crew chiefs who won't have their normal Saturday afternoon qualifying to approximate Sunday racing conditions. Again, I'm thrilled to have Tim leading the NAPA team because with his vast experience, if there is any crew chief who can handle this kind of challenge, it's him!"
FRIDAY, July 8 - Full Throttle Series nitro qualifying 6 and 9 p.m. ET.
SATURDAY, July 9 - Full Throttle Series nitro qualifying 6 and 9 p.m. ET.
SUNDAY, July 10 - Pre-race ceremonies 11:45 a.m.; Full Throttle Series eliminations begin at noon ET.
Saturday, July 9 -- ESPN2/ESPN2HD will televise one and a half hours of qualifying highlights 9:30 p.m. - 11 p.m. ET.
Sunday, July 10 -- ESPN2/ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage 9 p.m. ET.
UNOFFICIAL FUNNY CAR POINT STANDINGS after the tenth of 16 races in the "regular" season: