NAPA AUTO PARTS crew chief Richards provides perfect cure for ailing Capps at Winternationals


The next time you get sick try Ron Capps' way of feeling better instead of eating a bowl of chicken soup or drinking tea.

Capps' remedy is to slip on a heavy, protective firesuit and helmet then get into a Funny Car and make a few runs down adragstrip at over 300 mph.

"Going 308 miles an hour will knock the fever right out of you," he said of lessening the discomfort of a 102-degree temperature.

"I wasn't feeling too good when I got up this morning. People around all week said they were sick and I told them it must be allergies."

Capps might have felt subpar but his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T helped him feel much better.

Capps advanced to the semifinals Sunday of the NHRA Winternationals in the season-opener of the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season. Veteran crew chief Tim Richards tuned Capps to a 4.101-second pass at 308.50 mph, opponent Mike Neff clocked 4.074-second pass at 314.53 mph to take the round win.

Richards might change his nickname from "General" to "Doctor."

"Tim put a completely different tune-up in the NAPA Dodge for Sunday and said he didn't know what it would do but he said he had to change it up to make it better and more forgiving.

"That's the General, man. That's why Don Schumacher hired him and why the NAPA guys on the team love him."

Comparing a crew chief to a chef might sound like Capps' fever made him a little delirious, but the veteran Funny Car driver made sense.

"If only people knew the way these crew chiefs run their cars. They are like great chefs. They have their recipes and they don't like to veer too far from how they like to do things. I have to commend Tim. I came in this morning and he told me that he was going to change everything

"Low and behold, we had a tough first round matchup with (teammate Matt) Hagan and to run like we did with as much as he changed, it was awesome.

"You want a great start, you'd love to win the race but you want a great start. Tim has worked all off season long with the crew to make this car run as good as anyone on the grounds and I think we have a car now that can do that."

The NAPA AUTO PARTS team will remain on the West Coast before heading to Phoenix for next weekend's NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 8
Round 1: CAPPS (4.093 seconds, 312.06 mph) def. Matt Hagan (4.298, 269.73 mph)
Round 2: CAPPS (4.086 seconds, 311.13 mph) def. Todd Lesenko (32.59, 24.55)
Round 3 (semifinals): Mike Neff (4.074, 314.53) def. CAPPS (4.101, 308.50)

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Race Facts

Final unofficial Funny Car standings:

  1. John Force, 114
  2. Mike Neff, 95
  3. Ron Capps, 73
  4. Gary Densham, 73
  5. Jack Beckman, 62
  6. Courtney Force, 52
  7. Todd Lesenko, 51
  8. Tim Wilkerson, 51
  9. Robert Hight, 41
  10. Bob Tasca III, 39