Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals
Qualifying in top half key to a winning season for Capps
This weekend's Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway should see even a stronger performance from the Brut Dodge team as most of those pesky early-season glitches were hopefully dealt with at
Despite his No. 10 qualifying spot at Pomona, Capps pulled off a second series of steady winning passes to reach the final round, which he lost by a mere six feet to Robert Hight. That's OK, he says. Collecting points and data for the rest of the season towards his first Funny Car crown is key, and qualifying higher is still at the top of the list.
"It's something that we really worked on as far as improving on qualifying points," he said. "You never really worry about exactly where you qualify as long as you have lane choice in the first round, and that means qualifying in the top half. That's the most important thing. Otherwise, you can really win from anywhere in the field, but you definitely want to have that choice first round.
"It's not very good for the stress level, trying to sleep at night not knowing which lane you're going to be in. It could be a lane ruined by a dragster in front of us. You just never know and you want to have that choice.
"Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) felt like he left a lot on the table in qualifying in
"And he was right. In the first round of eliminations it was almost 10 mph an hour faster and all day Sunday we were at quite a bit faster speed.
"I love hearing those kinds of things, from Ace especially, because when he says he's found something pretty significant going into race day, it just gets you excited as a driver.
"It's an exciting part of the season when you can leave the Winternationals with good results. The off-season is like forever, so to get out of there with a final-round loss was great. We would have loved to have won the race, of course, but we earned the points and are second in the standings.
"We're very hard on ourselves," he continued. "We
"The Brut Dodge crew gives Ace the absolute best car to tune , with nothing falling off, no leaks, for a lot of runs now. In testing we went down the track just about every run and at
Capps was runner-up to John Force last year at Firebird, winner here in 2003, runner-up to Force in 2000, runner-up again in 1998 (Chuck Etchells) and No. 1 qualifier here in 2000.
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