Capps focused on points rise
Brainerd, pre-race: As Ron Capps continues to tour the U.S.A. with his family in their motor coach, stopping off at the required 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events along the way, the driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is tightly focused on moving up in the point standings, as the Countdown to the Championship playoffs loom.
This weekend's 27th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway is the first of the final three races in which drivers can earn a place in the coveted top 10 to vie for the Funny Car crown following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend. Capps is No. 7 in the rankings, but feels his perch is somewhat precarious.
"We're still kind of on the tail end of our family (including wife Shelley, daughter Taylor and son Caden) vacation that we've spent in our Monaco coach traveling around the country since Norwalk (Ohio, June 29). We just left Pismo Beach in California,” said Capps from the road. “We were there for a week and we're all back in the motor home heading to Brainerd.
"It's been very relaxing and fun, but you have to balance that with showing up at the race track to race. And the one good thing with having the family with you is that it feels like you're at home because your motor home is right there. And you have home cooking and you’re back with your family every night when qualifying or the race is over. You're only a couple of minutes away, and that's always nice.
"However, especially with three races left in this Countdown chase, we're not completely safe in the top 10," added Capps, who is still seeking his first victory of the year. "It's a lot fun being in Brainerd. A lot of us racers get on the golf carts and go to 'the zoo' (Brainerd's famous campground) and see the fans at night and we have a great time. But then you have to be focused to show up on Sunday and race.
"Right now, we are also focused on moving ourselves up in the top 10," said the two-time winner in Brainerd (1998 and 2001). "If we can stay on course and keep running as well as we have been lately we can fight into the top five. Come Indianapolis you do not want to be teetering on the No. 9 or 10 spot because we also have the Showdown bonus event at Indy for $100,000 we'd like to win again." Capps is a three-time Showdown titlist (1998, 1999 and 2002).
"Also, now that we're running to 1000 feet it's completely changed everybody's mindset. I really believe the racing has been better. Obviously, it's been safer, but I think the fans are now understanding that changing the racing to 1000 feet was a great choice for the time being.
"There are a lot of things at this time of the season that can provide distractions if you let them. So we don't want to have to go into Indianapolis fighting to stay in the top 10. We'd like to go in there fighting to stay in the top five and then be able to be a cheerleader and help our Don Schumacher Racing teammates Gary Scelzi, Jack Beckman (clinging to No. 10) and Jerry Toliver fight their way into the top 10.”
Besides his two Brainerd career victories, Capps was Funny Car runner-up in 1997 (John Force) and No. 1 qualifier in 2000.
Return to Team Reports Archive
Return to the Home Page