Capps Set For New Season Start

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2008) – He’s had a good off-season he says, but Ron Capps is ready for the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series to begin at this weekend’s NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

Driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in 2008, his fourth year with Don Schumacher Racing, the California native is eager to get back to the challenge of claiming his first Funny Car championship since beginning his pro career in 1995. He’ll also be facing some changes and variables this season, in particular at this opening event.

“It’s been a great off-season,” said Capps, who came off a disappointing fourth-place finish in last year’s all-new Countdown to the Championship playoffs after leading the standings most of the season. “We have a new sponsor on board with NAPA AUTO PARTS, which is awesome. And sometimes you don’t go very far into the off season before you’re ready to go racing again. But after last year and competing in the Countdown to One, I really felt I needed some rest. It was pretty grueling at the end.

“I spent a lot of time with the family and did a lot of cool things. When Phoenix rolled around for preseason testing you could tell it was time to go racing again.

“In the past, you could always tell how the drivers anticipated Pomona by how the preseason testing went. And for the most part the last few years we’ve come off our preseason testing in good shape and we’ve had a good showing in Pomona.

“We had a great test session at Firebird Raceway (outside of Phoenix). However, the conditions will be different in Pomona, obviously. On top of that, this year NHRA threw into the mix the upping of the nitro percentage to 90 percent, which I think is going to help the teams, believe it or not, with attrition and parts breakage. Not only that, the cars sound so much better. They sound like they did when I was a kid growing up. You can really tell the difference.

“The downside is the 100 pounds that they added to the Funny Cars. That’s a pretty substantial amount, and it has taken its toll already in preseason testing. At Firebird, guys were going off at the end of the track and having a harder time slowing the cars down. The crew chiefs are still focused on getting the cars down the track, and I believe that NHRA didn’t do their homework by not considering that somebody has to actually slow these cars down with the extra weight on them.

“It’s going to be interesting to watch these upcoming races, especially Pomona where we have one of the shorter shutdown areas. There were teams leaving Phoenix on Wednesday that weren’t quite happy with their tune-ups yet, and it has really thrown some curves.

“I think probably a majority of the teams are not quite as ready as they want to be for Pomona, but you have no choice. However, you know the track will be great, and the conditions are going to be great. So, I’m looking forward to a good start, especially for our new sponsor, NAPA AUTO PARTS.”

As for the revised Countdown format and the new qualifying procedure, “I really applaud the NHRA for changing the Countdown format,” said Capps. “Last year was just not quite right at the end of the year. And I really think that everybody’s going to benefit from that. The new qualifying format remains to be seen. I think any change from where it was is good. But I’m interested to see how that comes out as well.”

Capps has one Funny Car victory at the Winternationals, in 1998, against Tim Wilkerson.

* No. 4 in 2007 Funny Car point standings
* Led 2007 Funny Car point standings by as much as 154 points through 14 of the first 17 races of the season
* Had three wins in seven final rounds in 2007; two semifinal finishes, four quarterfinals, nine first rounds, and one DNQ
* Round win-loss record in 2007 was 32-19
* NAPA AUTO PARTS is new primary sponsor for 2008
* Capps’ best results at Pomona were a Funny Car win in 1998 (Pomona 1), a Funny Car runner-up in 2006 (Pomona 1) and a No. 1 qualifier at 1999 Pomona 1
* At 2007 Winternationals, Capps qualified No. 3, lost second round to Jeff Arend
* Joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2005
* Has three Skoal Showdown titles: 1998, 1999 and 2002
* Third in 2006 final point standings
* Had class-best five wins in 2006
* Had three wins, four runner-up finishes in 2005 (St. Louis was his first
win for DSR in ’05)
* 2005 Funny Car championship runner-up, eight points short of title
* Qualified No. 1 once in 2005, in Dallas; first time since Brainerd 2000
* Has seven career No. 1 qualifiers, none in 2006 or 2007
* A perennial fan favorite, Capps has driven and won in both Top Fuel and Funny Cars since he began his pro NHRA career in 1995
* His best season points finishes were seconds in Funny Car in 1998, 2000 and 2005
* He has 25 event wins in 52 final rounds to his credit (24 national event wins in Funny Car, one in Top Fuel)
* His career-best elapsed time (established during an event) is 4.694 seconds, set in 2005 in Dallas
* His career-best speed is 331.61 mph (Pomona 1, ’07)
* Capps’ career round win-loss record is 313-231
* Capps’ career record against 14-time champion Force is 17-38 in round wins. He’s won nine of the last 11 meetings against Force, and has won the last four first-round match-ups over Force
* Age 42 (June 20, 1965); born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
* Lives in Carlsbad, Calif., with wife Shelley and daughter Taylor (11) and son Caden (6)
* Has tested for IROC Series and competed in Skip Barber Formula Ford, Dirt Late Models, Mini-Sprints and Go-Karts

WEEKEND SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7-8. Qualifying continues at noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 and final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.

ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise qualifying highlights at 8 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Feb. 9. ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise NHRA Raceday, a 30-minute pre-race show, at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Feb. 10. ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise the race beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Feb. 10.

ON THE WEB: Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at

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