Friday, July 24, 2009

Capps back atop the NHRA funny car standings

Ron Capps has regained the lead in the National Hot Rod Assn. funny car standings with a win at Bandimere Raceway in Colorado and a semifinal appearance at Pacific Raceways near Seattle. He can solidify his spot atop the funny car standings with another deep run at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma this weekend.
“We knew we were going to have a good Western Swing,” said Capps, a driver from Don Schumacher Racing. “Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) was confident with having a new car built and I had the confidence that the NAPA crew guys and the DSR chassis guys had put together a good car. To win in Denver, get the points lead back and have the success we’ve had the last couple of races, is a testament to the hard work of the NAPA crew and the guys back at the shop. My hat’s off to them.”
It is a bit of a homecoming for Capps, who calls San Luis Obispo his hometown. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and is looking forward to returning home to race this weekend.
“Sonoma for me is like coming home to race,” said Capps. “I lived up in the Bay area, went to school there, met my wife Shelley there and got married there. And when I was going to school I was teaching racquetball at a couple of health clubs in the Bay Area and played in tournaments all over Northern California.”
Capps won in Sonoma in 1997. He was the runner-up in Sonoma in 2002 and 2005 and the No. 1 qualifier in 1998.
Capps took over the lead in the funny car standings from Ashley Force Hood. She can clinch a spot in the Countdown to One, the NHRA playoffs, by qualifying for the 16-car field on Sunday at Sonoma.
“Usually, you set your goals and then try to achieve them,” said the 26-year-old graduate of Cal State-Fullerton, “but I think we’ve really outdone ourselves this year. I think we went past what we projected. If anything, we were guilty of limiting ourselves.”
Force Hood has made six final-round appearances in 11 races this year. The only drawback in that streak is that she has only one once. She’s becoming the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s.
“When we suddenly found ourselves going rounds every race and going to finals and leading the points, we talked about it and decided that just because we’re only a 3-year-old team, there’s no reason why we can’t have dreams for the championship,” Force Hood said.
“Maybe some people think that’s crazy considering we’re racing people who have been racing longer than I’ve been alive, (but) sometimes it’s not just about how long you’ve been doing it.”

Photo: Ron Capps regained the lead in the NHRA funny car standings, passing Ashley Force Hood, as the teams head to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma this weekend.

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