Back Where It All Began by ProQuest


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									             Back Where It All Began
Ron Capps returns to the site of his first Funny Car win in search of his milestone 30th
                                                         R     on Capps will return to the site of his first Funny Car victory when
                                                               the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its annual stop
                                                         at Gateway Int’l Raceway in Madison. He won the inaugural event
                                                         there in 1997 as a rookie driving for Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and
                                                         has won there twice since, in 2005 and 2007. Last year, he and Don
                                                         Schumacher Racing’s NAPA team, led by crew chief Ed “the Ace”
                                                         McCulloch, qualified No. 1 and reached the final before losing to Del
                                                         Worsham. This year, Capps will be looking for his first win of the
                                                         season and 30th in Funny Car, which will tie him with Kenny Bernstein
                                                         for fourth most in class history behind only John Force (128), Tony
                                                         Pedregon (43), and Prudhomme (35).
                                                             Capps, who got his start and his first victory in Top Fuel in 1995
                                                         when he piloted Roger Primm’s dragster to a surprising victory in
                                                         Seattle, won twice in three final rounds in 1997, which earned him the
                                                         Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as
                                                         NHRA’s top rookie. In eight seasons driving for Prudhomme, Capps
                                                         won 13 races, twice finishing second in points, in 1998 and 2000.
                                                         After a disappointing 2004 season, in which he finished outside the
                                                         top 10 in points for the only time in his Funny Car career, Capps joined
                                                         Schumacher Racing and in five seasons has won 16 times and posted
                                                         three top five finishes, including a second-place showing in 2005,
                                                         when he finished just eight points behind teammate Gary Scelzi in the
                                                         closest finish in Funny Car history.
                                                             One of the winningest drivers in NHRA history without a
                                                         championship, Capps entered the Madison event third in points
                                                         behind Force and teammate Matt Hagan. He recently spoke with
                                                         National DRAGSTER Senior Editor Steve Waldron about that elusive
                                                         championship and a potpourri of other things.

Q: You were a Top Alcohol Dragster     Funny Car team. Why do you think he           to anything else, but after I went to work
crew chief for years and drove one     picked you?                                   for him, he told me that he was watching
briefly before breaking into the Pro   A: If you know him at all, you know he        me, paying attention to the way I did
ranks in Top Fuel in 1995. You         pays attention to stuff that you wouldn’t     interviews and the way I carried myself,
competed in 14 events that year        think somebody like him pays attention        and that he knew I was asking questions
and only six in 1996, yet you made     to. He reminds me of a Roger Penske,          of some of the more experienced people
enough of an impression on             Chip Ganassi, or Mario Andretti. He           in the sport, like Ed McCulloch and Dale
Prudhomme that he chose you as         always seemed too busy or too focused         Armstrong. He knew Larry Dixon [who
the driver for his newly formed        on being a team owner to pay attention        was driving for Prudhomme at the time]
                                                                                                      as a driver you hit the throttle and it’s all you
                                                                                                      can do to keep the car in the middle, so
                                                                                                      when the crew chief says, “At 400 feet I need
                                                                                                      you to be over to the right a little so we don’t
                                                                                                      hit that bump, then I need you back over to
                                                                                                      the left a little at 900 feet,” and when you
                                                                                                      actually do it, it’s awesome.
                                                                                                          In Madison, you can’t go up there and just
                                                                                                      try to hit the Tree; you’ve got to be ready to
                                                                                                      pedal the car because more likely than not it’s
                                                                                                      going to
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