NAPA’s Capps adjusts to role of hunter in NHRA Countdown after disappointing opening Sunday in championship playoff
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 17, 2013) – Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team didn’t match their start to last year’s NHRA Countdown to the Championship, but he likes the position is team is in.
“It didn’t work out for us last year, and sometime it’s better to be the hunter than the hunted,” he said after in losing the second round Sunday by two-thousandth of a second in the NHRA Mello Yello Series event near Charlotte.
Last season, Capps with crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant John Collins, left the track at Concord, N.C., with a title at the first of six Countdown races and the points lead. But the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team missed winning the season championship by two points that left Capps as the runner-up for a fourth time.
After losing early Sunday, Capps held onto second place in championship points but fell from 30 to 82 points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Matt Hagan, who was the event’s runner-up.
“Having the points lead was nice a year ago at this time but look where it got us,” he said. “We know every point is important. I’m not so sure that having the points lead and having a target on your back isn’t any easier than being second this early in the Countdown.”
Capps, who has won three of his 41 career titles this season, advanced to the semifinals a year ago near Dallas and held first in the standings after that race and through the following one at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
“We need to start winning rounds at Texas and someone has to get Matt out early,” Capps said. “Matt’s my teammate but when it’s the Countdown you can’t have any friends once you get on the track.”
The NAPA AUTO PARTS remaining at the North Carolina track Monday for testing and were pleased with the results.
Capps knows this weekend at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas could be pivotal and a second title at the track to go along with the one he won there in 1998 would go a long way toward moving atop the standings.
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Sept. 13-15, Concord, N.C.): Qualified No. 12; lost in second round to Courtney Force.
Last event at Dallas (Sept. 20-23, 2012): Qualified No. 6, lost in semifinals to teammate Matt Hagan.
Career at Dallas: Wins 1 (1998); runner-ups 1 (2011); poles 2 (2005, 1997)
(After 19 of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events; through Sept. 15)