Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Capps Can Build on His Early Success; Drag Racer Comes to Gainesville with Points Lead in NHRA Funny Cars

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Capps Can Build on His Early Success; Drag Racer Comes to Gainesville with Points Lead in NHRA Funny Cars

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

With two final-round appearances and one victory this year, Ron Capps will arrive at Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville this weekend as the points leader in NHRA Funny Cars.

And despite winning twice at the prestigious Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, Capps won't allow his fast start to let him drop his guard.

Finishing second four different times in the final Funny Car standings will do that.

Race teams will arrive at the historic drag strip near the Gainesville Regional Airport today to begin preparations for one of the crown jewel events on the NHRA schedule. Sportsman teams will qualify Thursday, while the pro divisions, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, will start making passes on Friday. Funny Cars will be on the 1,000-foot track at 12:45 and at 3 p.m.

Counting Sportsman classes, there are 435 entries for Gainesville.

Capps had a commanding points lead for most of drag racing's regular season a year ago, only to fall two points short of Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in drag racing's postseason, the Countdown.

It also marked the fourth time in his 17-year Funny Car career he's finished second in the point standings.

Gainesville is a chance for Capps to build on first- and second-place finishes to start the season. It's also too early to start thinking again about another championship run.

"Heck, last year I was getting told before the St. Louis race we were going to run away with the championship," Capps said. "Lo and behold, my teammate, Beckman and that team, came alive and won.

"I've finished runner-up four times and been in the hunt before going to [the season-finale at] Pomona several times beyond that."

Capps has a good record at the Gatornationals. He won there in 2006 and 2007, and he finished second to Tim Wilkerson in 2010.

An admitted drag racing historian, Capps has a special feeling for Gainesville. It's the first race in the East and it remains as one of the most popular events on the schedule.

"Gainesville was a huge race when I was growing up and it still is," Capps said. "You get pumped up when you're driving to the track and see all those campers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.