With five races left in the COVID-19 pandemic-sabotaged NHRA Mello Yello Series season, Ron Capps knows his team needs to make a move.
Capps, the 2016 nitro Funny Car world champion, is fifth in the points standings, 141 points behind Jack Beckman, his Don Schumacher Racing teammate. Capps pilots the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
“Right now, we are just trying to get back up in points, so that we have a shot at a championship,” Capps said. “We know we are going to have five left. We gained a bunch when I won the Indy race (Aug. 9) and it is pretty tight. We just need to make some ground up on the cars we have in front of us so we can have a shot going into Vegas.”
The season-ending Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil is slated for Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at The Strip at Las Vegas Speedway.
“I had asked, and Vegas is going to be points and half like Pomona,” Capps said. “That sweetens the pot a little bit. If you’re a little bit behind, you have a little more leeway going into the last race. We want to be close enough or leading the points (by Vegas). Right now, the mindset with (crew chief Rahn) Tobler is just go and try and steal every qualifying point and try and win the race and be as aggressive as we can because we have so few races left.
“Usually, we play the consistent big picture and that’s usually Tobler’s mentality, but I think you are going to see our car much like qualifying at the U.S. Nationals. We were gaining qualifying points every session. We didn’t get them all, though, and we qualified No. 2.”
Capps beat Jim Campbell in the first round at the U.S. Nationals and then was upended by Beckman in the second round. Beckman clocked a 4.003-second lap and Capps slowed to 5.454 seconds.
“For some reason it smoked the tires, not early but it pulled them loose,” Capps said. “We had a new clutch pack and a new clutch disc he (Tobler) said that he was going to put into the order, and he thought he had a handle on it. We didn’t go up there to be that aggressive, although we knew that Beckman’s car was going to run well, and they only ended up running a 4-flat and that hurts even worse. That was tough, especially as good as we ran all weekend. It was a little depressing. We really felt like we had a great car. He knows what the clutch disc did on that (second round) run. That gave us some data going into qualifying at Gainesville (Fla.).”
The rescheduled Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals are the next race on the schedule, Sept. 25-27.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) September 7, 2020