NHRA: Ron Capps, Camaro Funny Car Win Dallas NHRA
3 May 1998
CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES CASTROL LONE STAR NATIONALS NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES TEXAS MOTORPLEX -- SUNDAY, MAY 3, 1998 -- Note No. 3
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, wins his second race of the year, the fourth for the Camaro-bodied Funny Car. In a classic Chevy vs. Ford battle, Capps vs. John Force, Chevy and Capps come out the victors (4.960/292.39 to 6.463/146.93.
In Winston Championship points, Capps moves into second place, behind John Force (553-499). Chuck Etchells drops to third (497).
CAPPS: "We got lucky and that's what it takes a lot of times. We ran the 4.94 to get into the show. We have been struggling, struggling, since Atlanta. This weekend I have been in the lowest valleys and highest peaks in my career. I worried about this qualifying, Roland (Leong, crew chief) was worried. These guys pulled it off. When we ran the 4.92 in first round I knew we could run it again, then it dropped cylinders in the next two rounds. Force had been running 4.90s all day and I thought I might be in trouble. I hit the pedal and it took off. I said if he's going to beat me he's going to have to catch up soon. We blew the blower through the body about 900 feet. When you go against Force, in the back of your mind there's a voice saying this is John Force. You may not have a chance of getting him. If you can beat an entourage like Force's, you've done something."
"In the first round it had a clutch problem, which made the rear main seal go real bad. We didn't realize we had the problem until we went to warm it up, and I felt a vibration. We realized we had to change the engine. The only good thing about Larry Dixon going out early is that we had his crew to help us work on it. We only had a half an hour to get it changed. Luckily another car oiled up the track in front us and we made it in time. We had to do that again before the final.. We rolled up the car and I had to suit up in the staging lane. I am just the luckiest guy to get into this Camaro. After it dropped the cylinder in the semifinals and didn't run so good, Roland decided to pull out the motor and put in the one that had run good that we had put away. We changed engines once voluntarily and once because the other one was wounded."
ON PRISCILLA PRESLEY AND JOHN FORCE'S ELVIS PROMOTION: "Right across from me in Force's pits Priscilla pulls across my pits in a limousine, has all the makeup people around her. You know, I am one of John Force's biggest fans, he is our sport right now. When you get somebody like that you do everything you can to help that along. I'm glad Priscilla left before the final. Force came over and I said please tell me that Priscilla left because I plan to whoop your butt. I need the points right now and the money."
ON POINTS: "With this three-race swing -- look at what happened to Chuck Etchells, wins and doesn't qualify -- (it's tough). When you have back-to-back weekends like this a lot goes on. I can't wait for the other back-to-backs. I love it. We have young lions on the team, they proved they had the energy. We pulled this one off to make up for losing the lasttwo."
ON ROLAND LEONG: "Weird stuff was happening this weekend. I don't know what he makes as a crew chief, but he ought to get a raise."
ON STRUGGLING AND TRYING TO GAIN POINTS: "We're not trying to steal the cheese, we're just trying to get out of the trap."
ON THE CLASSIC CHEVY VS. FORD BATTLE WITH FORCE: "It goes back to the old days, you had the classic Chevrolet Camaro against Ford Mustang. As a kid I read about that. Pulling up there against John Force (brought back those days to me). 'Snake' told me as we went out on the line that this snake can strike at any time, that's what we did in the final. You can't beat a team like John Force's without all the support of all the sponsors, Copenhagen, Chevrolet, everybody else."
TEAM OWNER DON PRUDHOMME: "Force was running good. When Roland (Leong, crew chief) came up with the 4.94 in qualifying we knew we had a good race car for Sunday. It was a great car for Sunday. The Camaro ran real good in the final. I'm really proud of the job that the whole Copenhagen Camaro crew did. They're doing a great job and we just have to keep it up. There's highs and lows in drag racing, it's real easy to lose and doubly hard to win. It was our day and we'll just keep going straight ahead."
ON THE CLASSIC CHEVY VS. FORD BATTLE: "I still believe we have the best car. We have the best designed car and they're going to have to really run hard to beat us. And they know we have a good car too. I think they (Force's team) pushed theirs too hard to the point they kicked their tires loose. This Camaro they knew had a low 4.90 in it and we were just saving it for him. It would have been tough to beat. The Camaro was really trucking and it had a misfire at the top end, the engine actually shut off early on the car. If it would have kept going, but if ifs and buts were candies and nuts...... It was fine, it was great. We've got to keep working on it and keep going ahead. I always love these wins, what I really love is to have a lot of them. We have to keep going, keep working."
"I 'm really happy with the way they turned the Camaro around. We were struggling the last few races, pulling our hair out, testing and working. We finally found it. It only takes a little to be off a lot. The whole Cope Camaro crew are real dedicated to the cause, that's what I like. No matter what happens they're right there. I couldn't ask for anything more. It's bitchin', it's always good to leave here a winner."
"I always feel good about the kid driving the Camaro. When he goes to the starting line and he's driving, sheesh, I feel good. I feel that way about (Larry) Dixon and I feel that way about Capps. I really feel good. He's one of the exceptional guys that come along. I have seen a lot of them and he's kept that never-give-up attitude and I love that. I love that. I'm just glad I don't have to drive against him. The kid's a bad ass."
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, made it to the final round for the first time this year, and the first time for the Camaro, but was defeated by Mike Edwards on a holeshot advantage (7.024/195.56 to 7.018/198.89).
KURT: "I had two .460 lights, a .457 and a little better light in the right lane. That's all we had today. We lost by 12 thousandths (of a second). Our Chevy Camaro is running faster and faster. We had some problems getting down the left lane in the two qualifying runs, and then in the semifinal the thing just stepped right up -- we made a bunch of changes to it and it responded. It seems to be happy, and we fell just a half inch short of winning the race. We're running a motor that we never used before. I don't think it's quite as good as our other engine, but that one had a whole different power curae to it, and we didn't want to make a drastic change during eliminations when we were doing so well. We'll put our other motor back in it, and I think we'll be looking good for the rest of the year. We have a new car coming in the next couple of races. Runner-up is nothing to complain about. As close as this racing is, it could well have been a first round loss. There's a lot of fast cars and some fast drivers out there. I think we have a fast car and hope we have a fast driver!"