ENNIS, TX – October 11, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – As he chases his first career NHRA Mello Drag Racing Series Funny Car world championship, Ron Capps has been a model of consistency throughout the 2016 regular season. That consistency has stretched into the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, where Capps has continued to be in top form.
Capps, who leads teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. by 24 points, has advanced to the semifinals or better in the first three playoff races in his 10,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T, a stretch that now goes back to 12 of his past 13 races. It’s been a winning formula that Capps will try to continue to pick up his first 2016 Countdown to the Championship win at this weekend’s 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex.
“Of course it’s better to be chased than be the chaser at this point,” said Capps, who has five wins and nine finals appearances in 2016. “But we’ve still got a long way to go. It’s nice we’ve kept up the consistency and I said to win a championship you’ve got to average a semifinal finish or better. We’ve had such a great season and we want to keep it going. We’re clicking really well as a team and it’s time to take advantage of it.”
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of last year’s event that will air on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) for the first time. On Sunday, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET). It is the 21st of 24 events in 2016 and the fourth of six races in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Capps comes off a final-round appearance at the most recent race at Maple Grove Raceway, falling to Johnson Jr. in the final round. That sliced into his lead but Capps, whose 50 wins are the most for a driver without a NHRA championship, has nothing but good vibes heading into this final three-race stretch. He has been the points leader for the past 12 events and advanced to the semifinals or better in each of the last seven races, holding supreme confidence in a team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler.
“For me, being close to winning (the championship) so many times has proven beneficial to me, being in these type of positions,” said Capps, who has finished second on four different occasions (1998, 2000, 2005, 2012). “You have to look forward to that pressure and there’s not a minute that goes by without thinking about the race and how to be better. There’s a lot of things that can go through your head this time of year, and you’re so embroiled in this points race and the pressure of it, but you get to do something pretty cool for a living and that needs to be enjoyed.”
Winning a championship would also bring plenty of enjoyment for Capps, who must hold off the likes of Jack Beckman, who sits 93 points back, Matt Hagan and reigning world champion Worsham. But after faring well at Maple Grove, a track that has always been difficult for Capps, the veteran standout is looking forward to the final stretch. He holds the Texas Motorplex in high regard and although he has only one win at the track (1998), Capps has often fared well at the popular facility.
“I’ve always looked forward to this race, especially during the Countdown,” Capps said. “Maple Grove can end a lot of title hopes, so we’re excited that we did well there and we’re going to a track I love. We’ve had a few issues, but with the week off we were able to find them and rectify them. The last three races, we’ve done well at over the years. I always look forward to Dallas, we’ve done well in Las Vegas and Pomona, we started off the season with a win and we would love to end it the same way.”
Defending Top Fuel event winner Crampton is seeking his first win of 2016. Everyone is chasing points leader and defending world champ Antron Brown, who has two wins during the Countdown and holds a 77-point lead over Doug Kalitta.
Dominating the new era of Pro Stock is points leader Jason Line and Greg Anderson. Line has eight wins and has a 45-point lead on Anderson, who has seven wins in 2016.
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Andrew Hines is after his third straight world title and has five wins in 2016, but teammate Eddie Krawiec has closed the gap to 38 points.
The AAA Texas NHRA Nationals will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-668-6775. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more info, visit www.NHRA.com.
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS
WHAT: 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, the 22nd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the fourth of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas. The track is located at 7500 W. Highway 287.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 500 feet above sea level; Track direction is southwest to northeast.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 13-16
THURSDAY, Oct. 13 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
FRIDAY, Oct. 14 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, Oct. 15 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, Oct. 16 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday Oct. 14, FS1 will televise one hour of live qualifying coverage at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday Oct. 16, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 1 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Oct. 16, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET).
2015 EVENT WINNERS:
Richie Crampton, Top Fuel; Del Worsham, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock; Jerry Savoie, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
John Force, FC, 7; Tony Schumacher, TF, 6; Warren Johnson, PS, 5; Cruz Pedregon, FC, 4; Greg Anderson, PS, 4.
Top Fuel – 3.705 sec. by Richie Crampton, Oct. ’15; 329.18 mph by Dave Connolly, Oct. ’15
Funny Car – 3.909 sec. and 326.32 mph by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’15
Pro Stock – 6.457 sec. and 214.59 mph by Greg Anderson, Oct. ’15
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.744 sec. and 198.99 mph by Jerry Savoie, Oct. ’15
Top Fuel – 3.671 sec. by Steve Torrence, July ’16, Sonoma, Calif.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 668-6775. Tickets are also available at www.texasmotorplex.com.
GLENDORA, CA — Points standings (top 10) following the 32nd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the 21st of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Antron Brown, 2,377; 2. Doug Kalitta, 2,300; 3. Brittany Force, 2,259; 4. Shawn Langdon, 2,258; 5. Tony Schumacher, 2,236; 6. Steve Torrence, 2,214; 7. Leah Pritchett, 2,188; 8. J.R. Todd, 2,183; 9. Richie Crampton, 2,159; 10. Clay Millican, 2,136.
1. Ron Capps, 2,368; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,344; 3. Jack Beckman, 2,275; 4. Matt Hagan, 2,258; 5. Del Worsham, 2,246; 6. John Force, 2,230; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 2,196; 8. Robert Hight, 2,193; 9. Courtney Force, 2,182; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 2,099.
1. Jason Line, 2,389; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,344; 3. Vincent Nobile, 2,306; 4. Bo Butner, 2,256; 5. Shane Gray, 2,242; 6. Chris McGaha, 2,189; 7. Allen Johnson, 2,160; 8. Drew Skillman, 2,157; 9. Jeg Coughlin, 2,115; 10. Erica Enders, 2,104.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Andrew Hines, 2,341; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,303; 3. Angelle Sampey, 2,289; 4. Chip Ellis, 2,274; 5. Jerry Savoie, 2,271; 6. LE Tonglet, 2,215; 7. Cory Reed, 2,196; 8. Hector Arana, 2,159; 9. Matt Smith, 2,150; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 2,149.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association