Courtesy: Mike Geylin

Ron Capps hopes his new NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car carries him into the winner’s circle at the conclusion of this weekend’s 11th-annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals here on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With two races remaining in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, the California native wants to finish the year on a high note.

“We’re probably not going to win the championship, but you want to end the season strong for your sponsors and yourself,” said Capps who sits seventh, 139 points behind his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman. “Our goal is to move up in the standings, to improve our position.

“And there is nothing better than to go to the (post-season awards) banquet having won the last two races!”

A short weekend in Phoenix due to not qualifying for the last race might ultimately have provided an edge for the NAPA team going forward.

“We had a new front half on our car in Phoenix and it never really responded to Tim’s (Richards, crew chief) inputs; something that can happen with a new car,” explained Capps. “But one of the nice things about being part of a great organization like DSR with a sponsor like NAPA is we had a brand-new race car with us as a backup.

“We took advantage of our early exit in Phoenix to come here and test last Monday. We pulled out the new car, slapped in a new motor and in the heat of the day went down the hot track twice at 4.21 and 4.15.”

According to Capps, a strong showing at this weekend’s race, at a track where he has won three times, means more than gaining ground in the standings.

“This is a great race to showcase your team and your sponsors as it comes right on the eve of the SEMA (trade) show in town which means there are a lot of additional folks attending,” he explained. “There will be a lot of NAPA execs coming around and this is our chance to show them – and others who might not have realized it before – why they chose to be a part of the best sport in the world and why they picked our team to sponsor.”

NHRA Big O Tires Nationals Oct. 27-30 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series

Wednesday, Oct. 26
8 a.m.-6 p.m. – Competitor parking, registration, tech inspection (all categories).
9 a.m.-6 p.m. – Sponsor midway parking.

Thursday, Oct. 27
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. – Registration, tech inspection (all categories).
8 a.m. – Sportsman qualifying.
5:30 p.m. – Track closed.
5-7 p.m. – Free NHRA driver autograph session at the Fremont Street Experience.
6-10 p.m. – Speedway Children’s Charities annual Cards for Kids Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament at the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower.
7-9 p.m. – Free Don Schumacher Racing driver autograph session at the New York New York Hotel & Casino.

Friday, Oct. 28 – Nevada Day (Kids 12 and under free – must be accompanied by an adult)
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open; registration, tech inspection (pro and Top Alcohol teams only).
8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.
10:30 a.m. – Top Alcohol qualifying (Funny Car and Dragster).
11:45 a.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.
12:15 p.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
1 p.m. – Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragster qualifying.
2 p.m. – Top Alcohol qualifying (Funny Car and Dragster).
3:15 p.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
4 p.m. – Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragster qualifying.
5 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.
5:30 p.m. – Track closed.

Saturday, Oct. 29
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.
10:30 a.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.
11 a.m. – Pro Stock and pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
11:45 a.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.
12:45 p.m. – Top Alcohol qualifying (Dragster and Funny Car).
1:45 p.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
2:30 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.
3:30 p.m. – First round of Pro Mod eliminations.
4 p.m. – First round of Top Alcohol (Dragster and Funny Car) eliminations.
5:30 p.m. – Track closed.

Sunday, Oct. 30
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
9 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.
10 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies.
11 a.m. – Final eliminations begin.
4:30 p.m. – Track closed.

Schedule subject to change.