Capps celebrates Father’s Day at Bristol by winning on NHRA trail, looks to improve streak of three finals with fifth title of season
After 10 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events last year, Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car Powered by Pennzoil arrived at Bristol, Tenn., with the championship points lead.
Capps with crew chief Rahn Tobler, assistant Eric Lane and the NAPA AutoCare Centers crew had won three event titles, led Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman by 27 points and were chasing their first world championship after being runner-up for a record four times.
Much has changed since then.
When the reigning world champions arrive Friday at Bristol Dragway for the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, the NAPA team once again will be No. 1 but have four event titles and hold a 129-point lead over another DSR teammate, Matt Hagan.
Bristol is the third stop on the Eastern Swing that includes four races in four weeks. Last year Capps won three of the four, but Bristol wasn’t one of them. This year, he won the first one at Epping, N.J., and was runner-up last Sunday at Englishtown, N.J.
He also leads DSR with most wins on Father’s Day with titles in 2002, 2006 and 2012.
While he won’t be able to celebrate on Sunday with his father and kids, he enjoys helping to make raceday special for fans attending.
“Every year when I’m signing at the rope in our pits it’s very special when I see fans with their kids or dads that makes race day even more special for me knowing we’re helping them enjoy Father’s Day,” he said. “I’m used to not being at home for Father’s Day, but I look forward to getting home on Monday to celebrate.”
It should be noted a gift he received Sunday would cover the need for any more presents on Father’s Day and his birthday, which is Tuesday.
Capps saw a four-event winning streak end on June 4 at Epping, N.H., but advanced to the championship round Sunday at Englishtown, N.J. It was a little amazing he kept advancing through the day.
For the third straight event, Capps lost traction in the first round but was able to masterfully pedal the throttle to win.
In the next round, Capps again lost traction while Alexis DeJoria moved to what seemed to be an insurmountable lead before she crossed the centerline and was disqualified. In the semifinals, he had another subpar run but it was enough to beat Robert Hight, who smoked his tires.
“We needed some luck,” Capps said. “It seems I haven’t received great luck during my career. I always thought it would be nice to have some lucky breaks once in a while.
“After you’ve put enough credits into the luck bank, it’s nice to take some out.”
DSR FUNNY CARS
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T – world champ, points leader
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2017 1st 10 4 1 2 1 1 0 0 23-5
CAREER 493 54* 51 91 99 179 21 19 652-420
* 53 FC/1 TF
Best Time, Speed: 3.839 sec. (2017, Phoenix); 333.58 mph (2017, Phoenix)
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (June 11), Englishtown, N.J.: Qualified No. 3, lost in championship round to Jack Beckman
A year ago at Bristol: Qualified No. 1, lost in semifinals to Matt Hagan
Career at Bristol: Wins 3 (2001, 2006, 2012); Runner-ups 1 (2015); Poles 1 (2016
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Englishtown, N.J.; 10th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (4) 931 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 802 -129
3. JACK BECKMAN (1) 652 -279
4. Courtney Force 648 -283
5. Robert Hight 645 -286
6t. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 587 -344
6t. John Force (1) 587 -344
8. J.R. Todd 444 -444
9. Tim Wilkerson 427 -504
10. Del Worsham 372 -559