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Capps Arrives Early in New England to Visit NAPA & Win Again at Epping

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 31, 2016) – Ron Capps wasn’t driving his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car last weekend but that didn’t keep him away from a racetrack and keeping tabs on his NAPA Racing teammates.

It was Capps’ way to prepare for a busy week in New England with several visits to NAPA AUTO PARTS locations before he begins racing Friday at 5 p.m. in the fourth annual NHRA New England Nationals at Epping, N.H.

While his 14-year-old son Caden was competing in his first NHRA Jr. Dragster event Sunday at Barona Dragstrip not far from their home in Carlsbad, Calif., Capps gave his arm a good workout while trying to keep tabs on his new NAPA Racing teammate Alexander Rossi, a rookie competing in the 100th Indianapolis 500.

“There was a circle about 10 feet where I could get cell service if I held my arm up,” Capps said.

“I had a lot of friends texting me for the last 10 laps that he had a chance. I’m so proud that he won the Indy 500 and that NAPA and Carlyle Tools helped to sponsor his car. I knew he would be there at the end because he’s a smart racer.

“I was rooting for him like I always root for Chase (Elliott) in our NAPA AUTO PARTS NASCAR Cup car.”

Good NAPA karma could carry over this weekend for Capps when he races at New England Dragway where he won the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title in 2014.

“The first year we came to New England Dragway (in 2013) we noticed how much fans had missed seeing major-league drag racing, and we have so many NAPA fans in that part of the country.”

 

A testament to that is a week full of NAPA activities for Capps and his wife, Shelley. They flew across the country Tuesday with a first stop planned to visit longtime NAPA supporter and Bentley Saloon owner Bentley Warren, a hall-of-fame open-wheel racer who competed in 37 IndyCar races including Indy 500s in 1971 and 1975. He was on hand to watch Rossi win on Sunday.

After visiting the Bentley Saloon in Kennebunkport, Maine, Capps will visit NAPA customers Wednesday before going to the NAPA Maine Distribution Center.

Once he gets to New England Dragway, his sole focus will be on the legendary track where his NAPA AUTO PARTS team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane expect to rebound from a surprising first-round exit at the last Mello Yello race two weeks ago at Topeka, Kan.

Sunday in Topeka started with Capps seeded No. 8 based on his qualifying run of 3.895 seconds at 326.79 mph. But he encountered an engine problem in the first round in a loss to former world champion Robert Hight.

“We fought the problem in Q3 (Saturday night qualifying) when it dropped a cylinder at the hit of the throttle,” Capps said of the team’s first opening-round loss since late last summer. “That doesn’t happen to us very often. I know our NAPA guys determined what the problem was, and we won’t have to worry about that this weekend.”

 

RON CAPPS: NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (May 22), Topeka, Kan.: Qualified No. 8; lost in first round to Robert Hight
A year ago at Epping: Qualified No. 9; lost in first round to Alexis DeJoria
Career at Epping (3 events): Wins 1 (2014); Runner-ups 0; Poles 0

 PointsEventsWinsRunner-upSemiQuarterFirst RoundPolesDNQWin/Loss
20166th8111311112/6
Career46746*4683961771819584/402

*45 FC/1 TF; Best time, speed: 3.885 sec. (2015, Pomona 2); 327.19 mph (2015, St. Louis)

2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
After 8 of 24 events

 Driver (wins)points
1Courtney Force (1)601
2Jack Beckman589
3Tim Wilkerson (2)554
4Matt Hagan (2)511
5Robert Hight (1)510
6Ron Capps (1)504
7Del Worsham485
8Alexis DeJoria (1)451
9John Force448
10Tommy Johnson Jr.404

NHRA New England Nationals Event Schedule (ET)
Friday: 5, 7:30 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 2, 4:30 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations

ON FS1
Saturday: 2:30-3:30 p.m., live qualifying
Sunday: 4-7 p.m., championship eliminations

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