A risky decision by NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car crew chief Rahn Tobler paid off Sunday when driver Ron Capps won the NHRA Heartland Nationals at Topeka, Kan., his fourth consecutive NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title.
Capps’ 54th Funny Car win extends his championship points lead to 119 over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, who set world records for time (3.802 seconds) and speed (338.85 mph) in qualifying before losing to Capps in the championship round.
Capps has won 15 consecutive rounds and is the first to accomplish that since John Force in 2013.
“Unbelievable,” said Capps, whose top speed of the weekend was 325 that paled to 338-mph runs by Hagan, Courtney Force and Robert Hight and each were beaten by Capps Sunday.
“We couldn’t go toe to toe with those guys but no one is better that Rahn Tobler on race day. Those speeds are great, they’re great for headlines, (but) Mello Yello championships are won by E.T.s and especially race wins.
“We were fighting a little bit of an issue with the car and it was in the fuel system.”
Capps, who qualified seventh, was surprised when he arrived at the track Sunday morning and Tobler was having his NAPA AutoCare crew change the fuel pump.
“To change a fuel pump on Sunday is incredible,” he said. “It took a lot of guts for him to do that and look what happened. I’ve got a crew chief that can adapt to anything.”
Start / Finish: Qualified No. 7 / won in championship round over DSR teammate Matt Hagan
Points Earned: 115
Points Standing / Total: 1st / 748 after eight of 24 Mello Yello events
Next Race: June 2-4, New England Nationals, Epping, N.H.
How to Watch or Listen: Fox Sports 1; NHRA All Access
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), the winningest team in drag racing history, has raced to claimed more than 340 NHRA national event victories and 17 Mello Yello World Championship titles. Headquartered in Brownsburg, Indiana, DSR fields professional teams competing in both the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series and Factory Stock Showdown, including the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driven by 2016 World Champion Ron Capps.