Ron Capps heads to St. Louis ready to stay in championship hunt
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 23, 2014) – Ron Capps’ 20-year career as a professional drag racer is filled with accomplishments.
The popular California resident is known for starring roles in sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS creative national television commercials. He is as supportive of NAPA as any professional athlete can be of a supporter.
He and his wife, Shelley, have shared their teenage children’s development with the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series community as Taylor, a college freshman, and Caden, 13, have grown up at race tracks across the country.
Ron, 49, has won 44 Mello Yello event titles since his first in 1995 but he still hails his greatest achievement as his family that he shares with the drag racing community.
As a racer, he has driven for some of the greatest crew chiefs in the sports history from Ed “Ace” McCulloch to his current team leader, Rahn Tobler.
One descriptive label attached to Ron that he would like to change soon is being known as “the winningest driver in NHRA history who has not been crowned a world champion.” He has been the runner-up for the gold four times – 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2012 when he finished a record two points behind DSR teammate Jack Beckman.
Earlier this season he said – tongue in cheek – that he’d cut off a finger to win an NHRA world championship trophy.
While that ultimate prize and $500,000 bonus for Don Schumacher Racing would go a long way toward being the high watermark in his stellar career, in serious moments he looks to McCulloch, a legend and close friend, for proper perspective in evaluating what makes a career successful.
“I’ve talked about the championship with Ace many times because he’s one of the greatest drivers and most respected drivers in NHRA history and he never won the championship,” Ron said.
“Our fans love Ace and I’d be happy to have done what he has done in his career even if it meant I wouldn’t have a world championship ring.
“You still want to have a championship on your resume, that’s always the goal,” he said. “My mentors always have told me just keep your head down, keep focused on race wins because when race wins come the points come along with them. If you keep doing that you might look up at the end of the season and have a championship.”
He hopes to take a big step toward that when he arrives with Tobler and his NAPA AUTO PARTS team for the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis this weekend for the 21st event of the 24-race season and the midway point of the Countdown to the Championship playoff.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T has been driven into a winner’s circle by Ron twice this season and he will start the Gateway event tied for fifth in the standings with four races left in the Countdown.
He trails points leader John Force by 94 points but with 16 rounds of championship eliminations remaining, which award 20 points for each round win, that can be erased and there aren’t many tracks better for Ron than Gateway.
He has advanced to four championship rounds and left with the NHRA Wally trophy three times in 17 national events held at the track and no nother Funny Car driver has won their more.
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last weekend at Dallas:
Texas FallNationals: Qualified No. 3; lost in first round to Tim Wilkerson
Carolina Nationals: Qualified No. 5; lost in quarterfinals to Bob Tasca III
A year ago at St. Louis: Qualified No. 6; lost in quarterfinals to John Force
Career at St. Louis: Wins 3 (2007, 2005, 1997); Runner-ups 1 (2009); Poles 1 (2009)
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Unofficial points through Dallas events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins) points behind
1. John Force (3) 2,258 —–
2. Robert Hight (5) 2,213 -45
3. MATT HAGAN (2) 2,209 -49
4. Courtney Force (3) 2,197 -61
5t. RON CAPPS (2) 2,164 -94
5t. Alexis DeJoria (3) 2,164 -94
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 2,162 -96
8. Del Worsham 2,135 -123
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,123 -135
10. Cruz Pedregon (1) 2,093 -165
11. JACK BECKMAN 942 (not in Countdown)
NHRA Midwest Nationals Event Schedule (CT):
Friday: 3:30, 6 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 2, 4:30 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
Sunday: 3-4 p.m. ET, qualifying
Sunday: 4-7 p.m. ET, eliminations