BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 15, 2015) – Ron Capps has set NHRA records throughout his 21-year driving career, but there is one that has haunted the veteran driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2015 Dodge Charger R/T team.
He will be taking it one race at a time when this year’s six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff begins Friday near Charlotte with the Carolina NHRA Nationals.
Ron has been runner-up to the championship an NHRA-record four times including 2012 when he finished a record two points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman.
“I’ve been asked so many times about how I’ll feel if when my career ends I haven’t won a championship,” said Ron, who has won 45 NHRA event titles. “My answer hasn’t changed: Winning a championship will not define who I am or whether I’ve had a successful career.”
When racing begins Friday, Ron will be seeded No. 6 and 70 points out of first place.
“A couple years ago (2012) we won the first Countdown race and battled for the championship right down to the wire,” he said of losing the championship to Beckman.
“That was the season when we got (crew chief) Rahn Tobler. He’s a big picture crew chief who makes sure everything like clutch discs and all of our parts are in order to start the Countdown. He’s already thought out what parts and pieces he wants for different conditions all the way through to Pomona.”
Ron finished the this year’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season 356 points out of first despite winning two Wally trophies and received a boost when points were reset to start the Countdown.
“We’ve seen other teams that barely got into the Countdown win the championship and other teams that dominated the regular season struggle in the Countdown,” he said. “History has shown it doesn’t matter where you start.
“You can have all the confidence in what your team has done all year, what it did at the last race or on the last run. In drag racing it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a win the next time out.
“We’ve seen it all.
“The Countdown is heightened awareness,” Capps said. “I had a blast going right down to the wire in (2012). Some drivers excel at the pressure and some don’t. There’s nothing like going right down to the last race of the year at Pomona.”
Ron Capps: NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Sept. 4-7, Indianapolis): Qualified No. 9; lost in second round to Jack Beckman
This spring at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 3; lost in first round
Last fall at Charlotte 2: Qualified No. 5; lost in second round to Bob Tasca III
Career in fall event at Charlotte 2: Wins 1 (2012); Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 1 (2014)
Career at zMAX: Wins 1; Runner-ups 0; Poles 1
*44 FC/1 TF; Best Time, Speed: 3.964 sec., (2012, Englishtown, N.J.); 324.12 mph (2015, Topeka)
2015 Regular Season Final StandingsStandings through Indy, 18 of 24 events
|1||Jack Beckman (6)||1458||----|
|2||Matt Hagan (4)||1280||-178|
|3||Tommy Johnson, Jr. (2)||1271||-187|
|5||John Force (2)||1143||-315|
|6||Ron Capps (2)||1102||-356|
|7||Robert Hight (1)||1061||-389|
|8||Tim Wilkerson (1)||1022||-436|
Countdown to the Championship Standings (after reset)After reset 9/17
|1||Jack Beckman (6)||2110||----|
|2||Matt Hagan (4)||2080||-30|
|3||Tommy Johnson, Jr. (2)||2070||-40|
|5||John Force (2)||2050||-60|
|6||Ron Capps (2)||2040||-70|
|7||Robert Hight (1)||2030||-80|
|8||Tim Wilkerson (1)||2020||-90|
NHRA Carolina Nationals Event Schedule (all times ET)
Friday: 4:00, 6:00 p.m. Qualifying
Saturday: 1:30, 3:45 p.m. Qualifying
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. Championship Eliminations
Sunday: 7:00-8:00 a.m. Qualifying
Sunday: 8:30-11:30 p.m. Championship Eliminations
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.