BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 19, 2016) – Ron Capps is a drag racing traditionalist who revels in talking about the sport’s past six decades.
That’s not to say he is reluctant to try something new, and he’s become a big fan of four-wide racing that was introduced seven years ago at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Nothing would please him more than to add an NHRA Wally trophy to his collection weekend by winning near Charlotte in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the only event on the NHRA Mello Yello circuit that pits four cars side by side in a 40,000-horsepower attack on the senses.
“I look forward to the Four-Wide,” he said. “Some say drag racing should be this or that. The Four-Wide has been a work in progress but the last few years a lot of improvements have been made, like with the Christmas trees, and we all are more used to it.
“I grew up at a racetrack every weekend with my dad, and I remember his stories about back at tracks (in California’s San Joaquin Valley) that were old airports where they race eight, 10 or even 12 wide.”
The 21st century of multiple lane drag racing is far safer with a guardwall separating two pairs of two-lane tracks.
In the Four-Wide, four pro racecars compete together in each of four qualifying sessions beginning Friday with the 16 quickest advancing to Sunday’s championship elimination rounds in which the first two to the finish line move on to the next heat. In the third and final group of four, the first to the line gets the coveted Wally.
— Ron Capps (@RonCapps28) April 19, 2016
“It’s an exciting race, and I tell fans they have to see it,” said Capps, who won this year’s season-opener and ranks third in championship points with Don Schumacher Racing’s NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane.
“I guarantee you that after the first qualifying session on Friday every driver will be talking about how they staged and jumping around because it was so much fun. It’s just so different.”
Most Funny Car drivers could use a change of pace after the first four of 24 races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series when a different driver has won at each stop.
Capps and his NAPA team could use something out of the norm to get back on the winning track after not qualifying two weeks ago for the NHRA event at Las Vegas.
That, however, could be a good omen as the last time the team did not qualify for championship eliminations was in 2013 and the NAPA team rallied to win the Wally at the next event.
The race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), with qualifying highlights on April 23 at 10 p.m. and finals coverage on April 24 at 4:30 p.m.
RON CAPPS: NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (April 1-3 at Las Vegas): Did not qualify
2015 at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 3, lost in first round
2015 Fall at Charlotte: Qualified No. 3, lost in second round to John Force
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 1
Career at zMAX: Wins 1; Runner-ups 0; Poles 1
*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 4 of 24 events
|1||Robert Hight (1)||341|
|3||Ron Capps (1)||289|
|8||Alexis DeJoria (1)||233|
|9||Tim Wilkerson (1)||221|
|11||Tommy Johnson Jr.||149|
Four-Wide Nationals Event Schedule (all times ET)
Friday: 5, 7 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 2:30, 4:30 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: Noon, championship eliminations
TV Schedule on FS1 (all times ET)
Saturday: 10 p.m.-12 a.m., qualifying
Sunday: 4:30-7:30 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.