Though Ron Capps’ weekend at the NHRA Norwalk Nationals ended in the second round, the three-time and reigning Funny Car world champion had another solid race weekend overall in his NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra. The winner of the recent Bristol, Tenn. event racked up several bonus points in qualifying while also securing another Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge win at Summit Motorsports Park.
Capps was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday night after clocking a 3.898-second E.T. at 331.28 MPH, earning three bonus points. He used a 3.934 E.T. in the second session to defeat Chad Green in the first round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. He then powered to his quickest pass of the event, a 3.887 E.T., to beat fellow championship challenger Robert Hight and his 3.933 E.T. for his second #Fast2Tasty Challenge victory. It was also the quickest pass of the session, giving Capps another three bonus points.
“To go up there and be either low E.T. or close to low E.T. every session is big,” Capps said. “Of course, winning the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge is a huge deal for us, especially at this racetrack. Not only the championship bonus points that comes with it, but it just set us up for a great race day today.”
With the momentum of three consecutive 3-second passes in qualifying, Capps went into eliminations qualified No. 2. Crew chief Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli gave Capps a potent car yet again, as Capps recorded the second-quickest pass of the round, a 3.930 E.T., to win his first-round matchup with rookie Alex Laughlin. In the second round, Capps was second off the starting line behind J.R. Todd, and while he tied Matt Hagan for low E.T. of the round, his 3.912-second effort wasn’t quick enough to get around Todd.
“We felt like we had the best car and the run showed that,” said Capps, the 2016 event champion. “When you start running like this you get a target on your back and that is just the way it is. J.R. (Todd) and those guys, they are hungry, and they are one of our Toyota teammates so it doesn’t hurt as bad when they get around us.”
Capps rolled into Norwalk with the points lead after winning the Thunder Valley Nationals. He dropped to second behind Hagan on Sunday but heads into the ‘Western Swing’ portion of the season with one of the quickest and most consistent Funny Cars in the class and sitting only four points out of first place.
“With the consistency we have had, that’s exactly what you want going into the West Coast swing,” Capps said. “And, going to Denver, where it’s especially challenging, you want to have a crew chief like Guido, ‘T Buck’ (asst. crew chief Tom Buckingham), and our guys because you are going to need it. For me, as a driver and a team owner, it is the most confidence-building thing you can have.”
Capps and his Ron Capps Motorsports team will now head West to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, for the NHRA Mile-High Nationals, July 14-16.
Start / Finish: Qualified No. 2/ Defeated by J.R. Todd in the quarterfinals
Points Earned: 63
2023 NHRA Camping World Series Points Standing / Total: No. 2/675
Next Race: July 14-16, Morrison, Colo., NHRA Mile-High Nationals
How to Watch or Listen: FS1; NHRA.TV
Established in 2021, Ron Capps Motorsports is a single-car NHRA Funny Car team owned and operated by reigning and three-time world champion Ron Capps. Headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., the team made its on-track debut in 2022 and competes on the 21-race NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit thanks to the support of NAPA Auto Parts, Toyota, and GearWrench.