ST. LOUIS (Sept. 21, 2016) – Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team extended its NHRA Countdown points lead last weekend near Charlotte with a solid qualifying performance that led to the No. 2 seed before advancing to the semifinals.
Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler carried a philosophy into this year’s six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff intent on earning qualifying points and at least advancing to the semifinals during eliminations on Sunday.
The NAPA Dodge was the quickest in one qualifying session near Charlotte and second best on two other runs to earn the No. 2 qualifying spot, just missing its fifth pole of the year. Capps advanced to the semifinals where he lost to eventual event winner John Force.
Now the veteran driver with 50 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event titles is ready to do even better than last weekend when racing begins Friday in the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis. It is a track where Capps has won the title three times in four final rounds.
The Midwest Nationals is the second of three races in as many weeks to open the Countdown, and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team has not shied away from successive races. In June, Capps and Tobler with assistant Eric Lane won three of four titles to take control of the points lead.
— Ron Capps (@RonCapps28) September 21, 2016
“We had some pretty good luck at those East Coast races,” said Capps who has won five titles this year through 19 races. “There are just some racetracks where you do really well and Gateway is one of them.”
A year ago at Gateway, Capps set a career best time with a run of 3.937 seconds. But his performance, along with many of the top Funny Cars, has improved further. His current all-time best is 3.843 (330.23 mph) set in August near Seattle.
“We have such a great, competitive field of drivers and you can’t take anything for granted. This is one of the most fun years I’ve had, but it’s hard to enjoy it because you’re so engulfed in this Countdown. Fans are having a blast.”
“It’s just one race at a time, and that’s all we’re focused on. It is fun to be able to do that and have a racecar that I can trust will be as quick as anybody on race day. It’s going to be a lot of fun the rest of the way.
“I’m excited about our NAPA Dodge and what we have with Tobler.”
Ron Capps: NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event: Charlotte (Sept. 16-18): Qualified No. 2, lost in semifinals to John Force
A year ago at St. Louis: Qualified No. 4, lost in semifinals to Matt Hagan
Career at St. Louis: Wins 3 (1997, 2005, 2007); Runner-ups 1 (2009); Poles 1 (2009)
*49 FC/1 TF; Best time, speed: 3.843 sec. (2016, Seattle); 330.23 mph (2016, Seattle)
2016 NHRA Countdown to the Championship Funny Car Standings
After 1 of 6 Countdown events
|Driver (2016 event titles)||points|
|1||Ron Capps (5)||2194|
|2||Del Worsham (1)||2152|
|3||John Force (3)||2144|
|4||Tommy Johnson Jr. (1)||2132|
|5||Matt Hagan (3)||2122|
|6||Courtney Force (1)||2094|
|7||Robert Hight (1)||2093|
|8||Jack Beckman (1)||2084|
|9||Tim Wilkerson (2)||2067|
|10||Alexis DeJoria (1)||2036|
NHRA Midwest Nationals TV Schedule (all times ET)
Friday: 7:00 pm – Qualifying on FS1
Sunday: 2:00 pm – Final Eliminations on FS1
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.