BROWNSBURG, Ind. (April 17, 2013) – Ron Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team breathed a sigh of relief when they left the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals a year ago by advancing to the championship round.
Although they didn’t leave with the coveted trophy, they made a 180-degree turnaround from the previous race at Las Vegas when they didn’t qualify for eliminations and left with a new crew chief.
One of the biggest comebacks of the past NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season –
the other by Capps’ Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman – was by Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team that started at zMAX Dragway last April.
Capps had a new crew chief in Rahn Tobler, who was moved from Jack Beckman by team owner Don Schumacher at Las Vegas, and it took little time for the NAPA team to show that it was not the one that left Las Vegas.
With Tobler and his crew moved over from Beckman, Capps qualified No. 2 and advanced to the Four-Wide championship round where he finished third.
“I remember that weekend how many things were new to me working with Rahn and the new guys, but everyone felt so confident,” said Capps, who has won 39 NHRA titles.
The confidence carried over as the team advanced to championship rounds at the next five Mello Yello events when the NAPA team won two of its five event titles and finished two points behind Beckman for the season championship.
“Yeah, it all started at the Four-Wide,” Capps said. “Getting to Charlotte will bring back a lot of good memories.”
Capps and the NAPA team hope to get this season turned around at zMAX. After advancing to the finals of this year’s season-opener and winning the following event, the team has been fighting some nagging gremlins that have prevented their Dodge Charger R/T from getting past the first round.
At the last race at Las Vegas, Capps arrived tied for first in points but left in fifth place.
“This team is getting it figured out,” he said. “It’s a long season and I’m not worried right now. This is the same team that accomplished everything we did last year and it’s just a matter of time until we’re winning again.”
Capps returns to zMAX where he won the title last fall in a traditional two-car format.
“The Four-Wide is very cool for the fans to able to see that much power on the same run,” he said of igniting 40,000 horsepower on each qualifying and elimination run.
“But it is a challenge for drivers and crew chiefs.”
He explained the most dramatic differences will be on Sunday during championship eliminations starting with staging at the starting line. No driver wants to be idling for too long as the other three drivers inch toward the line. And more focus is needed moments before the starting line Christmas tree is activated, especially if you are in the middle two lanes with rumbling cars on each side.
And then crew chiefs have less time to make last-second adjustments after burnouts.
“It’s pretty wild. It’s fun, but the points are pretty serious.”
RON’S TRACK STATS
Last event (April 5-7, Las Vegas): Qualified No. 7; lost in first round to Del Worsham
A year ago at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 2; lost in championship round
Last race at zMAX Dragway, September: Qualified No. 4; defeated Mike Neff in championship round
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 0; runner-ups 0; poles 0
Career at zMAX: Wins 1 (2012); runner-ups 0; poles 0
Pts Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2013 5th 4 1 1 0 0 7-3
Career 394 39 40 14 17 481-335
BEST TIME, SPEED
Capps 3.964* (5-31-12, Englishtown), 320.89 mph (5-31-12, Englishtown)
* Quickest ever
THIS WEEK AT CONCORD, N.C.
Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals; zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.
Wednesday: 7 p.m., NHRA vs. NASCAR Charity Softball Game, Kannapolis, N.C.
Friday: 3:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 1 p.m., 3 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: Noon, championship eliminations
Saturday: 5-7 p.m. (ET, delayed), nitro qualifying
Sunday: 7-10 p.m. (ET, delayed), eliminations
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
(Standings after 4 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Courtney Force, 315
2. JOHNNY GRAY, 301
3. Cruz Pedregon, 298
4. MATT HAGAN, 284
5. RON CAPPS, 277
6. Del Worsham, 223
7. Robert Hight, 220
8. JACK BECKMAN, 206
9. Bob Tasca III, 187
10. Alexis DeJoria, 190
2013 event winners: Courtney Force, RON CAPPS, JOHNNY GRAY, Cruz Pedregon
About NAPA AUTO PARTS
NAPA was founded in 1925 to meet America’s growing need for a world-class auto parts distribution system. By providing excellent customer service for more than 80 years, NAPA has become the industry leader.
NAPA’s strength is unrivaled, with over 6,000 NAPA AUTO PARTS stores, 64 Distribution Centers, more than 14,000 NAPA AutoCare, AutoCare Collision and Truck Service repair facilities and over 400,000 parts in inventory every day and the convenience of 24-hour shopping with NAPAonline.com. NAPA AUTO PARTS stores provide friendly, personalized service. Our highly trained and experienced professionals are here to help you get the job done. With our huge in-stock inventory, NAPA provides the parts you need when you need them.
For your automotive repair needs, NAPA AutoCare and AutoCare Collision and Truck Service Centers can handle everything from preventive maintenance to major repairs. Technicians at NAPA AutoCare Centers have access to the most extensive training in the automotive industry. Qualifying repairs are backed by the NAPA AutoCare “Peace of Mind” Warranty, providing our customers with 24-month/24,000 mile worry-free protection on qualifying parts and labor. Wherever you may travel, our warranty is honored at all NAPA AutoCare Center locations across the country.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., starts 2013 with seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Matco Tools dragster driven by Antron Brown and the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher and the Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher dragster driven by Spencer Massey; and in Funny Car, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Valvoline/MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors Dodge Charger R/T, 2011 world champion Matt Hagan in the Magneti Marelli Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Pitch Energy Dodge of Johnny Gray.
DSR has won 201 NHRA national event titles and 11 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.