Capps holds the No. 3 spot but top Funny Car drivers are on his NAPA bumper.
SEATTLE (July 29, 2014) – The next three NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events could be pivotal for Ron Capps and his quest for his first world championship.
And the affable driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T led by crew chief Rahn Tobler is confident the team is on the right course as they head to this week’s Northwest NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.
Although disappointed with Sunday’s first-round loss at Sonoma, Calif., the winner of 41 NHRA event titles was pleased that he was able leave the track near San Francisco ranked third in the Mello Yello standings.
“It is so tough out here, especially this time of year with the Western Swing that puts Tobler and the other crew chiefs in tough positions with the heat and changing track conditions,” Ron said.
“We expected to go longer on Sunday, and I’m not sure what happened to our NAPA Dodge. But I wouldn’t trade Tobler for any crew chief out there. He’s always thinking ahead and that has paid off for us this year.
“The competition is so tough out here, and everyone is going to lose now and then. It’s important when you win and the deeper into the season you get it just makes that harder to do and more important.”
Ron and his NAPA team face the three most critical races to their season.
When the top-10 in points are finalized upon conclusion of the Mello Yello regular season, which includes this weekend’s race near Seattle and events at Brainerd, Minn., and near Indianapolis, the points totals will be reset for those 10 Funny Car drivers eligible to win the season title in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff that ends the season.
Ron will arrive at Seattle 259 points behind leader Robert Hight and 140 points behind No. 2 John Force. Overcoming either would be a monumental challenge so Ron is more concerned with drivers on his bumper.
Courtney Force, who won Sunday’s title, is within 16 points of catching Ron while Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. is fifth and only 19 behind Ron. Alexis DeJoria is sixth (74 behind Ron) and DSR’s Matt Hagan is seventh (89 behind).
“We’re at the time of the year when the smallest mistake can be critical,” Ron said.
“As a big fan of drag racing, these next three races are going to be exciting. But as a driver, it couldn’t be more nerve wracking.”
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
Last event Sonoma (July 27): Qualified No. 7; lost in first round to Alexis DeJoria
A year ago at Seattle: did not qualify (17th)
Career at Seattle: Wins 2 (1998, 1995); Runner-ups 4 (2010, 2008, 2006, 2013, 2001); Poles 2 (2012, 1997)
*41 FC/1 TF
Best Time, Speed: 3.964* sec., (5-31-12, Englishtown, N.J.); 320.89 mph (5-31-12, Englishtown)
NHRA Funny Car Standings
(Official after 15 of 24 events)
|1||Robert Hight (5)||1216||----|
|2||John Force (2)||1097||-119|
|3||Ron Capps (1)||957||-259|
|4||Courtney Force (2)||941||-275|
|5||Tommy Johnson, Jr. (1)||938||-278|
|6||Alexis DeJoria (2)||883||-333|
|7||Matt Hagan (1)||868||-348|
|8||Cruz Pedregon (1)||840||-376|
NHRA Northwest Nationals Schedule (All times PT)
Friday: 3, 6 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 1, 4 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
ON ESPN2 (All times ET)
Saturday: 10 p.m.-12 a.m., qualifying
Sunday: 7-10 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.