The NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team with crew chief Rahn Tobler helped driver Ron Capps win his first title in 22 years at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., and retake the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series championship points lead that he relinquished a week ago in the opening race of the Countdown to the Championship playoff.
“Every time I’ve driven through the gate here, I say ‘I love you, I love you, I love you Maple Grove. Give me some love back.’ I’ve always left here a little short,” said Capps, who won his career-best seventh Mello Yello title this year in 20 races.
“Getting the points lead back was secondary to winning here. It was an ecstatic feeling in the shutdown area.”
Capps raced in the final round for the second straight year at Maple Grove and fourth time in his career en route to the 57th NHRA title of his career.
In the opening round, he lost traction late in the run against Jim Campbell but recovered just enough to win with a time of 4.166 seconds to Campbell’s 4.213. In the next round, Capps made a good run and eliminated DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.
In the semifinals, Capps, who qualified third, faced No. 2 Matt Hagan, another teammate, and held a slight lead when Hagan’s parachutes prematurely deployed that sealed the win for Capps.
In the final. Capps held a lead over Courtney Force but near the finish line her parachutes deployed early. Capps’ 3.968 (326.48) topped her 3.993 (311.70).
“We fell behind a little bit and got lucky in the first round,” said Capps, who leads Robert Hight by eight points. “We feel like we make our own luck; the harder you work the luckier you get.”
The third of six Countdown playoff events begins Friday at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.
Start / Finish: Qualified No. 3 / Won in championship round over Courtney Force
Points Earned: 120
Countdown to the Championship Points Standing / Total: 1st / 2,273
Next Race: Sept. 29-Oct. 1, St. Louis
How to Watch or Listen: Fox Sports 1; NHRA All Access
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.