BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2015) – Ron Capps has never lacked for motivation to win NHRA trophies and the California native has added incentive this year to reach the winner’s circle at Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
It’s a path he knows well as the resident of Carlsbad, Calif., ranks second in all-time NHRA Funny Car event titles with 42 since winning his first and only trophy in Top Fuel during his 1995 rookie season.
No one is better in television interviews at sharing credit with crew chief Rahn Tobler, longtime sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS and his Don Schumacher Racing team. This is Ron’s 21st season as a professional driver including the last eight with NAPA AUTO PARTS as the primary marketing partner for his 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
Ron Capps 2015 NHRA season will bring another message when the driver speaks to NAPA associates, fans and media.
He will frequently mention the importance of getting annual physicals and not hesitating to see a doctor if something seems askew with your health or that of a loved one.
And he wants to share that message beginning this weekend during the NHRA Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., to open the 2015 Mello Yello season.
That guidance grew in importance threefold last year. Pain in his right arm led to an examination that revealed three torn triceps muscle, which he had corrected with surgery a few days after the 2014 season ended. That same week he learned Don Schumacher, his boss at DSR since 2005, was diagnosed with cancer at his annual physical that led to successful cancer surgery.
But those serious diagnoses weren’t the only ones that hit home.
In March, his 13-year-old son, Caden, was playing baseball and later began complaining about soreness in his back. It seemed minor, maybe a growth spurt, Ron and his wife, Shelley, thought. But about a week later when the discomfort persisted they took him to a doctor where an x-ray determined he apparently was in the beginning stages of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents.
“I can’t stress how important it is to take your kids to the doctor no matter how minor you might think a problem is,” Ron said.
Further examination at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego revealed the malady was in his fourth rib. A biopsy determined it was Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which is a rare disorder of dendritic cells, doctors determined.
Doctors opted to try experimental treatments before using a regiment of chemotherapy or radiation.
“We just kind of dealt with that every couple of months during the season and going to get bone scans at Rady. Now all he has is that fourth rib missing and none of the other stuff has grown. That’s probably the best news. Now we just have to really keep our eye on it and do a scan every couple of months.
“But at this point he doesn’t have to do any radiation or chemo.”
Ron received support from DSR and especially his NAPA team and crew chief Rahn Tobler, whose wife, Ellen, is a breast cancer survivor. DSR owner Don Schumacher’s wife, Sarah, also is a cancer survivor.
“That brought us to our knees when we found out Don had cancer, but he caught it early enough because his annual physical was the week after Pomona.
“We also caught Caden’s problem early enough that he was diagnosed before it progressed. One thing I’m going to stress this year at every opportunity is the importance of regular physicals and not putting off getting a problem checked out by a doctor.”
Ron Capps, 2015 NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Nov. 16, 2014, at Pomona): Qualified No. 3; lost in quarterfinals to Matt Hagan.
2014 Winternationals: Qualified No. 5; lost in quarterfinals to Bob Tasca III.
Career at Winternationals: Wins 2 (2009, 1998); Runner-ups 3 (2013, 2010, 2006); Poles 1 (1999)
Career at Pomona: Wins 2; Runner-ups 4; Poles 2
*41 FT/1 TF
Best Time, Speed: 3.964 sec., (5-31-12, Englishtown, N.J.); 320.89 mph (5-31-12, Englishtown)
2014 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car Final Championship Standings
|1||Matt Hagan (4)||2628||----|
|2||John Force (3)||2585||-43|
|3||Tommy Johnson, Jr. (1)||2442||-186|
|4||Courtney Force (4)||2421||-207|
|5||Robert Hight (5)||2414||-214|
|6||Del Worsham (1)||2393||-235|
|7||Alexis DeJoria (3)||2382||-246|
|8||Ron Capps (2)||2375||-253|
|10||Cruz Pedregon (1)||2244||-384|
NHRA Circle K Winternationals Event Schedule (all times PT)
Friday: 1, 4 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 1, 4 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
ON ESPN2 (all times ET)
Saturday: 10-11:30 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 7:30-10:30 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.