BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 25, 2014) – No one has won more Funny Car titles at Las Vegas than Ron Capps, but that shouldn’t be a surprise.
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is in the western division of the NHRA so it serves as one of four tracks that he considers home.
Ron, who was born in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and lives in Carlsbad near San Diego, is able to drive to those events with his family in tow. His parents, John and Betty, join him at Las Vegas along with the family of his younger brother Jon Capps, who lives in Las Vegas and competes part-time in a Funny Car.
“There are places where we have had the luxury to get to the winner’s circle, and there’s nothing cooler than to be able to do it with your immediate family and close friends,” Ron said.
He’s left Las Vegas five times with the coveted Wally trophy. In all, 15 of his 41 event titles – 37 percent – have come on the West Coast: Las Vegas 5; Sonoma, Calif., 4; Phoenix 3; and Pomona 3.
Ron also has had similar success at tracks owned by Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports Inc., which among its holdings include dragstrips in Las Vegas, Sonoma, Bristol, Tenn., and near Charlotte. He has won 13 times (31 percent) at those tracks: (Las Vegas 5, Sonoma 4, Bristol 3, Charlotte 1).
He has won once in the Las Vegas spring race and four times when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns in the fall for the year’s penultimate event.
“For me, Vegas is a track that has turned into a home race. I get a large contingent of my family there and a lot of friends from NAPA. It’s cool to win a race at a track where you really look forward to going to. It’s a great facility, great people run it and there’s no place better to celebrate than Vegas.”
“I don’t know why. It’s one of those things you can’t explain, but I’m not going to argue with it. I love going to all of Bruton’s tracks. There are certain places where a driver does well even with different crew chiefs, and there are tracks where a crew chief will do well even with different drivers.”
There couldn’t be a better time for Ron and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane to go to a track where they are confident of being able to go deeply into the weekend’s championship eliminations.
Through three NHRA events, the NAPA team has lost in the first round and quarterfinals before advancing to the semifinals at the last race two weeks ago. The team has steadily been developing a new set-up for its Dodge that will carry him toward a first world championship.
“This is a long season and I know Tobler’s plan is going to pay off for our NAPA team,” Ron said. “We have run quick and are starting to go rounds, and going rounds is what matters most.”
THURSDAY’S FANFEST ON ‘BROOKLYN BRIDGE’
The annual spring NHRA Fanfest returns to the “Brooklyn Bridge” in front of the New York New York Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip is 5-7 p.m. (PT) Thursday when the event kicks off the NHRA Nationals with music, games, ticket giveaways and fun. Ron will lead Don Schumacher Racing drivers Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Spencer Massey, Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr., who will be joined by other stars of the Mello Yello Series from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a free autograph session. Another feature of Fanfest will be the display of DSR’s New York New York Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. New York New York is the official Las Vegas hotel and casino for DSR.
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2014 7th 3 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 3-3
CAREER 414 41 40 FC/1 TF 41 69 84 161 15 18 509-355
Best Time, Speed: 3.964* sec., (5-31-12, Englishtown, N.J.); 320.89 mph (5-31-12, Englishtown)
* NHRA Quickest ever
BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (March 14-16, Gainesville, Fla.): Qualified No. 6; lost in semifinals to Robert Hight
A year ago at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 7; lost in first round to Del Worsham
Last fall at Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 4; lost in second round to Alexis DeJoria
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 1 (2009); Runner-ups 2 (2007, 2006); Poles 0
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 5 (2012, 2011, 2009, 2005, 2001); Runner-ups 2 (2007, 2006); Poles 1 (2011)
NHRA MELLO YELLO FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Through Gainesville, third of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins), points
1. John Force (1), 316
2. Robert Hight (1), 273
3. Alexis DeJoria (1), 187
3. Del Worsham (0), 187
5. Bob Tasca III (0), 184
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (0), 168
7. RON CAPPS (0), 164
8. MATT HAGAN (0), 161
9. JACK BECKMAN (0), 151
10. Courtney Force (0), 146
SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals Event Schedule
Friday: 2 p.m., 5 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 1:30 p.m., 4:15 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
ON ESPN2 (ET)
Saturday: 8-9:30 p.m., qualifying
Sunday: 11 p.m. – 1:30 a.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.