KENT, Wash. (Aug. 3, 2016) – Ron Capps can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t going to drag races.
It started before he could walk and was attending with his racing dad, John, and mom, Betty.
Last weekend, he was with his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T and crew chief Rahn Tobler at Sonoma Raceway near San Francisco where he recalled running around the pit area while his dad raced.
— Jose Carlos Fajardo (@jcfphotog) August 1, 2016
This weekend is the second stop on his annual “flashback tour.”
Pacific Raceways near Seattle is where he won his first NHRA pro tour event title while driving Roger Primm’s unsponsored Top Fuel dragster.
“I remember getting to our hotel and then driving to the track with our crew in the 18-wheeler,” said Capps, whose seventh final round of the year on Sunday resulted in a loss to John Force at Sonoma. “Bill Knight was a Seattle reporter who did a story on me for that week’s paper, and I still don’t know why he picked me. I was the unheard of longshot. That was a big deal to me.”
Ron had to endure a rain delay on Sunday and Monday before racing in the semifinals and finals on Tuesday. Shelley, is wife of three years at the time, spent the weekend at the track but had to fly back to work Monday morning.
“I woke up on Tuesday morning knowing as a rookie I had a shot to get to the final, but never thought about winning if I got there.
“I remember the final and coming around the corner at the end of the track, and I knew my win light had come on and I won. Al Hofmann won Funny Car and he was there doing an interview,” he said of the late Floridian who won 15 titles in his career. “Al came over and gave me a high-five and hugged me. That was a huge deal to celebrate with a legend like Al Hofmann.”
This weekend in the 16th race of the 24-event NHRA Mello Drag Racing Series season, Capps is looked at as a legend as the second winningest driver in Funny Car history with 48 titles.
And he arrives as the points leader with a category-best four titles and a 130-point lead over Courtney Force with three races left in the regular season before points are reset to start the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff for the top-10 teams after Labor Day.
“I was part of a crew and one of the guys driving down the road,” he said of the year before he jumped to the highly financed team owned by Don Prudhomme. That move enabled Capps to let his Commercial Driver’s License expire.
“That helped me in my career because I realized how important crew guys are and how hard their jobs are. I had a lot of responsibility doing a little of everything on (Primm’s) dragster so there wasn’t much time at the rope to be with fans.”
This weekend, Capps continues his world championship dream but also realizes every day at the track he’s also still living a dream.
Ron Capps: NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Last event: Sonoma, Calif. (July 31, 2016): Qualified No. 5, lost in championship round to John Force
A year ago at Seattle: Qualified No. 8, lost in second round to Jack Beckman
Career at Seattle: Wins 2 (1995-TF & career first, 1998); Runner-ups 4 (2001, 2006, 2008, 2010); Poles 2 (1997, 2012)
*48 FC/1 TF; Best time, speed: 3.865 sec. (2016, Epping); 327.19 mph (2015, St. Louis)
2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car Standings
Top 10 after 15 of 24 events
|1||Ron Capps (4)||1214|
|2||Courtney Force (1)||1084|
|3||Jack Beckman (1)||1031|
|5||John Force (2)||937|
|6||Matt Hagan (2)||936|
|6||Robert Hight (1)||936|
|8||Tommy Johnson Jr. (1)||888|
|9||Tim Wilkerson (2)||827|
|10||Alexis DeJoria (1)||765|
NHRA Northwest Nationals Event Schedule (all times PT)
Friday: 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – Nitro Qualifying
Saturday: 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm – Nitro Qualifying
Sunday: 11:00 am – Championship Eliminations
NHRA Northwest Nationals TV Schedule (all times ET)
Friday: 8:00 pm – Qualifying on FS1
Sunday: 2:00 am – Qualifying on FS1
Sunday: 4:00 pm – Championship Eliminations on FOX
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.