• Date of birth: June 20, 1965
• Hometown: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
• Residence: Carlsbad, Calif.
• Wife: Shelley
• Daughter: Taylor
• Son: Caden
• Height/weight: 5-foot-8, 150 pounds
• Hobbies: Computer racing games, racquetball and golf
• Brother Jon Capps of Las Vegas is a part-time Funny Car driver in NHRA
• Category: NHRA Funny Car
• Sponsor/car: NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
• Crew chief: Rahn Tobler
• Career best points finish: 2nd (1998, 2000, 2005, 2012)
• Career event titles: 43 (Top Fuel: 1; Funny Car: 42)
• Career final rounds: 85 (TF: 2; FC: 83)
• Career No. 1 qualifying positions: 16
• Career best elapsed time: 3.964 seconds (May 31, 2012, Englishtown, N.J.)
• Career best speed: 320.89 mph (May 31, 2012, Englishtown, N.J.)
• On the Internet: twitter.com/NapaRonCapps, facebook.com/RonCappsFC, NAPAonline.com, ShoeRacing.com
Ron Capps has every reason to be optimistic for the 2013 NHRA Mello Drag Racing Series season that will be his ninth as a member of Don Schumacher Racing and 19th as a professional racer.
The new season will mark his second full year with veteran crew chief Rahn Tobler and their NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team with assistant John Collins that returns intact for 2014.
The NAPA team has been the most successful Funny Car over the past two seasons with eight event titles.
Ron is coming off a year when he won three race titles in five championship rounds to push his career total to 41, including his first in 1995 while driving a Top Fuel dragster. Coupled with his race titles, Ron is one of 14 drivers in NHRA history to have won in both of drag racing’s premier categories.
The NAPA team finished the 2013 season ranked sixth and fell short of matching 2012 when it won five Wally trophies and finished a record two points behind DSR teammate Jack Beckman for the championship.
“We would’ve liked to do what we did last year and fight for the championship again at Pomona,” he said. “Our NAPA team could not have worked harder and at Pomona Rahn Tobler decided to get a jump on some things that we will need to try at preseason.
“We can put it all behind us now. The points are going to reset and we’re going to get ready for 2014.”
Ron was going to drag races before he was born.
“I was in my mom's belly at my first race,” he says, adding his mom, Betty, met his dad, John, at a drag race.
Ron cannot remember when he was not going to drag races with his dad whether racing or watching and often camping at the tracks.
He was 6 years old when he attended “The Last Drag Race” at California’s fabled Lions Drag Strip.
Ron learned to work on racecars with his dad, and graduated to working on the crew of the world championship Top Alcohol Dragster team with the late Blaine Johnson and his brother, Alan Johnson, who remains a legendary Top Fuel crew chief.
“They took me under their wing and taught me a lot of things working on their alcohol car,” Ron said. “That’s kind of how it was; I was a crew member with aspirations to drive. I finally got that shot.”
The “shot” came in 1995 when he drove a Top Fuel dragster owned by Roger Primm.
Although the Primm team competed in only a partial 14-race schedule, Ron recorded his first NHRA national event title when he won near Atlanta. That year he also added a runner-up finish and advanced to two quarterfinals.
Ron drove Primm’s car six times in 1996, and his talent caught the eye of Hall of Famer Don “Snake” Prudhomme, who hired Ron to drive a Funny Car full time the following year. With Prudhomme, Ron won 13 event titles.
In 2005, Ron moved from Prudhomme’s team to join the growing organization of Don Schumacher Racing. Ron’s first three years with DSR, his Dodge was sponsored by popular cologne Brut, and in 2008 was replaced by another iconic and nationally known corporation, NAPA AUTO PARTS, which signed a multiyear contract extension toward the end of 2012 with Ron and DSR.
Drag racing clearly is Ron’s passion and vocation, but he’ll race anything from Sprint cars on dirt to go-karts. When he can’t get to a track, he satiates his need for speed with various virtual computer games.
Three weeks after the 2013 season, he flew to Australia to drive the L.A. Hooker nostalgia Funny Car in a special event at Sydney Dragway.
Ron was an athlete at San Luis Obispo High School where he lettered three years in football as a slot back and wide receiver, and four years as a wrestler. He also competed in Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling for a couple of years with USA Wrestling California.
He studied computer software for four years in college before opting to pursue a professional racing career.
After high school, Ron began competing in racquetball and developed into a premier “Open” division player.
Ron is comfortable in front of a camera whether in an interview after a race when a smudge of clutch dust on his face or when it’s covered by makeup.
A longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, which allows him to vote on the Oscars and preview movies, he has become one of the most recognized drag racers in the country through starring roles in television commercials for sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS. He helped to popularize the “NAPA Know How” jingle.
“I’ll never forget when I was at the Denver airport going up an escalator and a woman at least 80 was coming down,” he recalls. “As she came closer she started singing the ‘NAPA Know How’ song and was shaking her head like we do in commercials.
“That’s the impact I’ve felt since being part of the NAPA family, and those commercials have done so much to help expose NHRA drag racing to new fans. I never could have imagined what it would mean to be in a TV commercial. It’s amazing how many people recognize me from our NAPA commercials.”
He had a cameo role in 2013 release of “Snake & Mongoo$e: The Movie” feature film. The movie celebrates the Funny Car rivalry between Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen that made drag racing and Funny Cars part of American mainstream culture through the marketing of the drivers and sales of replica Mattel’s Hot Wheels toys.
Ron is a passionate rock aficionado and lists countless rock stars as friends and several have been his guests at various NHRA events throughout his career. His rocker friends range from members of iconic groups like Motley Crew and Metallica to more recent bands including Pennywise, Seether and Lifehouse.
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