COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7, 2017) - Ron Capps is making a habit of achieving milestone in his NHRA Mello Yello Series career that spans more than two decades.
Last November, the popular driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car led by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane won his first NHRA world championship after finishing as runner-up four times.
On Sunday, Capps marked the first time in his career that he won three straight Wally Trophies when he used a quicker reaction time at the starting line to overcome Tim Wilkerson's quicker Funny Car for the title in the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.
The win gave him a sweep of the "southern swing" that included races in Houston, Charlotte and Sunday near Atlanta with the NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil.
It was Capps' 53rd NHRA title, which includes one in Top Fuel when he was a rookie in 1995, and the 304th for Don Schumacher Racing.
"It's a pinch me moment. I mean I've got such a great team right now," said Capps, who extended his points lead 94 over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan. "It's cliché to say it, a lot of people say it, but I think our fans understand when I say it. The car speaks for itself here lately. Rahn Tobler and Eric are the dynamic duo.
"It's so fun to watch the approach that they have in the lounge of the trailer and to think about what's going to happen next, what the track's doing and just I'm able to sit in there, put my firesuit on and listen to what they're doing and sort of know what the car is going to do because of what they're saying."
After losing Friday's two qualifying sessions to a persistent drizzle and cold track, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returned the following afternoon to cool weather, sunny skies and a sold-out crowd before it began to rain in the evening.
Capps qualified fourth marking a top-six seed in each of this year's seven Mello Yello events.
The Mello Yello Series will take next weekend off after three races in three weekends. The next stop is at Topeka, Kan.
Event winner: Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.893 sec.-track record, 322.65 mph
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; assistant: Eric Lane
Qualified: No. 4
First round: CAPPS (3.901, 326.79) def. J.R. Todd (9.859, 73.50)
Second round: CAPPS (3.952, 320.89) def. John Force (3.960, 316.01)
Semifinals: CAPPS (3.968, 318.77) def. Robert Hight (4.899, 161.07))
Final: CAPPS (3.991-holeshot, 317.79) def. Tim Wilkerson (3.978, 316.60)
FRIDAY: rained out
SATURDAY: 5.537 sec., 125.30 mph, (Session 3); 3.955, 323.97, (Session 4)
Best Time, Speed: 3.839 sec. (2017, Phoenix); 333.58 mph (2017, Phoenix)
Last event (April 28-30, Charlotte Four-Wide): Qualified No. 6, won in championship round over DSR teammates Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan and J.R. Todd
Career at Atlanta: Wins 2 (2012, 2017); Runner-ups 4 (2015, 2001, 2000, 1995); Poles 0
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Atlanta; 7th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (3) 633 -----
2. MATT HAGAN (2) 539 -94
3. John Force (1) 490 -143
4. Robert Hight 437 -196
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 427 -206
6. JACK BECKMAN 426 -207
7. Courtney Force 405 -228
8. Tim Wilkerson 329 -304
9. J.R. Todd 326 -307
10. Jonnie Lindberg 318 -315