BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 7, 2017) - Ron Capps: world champion.
Capps still is getting used to being called "Champ" after winning his first NHRA Funny Car world championship last year in Don Schumacher Racing's NAPA AUTO PARTS 2017 Dodge Charger R/T.
It is the crowning achievement in a hall-of-fame career that includes 50 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event titles in 23 year of professional racing for the California native living near San Diego.
After successful testing last weekend near Phoenix when he was the second quickest driver last weekend near Phoenix, the popular driver already is adjusting to having the prestigious "No. 1" on the sides of his Dodge.
"Winning a championship has been bigger than I could have ever imagined for a lot of different reasons. The coolest part was getting a picture from our DSR people with the No. 1 on the car. I've been No. 28 in Funny Car since 1997 and said the only way I'd change it would be if I won a championship.
"When you leave Pomona at the end of the season without winning the championship you don't understand how big a deal it is until it happens. Walking through the house and seeing the trophy is amazing. I'm lucky my wife (Shelley) has allowed me to put the trophy in the house where it is, right when you walk in the door. Walking into the house or out of the house, walking by that trophy every day, I can't explain it to someone who hasn't gone through it.
"I'll be interested to see how I feel after Pomona this weekend. There is going to be a lot of firsts for me even after this long of a career. The first time I hear NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart introduce me as "Your defending Funny Car world champion" is going to be a first for me. That is going to be neat.
"Another first is trying to defend our title."
Crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant Eric Lane with their NAPA AutoCare crew saw their hard work over the winter pay off last Friday when Capps completed a lap in 3.854 seconds and a top speed of 329 mph.
"I'm pretty blessed that I get to jump into a car Rahn Tobler has had his fingers on all winter long," said Capps, who will start the season Friday as the reigning champion and winner of the NHRA Winternationals season-opener a year ago at Pomona.
"I don't know if we have had a target on our backs in the past. There is no better compliment to get from a competitor in NHRA than for them to tell you that when they race you it brings out the absolute best in them. That is the ultimate compliment to get from another racer and we get that a lot."
He plans for that to continue.
RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car - reigning world champion
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 1st 24 5 (10 finals) 5 7 5 1 4 1 54-18
CAREER 483 50 (49 FC/1 TF) 50 89 98 178 21 19 666-414
Best Time, Speed: 3.843 sec., (Seattle, 2016); 330.23 mph, (Seattle, 2016)
Last event (Nov. 11-13, 2016, at Pomona): Qualified No. 5, lost in second round to John Force
2016 Pomona 1: Qualified No. 2, won in championship round over Del Worsham
Career at Pomona 1: Wins 3 (1998, 2009, 2016); Runner-ups 4 (2015, 2013, 2010, 2006); Poles 1 (1999)
Career at Pomona: Wins 3; Runner-ups 5; Poles 3
NHRA Winternationals Event Schedule (All times PT)
Friday: 1, 4 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 1, 4 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
ON FS1/FOX (All times ET)
Friday: 7-8 p.m., qualifying
Saturday: 1-2 p.m., live qualifying on FS1
Sunday: 4-7 p.m., live eliminations on FOX
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