Capps, Tobler look for sixth consecutive final round and second NHRA title this year for NAPA AUTO PARTS
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 12, 2012) - Ron Capps and his NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team were disappointed leaving Englishtown, N.J., 10 days ago.
Although the team led by crew chief Rahn Tobler advanced to the championship round of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series national event on June 3, just getting the chance to race for a title is no longer enough for the team.
Having their eyes on the ultimate prize at each event is understandable considering the team became only the fifth in NHRA Funny Car history to advance to five consecutive championship rounds.
At the NHRA SuperNationals at Englishtown, Capps lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Johnny Gray for the title, but the team did something two nights earlier that no one expected.
In the second qualifying session on that Friday night, Tobler and assistant crew chief John Collins tuned Capps to an historic run when they recorded the quickest ever pass by a Funny Car at 3.964 seconds to earn the No. 1 qualifying spot and join teammate Matt Hagan as the only Funny Cars to crack the 4-second barrier. Capps' speed of 320.89 is the second fastest ever.
"It's neat every weekend when we can be racing late in the day," Capps said. "We were disappointed that we couldn't finish off Englishtown by winning because that would have wrapped up a perfect weekend."
Within their successful run over the past two months, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T won the title on May 6 near Atlanta and has made a hard charge toward catching Robert Hight, who had been the runaway points leader after the John Force Racing driver won four of the first five Full Throttle events this year.
Since Hight's last title, Capps has eliminated him in three of the last four races including in the final round at Atlanta.
"We're creeping up on Robert," Capps said. "Catching him before the Countdown to the Championship is not out of the question."
The Countdown comprises the last six events of the year. After the 17th of 23 events, points standings are reset with the points leader given a 30-point lead over the second-place team.
Heading to this weekend's NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in picturesque Tennessee, Capps trails Hight by 157 points but the NAPA AUTO PARTS team has shown to be the best one in the Funny Car division over the past two months.
After the fifth event of this season, Capps was seventh in points and trailed Hight by 330 points.
Capps, 45, will go for his third title at Bristol after winning there in 2001 and 2006. A year ago, he qualified 11th and lost in the first round.
Last year when Tobler was crew chief for DSR's Jack Beckman they qualified fourth and were the runner-up.
"Bristol has always been a great place for me," Capps said. "And Rahn had great success there a year ago so I hope that can transfer over to us this weekend."