Memories of '12 run have Capps, NAPA eager for Englishtown return
Ron Capps is a true historian of NHRA racing and when he flips open the 2014 NHRA Media Guide and turns to page 255, under Old Bridge Township Raceway Park Track Records, it lists 3.964 seconds Ron Capps and 320.89 mph Ron Capps.
Two years ago on Friday, June 1, in the NHRA Summernationals, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T led by crew chief Rahn Tobler posted the jaw-dropping run under the lights at the historic East Coast facility. The 3.964-second elapsed time was quick enough for one of Ron's 16 career No. 1 qualifying awards and still remains the quickest Funny Car pass recorded at 1,000-feet.
"That place has historically had such big moments in our sport and for our NAPA team it still holds one of biggest moments any Funny Car team can talk about and that's that 3.96 run we made," Ron said. "We knew going in there it would be stout with really good conditions and we made a good opening lap and Tobler went for it and it made it on the night run."
While Ron came up short to former DSR teammate Johnny Gray in the final round two days later, he did taste victory at the famed central New Jersey track in 2006 in another classic all-DSR final round beating four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi on a holeshot.
"It's one of those tracks that you seem to feel like you've accomplished a little more when you win there and we did that in 2006," Ron said of his only victory at Raceway Park. "When you grew up and read about Raceway Park and heard those crazy radio commercials, you want to do well there.
"There's nothing like the fans from New Jersey and surrounding area, they're intense. You know how they feel and the place is always packed. I remember driving into the track for the first time when I drove for Don Prudhomme and all the historic events that have taken place, it really overwhelms you."
Ron and the NAPA team hope to overwhelm Raceway Park again when racing begins Friday as they try to their first event title of the season and 41st of his career.
"If we see conditions on Friday night like we did two years ago, there's no doubt somebody is going to break that mark," he said. "The runs we saw at the beginning of this year with guys dipping into the mid-3.90s, there' s nothing cooler than going into a track knowing you have a shot at history."