Oct. 27, 2007
|| June 20, 1965
Daughter, Taylor (7/25/96)
Son, Caden (7/1/01)
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Graduated from Santa Clara University with Bachelor of Science degree in software engineering.
Hobbies: Enjoys racquetball, golf, listening to rock music, computer racing games, browsing the Internet Ron Capps has that flirty, sly sideways glance that endears him to mothers and daughters alike in the pits of an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event. There's no denying he's got the IT factor, with his boyish charm and good looks. And his new sponsor for the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, NAPA AUTO PARTS, is banking on that attraction to help promote its products to the avid NHRA fans.
The California native, who was born in San Luis Obispo and now resides in Carlsbad with wife Shelley and their daughter Taylor and son Caden, is happy to oblige as he continues to contest for his first Funny Car championship since beginning his NHRA drag-racing career in 1995.
The 42-year-old professional drag racer who earned a B.S. in Software Engineering at Santa Clara college and whose first job was as a dismantler at a machine shop, joined the NHRA's largest professional team, Don Schumacher Racing, in 2005 to drive the Brut-sponsored Dodge Charger Funny Car.
It was a major move for the driver who enjoyed a longtime friendship with his previous team owner, Don Prudhomme. Don Schumacher Racing is only the second Funny Car team for whom he's driven since entering the nitro classes in 1995. He also reunited at DSR with his friend and former crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch, who was named his crew chief at DSR.
Since 1995 Capps has collected 25 wins (before this weekend's Las Vegas event, the first of the final two events of the 2007 Countdown to One playoffs). in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, but has not won a championship in either class. He's been close to claiming that crown, finishing as Funny Car runner-up in 1998, 2000 and 2005. He's hoping his ongoing commitment to Don Schumacher will offer him the best opportunity to achieve his goal. Capps is fourth in the Countdown to One points, and has an excellent chance of achieving this goal in 2007.
Capps worked his way up the drag-racing ladder after beginning as a crew member on Alan and Blaine Johnson's Top Alcohol dragster in 1990. To him, his dream of racing one of these 300-mph-plus monsters was out of reach.
He persevered, learning the mechanical aspects of engines, clutches and race cars. He worked his way into crew chief positions on several Top Alcohol dragster teams before getting his first driving opportunity in 1994. He was actually pretty good behind the wheel and caught the eye of Top Fuel owner Roger Primm, who hired Capps to drive part-time in 1995 and '96.
Capps won once in two final rounds in Top Fuel and, like Primm before him, attracted the attention of Prudhomme, who was searching for a driver for his new Funny Car team set to debut in 1997. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Since joining Don Schumacher Racing in 2005, Capps has earned one season runner-up championship finish, 11 wins, 11 runners-up, nine semifinal and 11 quarterfinal finishes, and has a win-loss record of 106-55 as of Oct. 7, 2007.
Here are the highlights of Capps' Funny Car career:
1995: Made Top Fuel driving debut in Roger Primm's dragster; Earned first career win (Seattle)
1996: Hs driving abilities caught the eye of Don Prudhomme while he ran a limited six-race schedule in Top Fuel, qualifying four times
1997: Won twice in three final rounds in first Funny Car season, finishing fifth in points; Became first driver in his category to exceed 315 mph with a 315.45 mph run at Houston 2; Named Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner
1998: Won a career-best five races and gave John Force one of his toughest championship battles, finishing 135 points behind Force; Won Funny Car bonus race
1999: Won the Funny Car bonus race for the second consecutive year, joining Al Hofmann as the only back-to-back winners of the lucrative bonus event
2000: Went to seven finals, collecting one win, and was runner-up in the standings to John Force for the second time in three years
2001: Earned four victories and two runner-up finishes
2002: Won the Funny Car bonus race at Indianapolis and collected the $100,000 bonus for the third time in his career; Won at Columbus, sharing winner's circle with teammate Larry Dixon
2003: Won in Phoenix; runner-up in Englishtown, finished season eighth in points, the seventh consecutive season he has finished in the top 10; Won at least one NHRA national event for the fourth consecutive season and for the seventh time in the last nine seasons
2004: Struggled all season, collecting no wins, no final rounds and no No. 1 qualifiers
2005: Joined Don Schumacher Racing to drive the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car, finishing second in the Funny Car championship, in the closest Funny Car battle in NHRA history. He finished just eight points behind champion and teammate Gary Scelzi, winning three events in seven final rounds and qualifying No. 1 once.
2006: Returned to DSR to drive the Brut Dodge Charger Funny Car tuned by Ed "Ace" McCulloch. Led the Funny Car point standings for majority of season, collecting five wins in eight final rounds - more victories than any other driver - and ended up third in points.
2007: So far, in 2007, Capps has won three Funny Car national events in seven final rounds. He led the Funny Car point standings by as much as 154 points through the first 17 races. He is now fourth in the new Countdown to One standings, with two events remaining to crown the Funny Car champion among the top four drivers.
2008: Capps will drive for Don Schumacher Racing in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car, with major associate sponsorship support from Brut.