Tobler leads Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS to turnaround with third-place finish in NHRA Four-Wide Nationals


After not qualifying for the last NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event two weeks ago, if Ron Capps said he saw light coming at him from the other end of a tunnel it would have been a high-speed freight train.

But after Don Schumacher Racing reorganized his NAPA AUTO PARTS team by moving crew chief Rahn Tobler over to Capps, the shining light is one of optimism.

Capps advanced Sunday to the championship round of the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals where he placed third in the unique event that features four teams racing on the world’s only four-lane dragstrip.

The NAPA AUTO PARTS team qualified second for championship eliminations and advance far enough to move up one spot in the season standings to seventh place.

“It was a great weekend ... almost a fantastic weekend,” Capps said.

“Coming out of this weekend it’s hard to be bummed because there’s so much light at the end of the tunnel. I wish Houston was tomorrow,” he said referring to the next event in two weeks at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.

“We are very, very encouraged going forward. I love to listen and soak up everything a legend in our sport has to say, and I got to do that with Rahn Tobler this weekend.

“I had to adapt to Rahn’s car and from start to finish everything was fine. There are a few things different like how he warms up the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge and the way he wants me to back up after the burnout.

“I have to become consistent doing those things the way Rahn wants.”

FUNNY CAR
Event winner: Robert Hight (fourth straight Funny Car national event title)

Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 2

Round 1: ADVANCED: CAPPS (4.065 sec., 315.64 mph) and John Force (4.106, 315.42); ELIMINATED: Alexis DeJoria (4.359, 226.66) and Blake Alexander (4.215, 294.43).

Round 2: ADVANCED: CAPPS (4.102, 313.58) and John Force (4.258, 269.35); ELIMINATED: Mike Neff (4.959, 160.69) and Johnny Gray (5.527, 168.26).

Final: WINNER - Hight (4.076, 314.83); RUNNER-UP – Cruz Pedregon (4.070, 316.75); THIRD – CAPPS.

NEXT NHRA FULL THROTTLE RACE
April 27-29, NHRA Spring Nationals
Royal Purple Raceway, Baytown, Texas

SPECIAL GUESTS
Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team hosted their NAPA AUTO PARTS counterparts in the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday. Martin Truex Jr., who finished sixth Saturday night in the Cup race at Fort Worth, Texas, crew chief Chad Johnston and the rest of the No. 56 Cup team spent the afternoon in the NAPA AUTO PARTS hospitality chalet.
Other NASCAR STARS attending the Four-Wide Nationals included Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano and Rusty Wallace, and legendary team owners Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush, each of whom cut their racing teethe in drag racing.
Roush helped pioneer the NHRA Pro Stock category with his Gapp & Roush Ford Maverick.

Race Facts

Final unofficial Funny Car standings:

  1. Mike Neff, 196
  2. Robert Hight, 154
  3. John Force, 150
  4. JACK BECKMAN, 137
  5. RON CAPPS, 125
  6. Courtney Force, 124
  7. Todd Lesenko, 102
  8. JOHNNY GRAY, 99
  9. Jeff Arend, 84
  10. Gary Densham, 83
  11. MATT HAGAN, 74