Established in 2021, Ron Capps Motorsports is a single-car NHRA Funny Car team owned and operated by reigning and two-time world champion Ron Capps. Headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., the team will make its on-track debut in 2022, and will compete on the 22-race NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series circuit thanks to the support of NAPA AUTO PARTS.
Capps, who serves as both the owner and driver of his namesake operation, is the second-winningest Funny Car pilot in NHRA history with 67 wins in the category, and 68 overall (1 Top Fuel). The 2022 NHRA season marks Capps’ 28th year competing in the sport’s professional ranks.
- Date of birth: June 20, 1965
- Hometown: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
- Residence: Carlsbad, Calif.
- Wife: Shelley
- Daughter: Taylor
- Son: Caden
- Height/weight: 5’8”, 160 lbs.
- Hobbies: Racing anything and everything, computer racing games, golf, attending Supercross, mixed martial arts events, and concerts (preferably rock)
- Brother Jon Capps of Las Vegas is a part-time Funny Car driver in NHRA
- Category: NHRA Funny Car
- Sponsor/car: NAPA AUTO PARTS
- Crew chief: Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli, John Medlen
- Career best points finish: 1st (2016, 2021)
- Career event titles: 68 (Funny Car: 67; Top Fuel: 1)
- Career final rounds: 131 (Funny Car: 129; Top Fuel: 2)
- Career No. 1 qualifying positions: 29
- Career best elapsed time: 3.837 secs, (Reading, 2019)
- Career best speed: 339.28 mph (Reading, 2019)
- On the Internet: twitter.com/RonCapps28, facebook.com/RonCappsFC, Instagram.com/RonCapps28, NAPAonline.com, NHRA
- Announced the launch of his own team, Ron Capps Motorsports, in December 2021. The team, with Capps serving as owner-driver, will make its NHRA debut in 2022
- 2022 marks Capps’ 28th season competing professionally in the NHRA (first event: Phoenix, 1995)
- One of 17 drivers in NHRA history to have claimed a win in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories
- First Top Fuel win: Seattle, 1995; First Funny Car win: St. Louis, 1997
- Second on all-time Funny Car win list (67 wins); ranked eighth overall (68) among the four pro categories
- Ranks fifth on consecutive Top 10 points finishes list (among active drivers) having finished in the Top 10 for the past 16 years
- NHRA Road to the Future ‘Rookie of the Year’ award recipient, 1997 (Funny Car)
Capps, a native Californian, who lives near San Diego, was going to drag races before he was born.
“I was in my mom’s belly at my first race,” he says, adding his mom, Betty, met his dad, John, at a drag race.
Capps cannot remember when he was not going to drag races with his dad whether racing or watching and often camping at the tracks. He was six years old when he attended ‘The Last Drag Race’ at California’s fabled Lions Drag Strip.
Capps learned to work on racecars with his dad and graduated to working on the crew of the world championship Top Alcohol dragster team with the late Blaine Johnson and his brother, Alan Johnson, who remains a legendary Top Fuel crew chief.
“They took me under their wing and taught me a lot of things working on their alcohol car,” Capps said. “That’s kind of how it was; I was a crew member with aspirations to drive. I finally got that shot.”
The ‘shot’ came in 1995 when he drove a Top Fuel dragster owned by Roger Primm. Although the Primm team competed in only a partial 14-race schedule, Capps recorded his first NHRA national event title when he won near Atlanta. That year he also added a runner-up finish and advanced to two quarterfinals.
Capps drove Primm’s car six times in 1996, and his talent caught the eye of Hall of Famer Don ‘Snake’ Prudhomme, who hired Capps to wheel a Funny Car full-time the following year. With Prudhomme, Capps won 13 event titles.
In 2005, Capps moved from Prudhomme’s team to Don Schumacher Racing. For Capps’ first three years with DSR, his Funny Car was sponsored by popular cologne Brut, and in 2008 was replaced by another iconic and nationally known corporation, NAPA AUTO PARTS.
After 17 years of racing for DSR, Capps, a two-time Funny Car world champion who clinched his second title during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, announced that he would be departing his longtime racing home to launch a new team, Ron Capps Motorsports. The team will make its on-track debut in 2022 with Capps taking on the dual responsibilities of owner-driver. NAPA has signed-on to join Capps in his new endeavor, backing the popular Funny Car star for the 15th consecutive year in 2022. Capps’ entire championship-winning team followed suit, remaining intact as they pursue back-to-back series titles.
Drag racing is Capps’ passion and vocation, but he’ll race anything from Sprint cars on dirt to go-karts. When he can’t get to a track, he satiates his need for speed with various virtual computer games.
Capps was a student-athlete at San Luis Obispo High School in Central California where he lettered three years in football as a slotback and wide receiver, and four years as a wrestler. He also competed in Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling for a couple of years with USA Wrestling California.
After high school, Capps began competing in racquetball and developed into a premier ‘Open’ division player.
He studied computer software for four years in college before opting to pursue a professional racing career.
Capps is comfortable in front of a camera whether in an interview after a race with a smudge of clutch dust on his face or when it’s covered with theatrical makeup.
A longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, which allows him to vote on the Oscars and preview movies, he has become one of the most recognized drag racers in the country through starring roles in television commercials for sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS. He helped to popularize the ‘NAPA Know How’ jingle.
“I’ll never forget when I was at the Denver airport going up an escalator, and a woman at least 80 was coming down,” he recalls. “As she came closer, she started singing the ‘NAPA Know How’ song and was shaking her head like we do in the commercials.
“That’s the impact I’ve felt since being part of the NAPA family, and those commercials have done so much to help expose NHRA drag racing to new fans. I never could have imagined what it would mean to be in a TV commercial. It’s amazing how many people recognize me from our NAPA commercials.”
He had a cameo role in the 2013 release of “Snake & Mongoo$e: The Movie” feature film. The movie celebrates the Funny Car rivalry between Prudhomme and Tom ‘Mongoose’ McEwen that made drag racing and Funny Cars part of American mainstream culture through the marketing of the drivers and sales of replica Mattel’s Hot Wheels toys.
Capps is a passionate rock aficionado and lists countless rock stars as friends. Several have been his guests at various NHRA events throughout his career. His rocker friends range from members of iconic groups like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Seether, Sammy Hagar, and Van Halen.
Capps ranks second in all-time Funny Car wins, and his 68 total wins, which includes his first NHRA title driving a Top Fuel dragster in 1995, rank eighth among NHRA’s professional categories. He is one of 17 drivers in NHRA history to have won in both of drag racing’s premier categories.