|LAS VEGAS (April 2, 2022) – Defending world champion and new team owner Ron Capps earned his second pole of the 2022 NHRA Camping World Series season on Saturday afternoon by powering the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car to a blistering 3.883-second pass in the heat of the day to claim his 31st No. 1 qualifier overall.
After clocking the third-quickest passes of Q1 and Q3, Capps and the NAPA team sat in the fifth seed as they pulled up for the final qualifying session during the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. By clocking his third three-second pass of the weekend, Capps launched to the top of the timing sheet, setting up a first-round meeting with No. 8 qualifier Tim Wilkerson, No. 9 qualifier J.R. Todd, and 16th seed Jason Rupert in E1. While Capps has yet to win a Vegas Four-Wide Nationals trophy, he has found previous success competing in the unique four-lane format, having clinched a victory at the 2017 Charlotte event, and knows he has the manpower to add another four-wide trophy to his collection.
“I can’t say enough about Guido and Medlen,” said Capps, referring to his championship-winning crew chiefs, Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli and John Medlen. “I am always bragging about them but for good reason. Not to mention, our whole entire team remained intact from last year and came along on this new ownership journey, and that means a lot to me. These yellow No. 1 qualifier hats mean so much, especially now as a team owner, it makes us so proud to be able to share in these moments with NAPA and all of our wonderful partners.”
The Capps/Antonelli/Medlen combo has already demonstrated they’re a force to be reckoned with so far in 2022, having collected two poles, a runner-up finish and semifinal finish in just their first four races competing under the Ron Capps Motorsports banner. While not wanting to get ahead of himself and knowing there is still plenty of racing left in the season, Capps is pleased with the performance of his NAPA AutoCare team, assigning the defending world champs high marks.
“We’re making great runs, we’re not blowing stuff up, and we’re representing our sponsors well,” said the 68-time event winner. “I’d give my team an A+ and I don’t mean that to sound cocky in any way, I just truly can’t say enough about this NAPA AutoCare team. They give me a consistent car every weekend. The only thing missing is a win at this point, but if you think about it, we didn’t get our first win until July of last year, but we were consistent week in and week out, and it paid off because now we get to run that No. 1 sticker on the side of our car this year.”
While the two-time series champ goes into race day armed with confidence knowing he has the NAPA AutoCare Center team in his corner, he certainly didn’t mind having the added support of longtime friend and Vegas good luck charm, Ronnie ‘the limo driver’ Mund of the Howard Stern Show, who spent the day with Capps and the NAPA team and was standing on the starting line as they took over the No. 1 spot.
“I’ve been trying to get Ronnie out to a drag race for a while, but with him being based in New York it was tough. He recently moved out to Vegas so we were finally able to make that happen today. To have him on the starting line when Guido threw down that 3.88 at 330 (mph) in the heat was stunning,” said Capps, who joined Mund and the rest of the Stern show personalities when he appeared as a guest on the Wrap-Up show in 2018 and 2019.
“It was my first time watching Ron race in-person today and it was so amazing,” said Mund, who was decked head-to-toe in his Capps gear as he joined the No. 1 qualifier in the media center for his post-qualifying interview. “My teeth were chattering; my heart was pounding. To see Ron run like that, the way that car dug in and just went barreling straight down the track, it was just an amazing experience.”
Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car team will have first selection of lane choice among their E1 quad. Eliminations for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals get underway at noon PT, Sunday, April 3.