Ron Capps Encouraged by Runner-Up Finish at NHRA Norwalk Nationals

Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

NORWALK, Ohio (June 30, 2024) – A streak of consistent passes sent Ron Capps to his first runner-up finish of the 2024 season Sunday afternoon at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Driving his NAPA AutoCare Toyota GR Supra Funny Car, Capps qualified No. 10 before racing through a marquee matchup and two past world champions to meet Bob Tasca III in the final round. Though he encountered issues in the final, Capps left Summit Motorsports Park encouraged by his team’s performance as the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season moves on to the Western Swing.

In Friday qualifying, dropped cylinders forced Capps to shut off early on his first pass, but he came back with an impressive 3.942-second pass at 327.03 mph in the flame-throwing evening session to move solidly into the middle of the Funny Car field. A similar day of qualifying followed on Saturday, as Capps had traction issues late in his third qualifying attempt before throwing down a 3.96-second blast in the final session.

Capps’ No. 10 qualifying position put him up against No. 7 qualifier Daniel Wilkerson in NHRA’s Funny Car Marquee Matchup on Sunday morning. Capps grabbed a starting-line advantage and never looked back, charging to a 3.897 E.T. at 331.53 mph to get the win over Wilkerson and his 3.941 E.T. With the second-quickest pass of the round, Capps earned lane choice over fellow past world champion J.R. Todd in the second round. In an all-Toyota pairing, Todd nabbed the early lead, but Capps quickly made up the difference. He posted a winning 3.944 E.T. at 330.88 mph, while Todd hazed the tires. By reaching the semifinals, Capps secured his spot in the next Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. Capps and crew chief Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli stepped back up in the semis with a 3.91-second pass at 330.80 mph to defeat a tire-smoking Matt Hagan.

Racing in his fifth Norwalk final round, the 2016 event champion launched off the starting line side-by-side with Bob Tasca III and stayed with him through the 60-foot marker, but Capps drove into tire smoke and coasted through the finish line with a 6.966-second E.T.

“This was definitely one of those weekends I knew was coming soon,” said Capps, who’s now in his third year as a driver and team owner of Ron Capps Motorsports. “I’ve been pretty vocal about the big changes we’ve had to make to our race car. I’m so proud of Guido and our NAPA AutoCare team, just to have the race day like we had today. It was an important weekend not only to help us in the Mission Foods points standings, but to get the confidence back too. The car was consistent all day. Guido felt really happy that there’s a lot more left in it. I’m pretty excited about heading to the West Coast, where we’ve had a lot of success at the races that are coming up.”

Capps, who is now sixth in the Funny Car points standings, will be back on track July 19-21 at the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, where Capps is a four-time event champion. He earned his first professional class victory at the Seattle facility in 1995 while competing in Top Fuel before adding three more victories in Funny Car.

Qualified: No. 10 (3.942 E.T. at 327.03 MPH)  3.942  327.03

Elimination Round Results:
E1: 3.897 E.T. at 331.53 mph defeated Dan Wilkerson 3.941 E.T. at 329.99 mph
E2: 3.944 E.T. at 330.88 mph defeated J.R. Todd 4.596 E.T. at 180.43 mph
E3:  3.91  E.T. at 330.80 mph defeated Matt Hagan 7.730 E.T. at 120.25 mph
E4: 6.966 E.T. at 104.78 mph defeated by Bob Tasca III 3.908 E.T. at 330.47 mph