Autoweek NHRA insider Ron Capps' blog: In the zone and winning again

Ron Capps notched career victory No. 63 on Sunday at the Virginia NHRA Nationals.

(Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a series of exclusive Autoweek blogs by NHRA Funny Car driver and 2016 champion Ron Capps. Capps continued his 2019 season this past weekend with a win in the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. He qualified third and ultimately outran J.R. Todd in the final for his second victory of 2019 and 63rd of his career. Capps has moved moved up from eighth to third in the Funny Car season standings with the back-to-back wins.)

For me, I feel like if I’ve got a horse to ride, I can contend with anybody. When the car is running like it is right now, you get get up there, you see the lights good on the Christmas Tree. You see the bulb. You almost see the filament come alive with that color.

The better the car is running, the more responsive it is. And when things are going good, the confidence grows when you get into a peddlefest like we had with Robert Hight in the second round in Virginia. That’s when those moments of when I’ve gone out and driven sprint cars or dirt cars — or whatever (team owner) Don (Schumacher) lets me go do when I’m not our here racing these cars — can really help.

In a peddlefest, you feel like you’re on ice, and there’s no race car on the planet that has more horsepower than us. None. Not even close. So to have 11,000 hp at your right toe, you feel like you’re on ice, and you have to try and get it going, and then you’ve got a two-time world champion Robert Hight right next to you, and he’s in the same predicament, it’s something else.

Ron Capps, in the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger, races to the win on Sunday in Virginia. The black-and-gold color scheme, which was supposed to be a one-off for the team, will return for the May 31-June 2 race weekend in Chicago. 

But really, I think the coolest number I heard at Richmond was that my crew chief Rahn Tobler and I have 30 wins together. Thirty is a lot of wins. And we’ve won all those since 2012. 

I love winning with the guy. I love going to work in the morning, qualifying days and race days. I love going to battle on the race track. There’s nothing better because Rahn is such a great communicator. He talks about the car with crew members. He tells them why he wants them to do something a certain way and why we’re doing this or that on the car. I love that.

I love racing with him. And I love losing with him. I love just the the whole battle of trying to win races — the good part and the bad part.

It’s the tough moments that we had early in the season that are making these moments now so good. For the first four races into the season, we were trying everything and were saying, ‘C’mon, what’s going on?’ I was starting to shake my head. Man, are we going to find this soon?

Now, I really feel like our car is back.

So, this season has been a fun, fun roller coaster already.


2016 NHRA Mello Yello Series Funny Car champion Ron Capps, 53, drives the NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing. He has 63 career NHRA victories, including 62 in the Funny Car class. His hobbies include racing (anything and everything), computer racing games, golf, attending Supercross, mixed martial arts events and rock concerts.

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