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Ron Capps Ready to Get Back on Track, Pick Up Speed at NHRA Route 66 Nationals

Ron Capps, three-time NHRA Funny Car champ, is set to compete at the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by PEAK Performance, taking place from May 17 to 19 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Capps, who has a rich history at this venue, has won the Route 66 Nationals twice, in 2017 and during the 2005 Fall race, which has since been discontinued. Additionally, he has been the runner-up five times (in 2007, 2016, 2018, 2023, and the 2002 Fall race) and earned the No. 1 qualifier position in 2013.

Reflecting on his performance at last year’s Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Capps qualified sixth and advanced to the final round, defeating Terry Haddock, Bob Tasca, and Chad Green, before being narrowly defeated by Tim Wilkerson. In the most recent event at Charlotte 1, Capps qualified fifth but faced a first-round exit, losing to J.R. Todd and Alexis DeJoria.

Throughout his illustrious career, Capps has participated in 634 races, securing 76 wins and achieving the No. 1 qualifier spot 37 times. This year, Capps captured his first Mission #2Fast2Tasty Funny Car Challenge victory in Chicago and later clinched the overall #2Fast2Tasty championship with three Mission Challenge wins in 2023. As the returning event runner-up, Capps is determined to surpass his 2023 performance and claim his first win of the season this Sunday.

Fans attending the event can look forward to meeting Ron Capps at several fan events. On Friday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., there will be a Don Schumacher tribute autograph session in the Schumacher Family Tent. Additionally, on Saturday from 10 to 10:30 a.m., Capps will participate in the Team Toyota autograph session at the Toyota Racing Experience midway display.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the upcoming race, Capps said, “These last two weeks off from racing have seemed so long, and I know our team is ready to get back on the track. Throughout the years, going to Route 66, I think we all sort of took it for granted, and the fact that we’ve been able to go back these past two years has been great, especially for our NAPA Auto Care team. Getting to the final round last year and coming so close, we’re hungry for a Chicago win this weekend. From our standards, we’ve started the season a little slow compared to what we’re used to, but I think it’s all warranted with the combination change that Guido (crew chief Dean Antonelli) wanted to make for us to get better, and I really feel like the car is on the verge of breaking out.”

Capps also highlighted the excitement surrounding the event and the tribute to Don Schumacher, stating, “Our fans are great in Chicago, we’ve got so much excitement and things going on with the celebration of life for Don Schumacher. It would certainly be a nice trophy to add in memory of Don. Racing with DSR that long, we have a lot of Chicago friends that we consider family that we’ll get to see, so can’t wait, should be a great weekend.”

This story was originally published on May 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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