Highly decorated Funny Car driver Ron Capps is returning to the hallowed grounds of the NHRA U.S. Nationals, not only as a participant but as the defending event champion. This year, the driver of the Hot Wheels/NAPA Toyota GR Supra Funny Car will be looking to rekindle the magic of 2022, when he became the event champion and the No. 1 qualifier.
His impressive run at the 2022 U.S. Nationals saw him conquer giants of the drag racing world, including Dale Creasy Jr., J.R. Todd, the legendary John Force, and Robert Hight. His momentum didn’t stop there. At the last event in Brainerd, he again showcased his dominance by claiming victory from pole position.
In a career spanning 622 races, with 75 wins and 38 No. 1 qualifiers to his name, Capps has established himself as one of the greats of the sport. But this year’s U.S. Nationals holds special significance for him.
This weekend, Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra Funny Car will display a unique livery, paying homage to his former team owner, Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme, and his iconic Hot Wheels Funny Car. This tribute is timely, as it marks the 50th anniversary of Prudhomme’s iconic victory at the 1973 Indianapolis event. Moreover, this year also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the ‘Snake & Mongoose’ film, which included a special appearance by Capps himself.
In preparation for the event’s first qualifying session, drag racing aficionados are in for a treat. Don Prudhomme himself will be warming up Capps’ car at 4:00 p.m. on Friday.
Capps’ 2022 triumph was the realization of a dream, one he had pursued for over two-and-a-half decades. The coveted U.S. Nationals win was finally his. This year, Capps will be aiming for his third consecutive U.S. Nationals final round appearance, solidifying his legacy at this prestigious event.
Ron Capps shared his excitement, stating, “In every sport, there’s that one iconic event, and of course for NHRA drag racing, ours would be the ‘Big Go,’ or as the locals call it, and have called it for years, ‘The Nationals.’ This will be the first time in my career that I’m going to Indy as the defending U.S. Nationals winner. To finally make it into the winner’s circle last year during my first year as a team owner was something that I never would have expected but to also sweep the weekend by winning the Callout race and the No. 1 qualifier before sharing the winner’s circle with my longtime friend and Toyota teammate Antron Brown was really special. It was just a culmination of a lot of things last year and I had my family out there too, which made it even better. I thought it would be hard to top that, but being that we’ve put together this great tribute car for Don Prudhomme and Hot Wheels this weekend, if we can finish in the winner’s circle again, I couldn’t think of anything better, especially given all of Snake’s history at this event.
With so much on the line, Capps will be getting into “race mode” more frequently – competing in the Mission Foods event, participating in the All-Star Callout, and driving the tribute car for Hot Wheels.
“Indy has really snowballed back to being a big weekend with so many events throughout all four days, which was how this race used to be,” Capps said. “We’ll be participating in the Mission Foods event on Saturday and the Callout on Sunday, which is a whole event in and of itself, along with the press conference of calling out who you want to race, and then of course, the Hot Wheels specialty car. It’s going to be a lot, but I’m looking forward to it. Next thing you know, it’ll be Sunday night, and it’ll be time to get some sleep and get ready for one of the biggest NHRA race days you’ll ever have in your career, and that is Monday at the U.S. Nationals. The kids are flying out again and I’m just trying to prepare myself for an epic weekend.”