Tobler sends NAPA to final round then Capps’ reaction gets fifth title

Tobler sends NAPA to final round then Capps’ reaction gets fifth title

BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 18, 2017) – Ron Capps won Sunday with the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T led by crew chief Rahn Tobler.

It is the team’s fifth NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title through 11 events this season, and matches his total for his past championship season.

And this one might be the one that best exemplifies the well-round nature of the NAPA Know How team.

Ron Capps
Ron Capps

The reliability of the NAPA AutoCare crew was evident when Tobler and Capps had no qualms about pulling a new chassis out after Friday qualifying that enabled their Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil to move up to several spots to the No. 10 seed, their lowest starting position of the season.

A hot track with muggy air in the mid-80s and track temperatures that reached into 140 degrees continued a summer trend from last weekend in Englishtown, N.J. during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee.

The NAPA Dodge made it through three rounds Sunday and in very close races and in the final round it was Capps quicker reactions that sent them to the winner’s circle and a 163-point lead in the standings over teammate Matt Hagan, who Capps defeated in the semifinals.

Capps stellar reaction time of 0.026 seconds was not that much better than Beckman’s (0.044) but it allowed his elapsed time of 4.054 to catch his teammate’s 4.040 and win by 2 feet.

“We’ve got a few lucky rounds here and there, but it’s just been preparation in the offseason,” Capps said. “Friday night Tobler asked if I wouldn’t mind driving the car we’ve had upstairs (in the trailer). Our backup car, which is a brand new DSR chassis. Usually you go test, make some laps before you go run it (laughs) not in the middle of a race.

“But he was convinced when we left Topeka then we struggled in Epping and we struggled in Englishtown. Even though we got to a final in Englishtown the car just wasn’t reacting.

“There’s not very many teams out here that are that prepared to pull a car out and have it really ready to run quicker. It was completely ready to go. That’s off-season preparation, that’s Rahn Tobler and NAPA Know How.”

Event winner: Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Tim Wilkerson (Tim Wilkerson Motorsports) 3.895 sec., 328.22 mph

Crew chief: Rahn Tobler; Assistant: Eric Lane
Qualified: No. 10
First round: CAPPS (4.104 sec., 315.34 mph) def. Alexis DeJoria (4.246, 278.75)
Second round: CAPPS (4.202, 306.95) def. John Force (4.892, 170.60)
Semifinals: CAPPS (4.045, 314.61) def. Matt Hagan (5.264, 168.43)
Final: CAPPS (4.054, 317.05) def. Jack Beckman (4.040, 319.29)
FRIDAY: 5.300 sec., 138.41 mph, (Session 1); 5.738, 124.97, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.187, 305.84, (Session 3); 4.032, 316.15, (Session 4)
Best Time, Speed: 3.839 sec. (2017, Phoenix); 333.58 mph (2017, Phoenix)
Last event (June 11), Englishtown, N.J.: Qualified No. 3, lost in championship round to Jack Beckman
A year ago at Bristol: Qualified No. 1, lost in semifinals to Matt Hagan
Career at Bristol: Wins 4 (2001, 2006, 2012, 2017); Runner-ups 1 (2015); Poles 1 (2016)

(Unofficial after Bristol, Tenn.; 11th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (5) 1,044 —–
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 881 -163
3. JACK BECKMAN (1) 748 -296
4. Robert Hight 707 -337
5. Courtney Force 704 -340
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 663 -381
7. John Force (1) 641 -403
9. Tim Wilkerson 490 -554
8. J.R. Todd 476 -578
10. Cruz Pedregon 397 -647

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