DSR ‘Doubles Up’ in Bristol
Schumacher and Capps Race to Victory
Bristol, Tennessee, (June 17, 2018) – Don Schumacher Racing celebrated its first ‘DSR Double Up’ of 2018 on Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, when Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) raced to victory at Bristol Dragway. It was the first trip to the winner’s circle this season for the Mopar-powered veteran racers.
U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher led all DSR drivers in qualifying, racing to the No. 2 spot and earning two bonus points. “The Sarge” opened up race day against No. 15 Terry McMillen and used the second quickest run of the first round to advance, then was quickest of the quarterfinal round with a 4.028 E.T. that knocked out Pat Dakin in a close race, decided by a margin of about five feet.
In the semifinals, Schumacher was first off of the starting line with a 0.064-second reaction time against Steve Torrence and paired it with a 4.038-second at 297.02-mph run to advance to his 150th final round and third of the season.
With lane choice over Mike Salinas, Schumacher once again left first with a near-identical 0.065 reaction and never trailed. He wrapped up his Father’s Day with a sub-four second, 3.946-second at 313.58-mph run to seize the first win of the season for the U.S. Army team.
“(Crew chief) Mike (Neff) was telling me to get the fact it’s my 150th final round and his first (Top Fuel event win) out of my head, to just do what I do, get a 60 light, go down the racetrack, keep it in the middle and pull the parachutes,” said Schumacher, a father of three.
“We’ve been in 150 final rounds, and people are going to win some of those against us. When you race in the final round, you have to be calm, relaxed, do your job and get that win. At the end of the day what you don’t want to do is say you could’ve had more wins, but you’ve left something on the table. We’ve had times when we’ve lost on a holeshot, times we’ve done different things and got outrun – there’s always going to be a reason why you didn’t win, but you’ve got to minimize that. We try to be the best we can, try to be a machine and just replicate what we do best. I was definitely prepared to do my best on that last run today because he had run very, very close to us. I didn’t expect it to be an easy round by any means. So, great job for the Army team. It was Father’s Day, which makes it a big moment day and those are the kinds we’ve been the best at over the years.”
The victory was a record sixth for Schumacher at Bristol, the most of any driver, and also the 84th of his career.
It was another Father’s Day victory for Ron Capps, as the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T driver picked up his second consecutive NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Funny Car Wally and first trophy of the 2018 season.
The 2016 world champion defeated John Force, reigning world champ Robert Hight, J.R. Todd and Bob Tasca III on his way to becoming the most decorated Funny Car driver in Bristol Dragway history, with five victories at the picturesque facility.
Both Capps and Force entered the race weekend tied for the most Funny Car wins at Bristol Dragway, with four trophies each. Capps was quick on the throttle against the veteran driver, launching his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge off of the starting line in 0.049-seconds and never trailing for the win.
“That’s a final round matchup,” said Capps. It’s a matchup for a championship, it always is. We didn’t have lane choice, we’re running John Force, and someone had just spilled oil in that lane, but typical (crew chief) Rahn Tobler, he put it right down the track, over the bump and it was just on a great run and set the tone for the rest of the day.”
In the quarterfinals against Hight, Capps was machine-like, gaining the holeshot start over his opponent. Hight was able to catch up early in the run, and the veteran drivers battled neck-and-neck until Capps was able to surge ahead and take the win with his 4.208-second run.
Capps made a clean pass against J.R. Todd in the semifinals, driving right down the groove to take the win and advance to his second final round of the season and second in three races. Capps has now run for the Funny Car trophy 112 times — second only to John Force in Funny Car career final-round appearances.
In the finals, Capps quickly made up a small starting line advantage by Tasca and added to his lead all the way down the stripe. The victory earned Capps his 58th Funny Car win, 59th overall and a milestone 300th nitro event Wally for Don Schumacher Racing.
Many top-tier nitro teams have struggled with NHRA’s new track preparation procedures, and the NAPA team was no exception, but Capps is confident that his crew chief, Rahn Tobler, has cracked the code on a hot weather tune-up, and Sunday’s win is an example of that.
“Tobler looked so down on himself (on Saturday morning). We didn’t run well the night before, and he just had that look. Those are the times you have to play cheerleader, and that’s what I think my job is. I said ‘Tobler, you’re going to find it today. Today is going to be like tomorrow (Sunday). You were the bar for the last three years. You were the one who went out and made other crew chiefs want to retire in these hot conditions,’ and he did. He found that clutch disc problem and away we went.”
With their Thunder Valley Nationals Father’s Day victory, the two dads were able to move up in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship points standings. Schumacher advanced from fourth to third, Capps moved from sixth to fifth.
Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster
Qualified: No. 2 (3.830 E.T. at 323.66 MPH)
E1: 3.917 E.T. at 316.82 MPH defeated Terry McMillen 5.112 E.T. at 141.40 MPH
E2: 4.028 E.T. at 288.64 MPH defeated Pat Dakin 4.041 E.T. at 298.14 MPH
E3: 4.038 E.T. at 297.02 MPH defeated Steve Torrence 4.104 E.T. at 254.04 MPH
E4: 3.946 E.T. at 313.58 defeated Mike Salinas 5.251 E.T. at 152.18 MPH
Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 11 (4.193 E.T. at 301.07 MPH)
E1: 4.243 E.T. at 296.37 MPH defeated John Force 5.824 E.T. at 128.57 MPH
E2: 4.208 E.T. at 299.33 MPH defeated Robert Hight 4.233 E.T. at 300.73 MPH
E3: 4.242 E.T. at 298.93 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 4.372 E.T. at 285.65 MPH
E4: 4.234 E.T. at 296.37 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 4.300 E.T. at 286.98 MPH