The defending NHRA Gatornationals Funny Car event champ picked up right where he left off since his last time visiting Gainesville, Fla. during the 2020 NHRA season. Behind the wheel of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Ron Capps powered his machine to a blistering 3.895-second at 329.02 mph pass to capture the provisional No. 1 qualifying position at the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season-opener.
Out of 18 Funny Cars on the property, Capps’ NAPA Dodge was the only flopper to dip into the 3.8-second zone during Friday’s lone qualifying session. The run was especially significant since it marked Capps’ competition debut with his new team led by his new co-crew chiefs Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli and John Medlen.
“I talked about testing last week and how it went that first time with this team, and it just feels great,” Capps said of his newly adopted team following former crew chief Rahn Tobler’s retirement announcement during the off-season. “We ran two 3.89s at testing last week, so it’s almost like we can dial-in a bracket car here so far. I’m honestly tickled. I feel like a rookie, I just want to make Guido, John, Don Schumacher, and the whole team proud. We already knew this was a great car. This is a team that battled for a championship the past few seasons with Jack Beckman driving. They ran great E.T.s and speeds and won a lot of races. There’s not a lot I can do other than be myself and drive the car the best I can. I just wanted the car to prove itself and let Guido and John Medlen do their thing. There are so many things that are different to adjust to, but I’m getting more comfortable in the car. Unloading with a provisional No. 1 qualifier is great for NAPA, GEARWRENCH, Pennzoil, and all that support us. What a perfect time to go up and show up.”
With two qualifying rounds scheduled for Saturday, Capps and the NAPA team will be looking to hang on to their position at the top of the field as Capps seeks to pick up his first Gatornationals No. 1 qualifier and 26th overall. Capps is a four-time Gainesville event champion and, along with teammate Matt Hagan, will be vying to keep DSR’s undefeated streak of 14 consecutive Funny Car triumphs alive as he attempts to go back-to-back on Sunday.
Provisional Qualfying Position: No. 1
Q1: 3.895 E.T. at 329.02 MPH
Bonus Points: Three