BROWNSBURG, Ind. – official team release — NHRA photo —
Don Schumacher Racing and NAPA Auto Parts have announced a multi-year extension to their marketing partnership that began in 2008 with Ron Capps driving the NAPA Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
The team will be led by crew chief Rahn Tobler in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
“Our partnership with NAPA has been so rewarding from the team’s performance on the racetrack and involvement between Ron and DSR with the NAPA stores and NAPA AutoCare Centers throughout the country,” said DSR owner Don Schumacher.
Capps will start his 12th season with DSR and ninth with NAPA when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season opens its 65th annual campaign February 12-14 at Pomona, Calif.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Don Schumacher Racing and Ron Capps, both have represented NAPA in a professional manner both on and off the track,” said NAPA president Dan Askey. “We are honored to have them as part of the NAPA family. We are equally excited about the future of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with their new enhancements to the sport. Most importantly, we thank the many loyal fans for their support and look forward to an exciting 2016 and beyond.”
NHRA’s enhancements include a new long-term alignment with NHRA’s new long-term alignment with FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the FOX network for television coverage beginning with the Mello Yello Series. At least 17 of the 24 NHRA national events will be telecast live with 13 on Fox Sports 1 and four on the Fox Network.
Capps has won 44 NHRA Wally trophies in the Mello Yello Series that ranks as the second most all-time in the Funny Car category.
“It shows the talent of all the people I’ve worked with at DSR over the years with support from our partners like NAPA,” Capps said. “I’m so fortunate to have been able to travel around the country for NAPA and meet thousands of members of the NAPA family. They’re the greatest fans in racing.”
The NAPA team finished 2015 on a fast note and have every reason to believe that’s how the new season will begin.
The NAPA Dodge closed out the year by earning its first No. 1 qualifying position in 24 Mello Yello events — and did it in style, with a time of 3.886 seconds during the season finale at Pomona, Calif. that was a career best for Capps and briefly held the NHRA national elapsed time record.
As impressive as its No. 1 qualifying run was, Tobler and the NAPA team improved on that during championship eliminations the following day with a time of 3.885 at 326.87 mph that gives the NAPA team the fourth and fifth quickest Funny Car runs ever in NHRA history.
“I thought our run to be the No. 1 was strong, but Tobler came back and put me on another ride I won’t forget. I can’t say enough about how hard Tobler and our NAPA guys have worked to get this car consistent and putting so many 3-second runs on the board in the last part of the Countdown (to the Championship playoff),” said Capps, who posted one of the team’s six semifinals of the year in the finale.
Capps and Tobler finished the year ranked fourth in points, their best finish since being runner-up for the championship a record fourth time in 2012. One-third of the way through 2015, Capps and NAPA were No. 1 in points after winning titles at two of the first six races – Gainesville, Fla., and Houston – and advancing to the championship round in four of the first seven.
Capps’ win at Houston was his 44th in NHRA Funny Car and 45th pro title overall. That gave him sole possession of second place on the all-time NHRA wins list for Funny Cars.
“No. 2 all-time is crazy,” he said. “I’m not that good so it goes to the guys who have been on our teams over the years and our sponsors like NAPA.”