NHRA Funny Car Champ Ron Capps ‘Emotional’ on new partnership with Toyota

The changing season for two-time NHRA Funny Car champ Ron Capps continues.

Funny Car Defender Capps, the champion in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, has already taken a win and finished second in his first five races as owner/driver of Ron Capps Motorsports for the first year after 17 years racing for Don Schumacher and held prior to that race with Don Prudhomme.

On Thursday, Capps and Toyota announced that RCM will begin racing the Toyota GR Supra Funny Car this four weekends at the zMax Dragway in Concord, NC Capps will join Alexis DeJoria and JR Todd in the Toyota Gazoo Racing North American NHRA.

He drove the Capps to Dodge when he was with Don Schumacher Racing. This year, he raced in the top five events with RCM in an unbranded car.

“This partnership with Toyota, the conversations started early when we were talking about starting Ron Capps Motorsports,” Capps said. Autoweek. “One thing I’ve learned from driving for Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme and Don Schumacher all those years is that you have to have a great foundation. I’ve had that with (long-time sponsor) NAPA Auto Parts.

“I was looking for a partner, not just a car to drive. I was looking for someone to invest in what we do. Oh my God, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner—Paul Dolechal, Andy Greaves, Slugger Labbe and everyone else at Toyota—it was such a fun process.”

Capps, 56, said conversations with Toyota began over the holiday season and he fondly remembers one of those discussions in particular with Doleshal, group manager, Motorsports, Toyota Motor North America and Labbe, a longtime former NASCAR crew chief who is now on the technical side. Toyota Racing Development.

“Really, one of his most emotional phone calls was when I got a call from Paul Dolechal and Slugger when we weren’t sure that could happen,” Capps said. “They had to take care of the other Toyota families – the JR Todd team and the Alexis DeJoria team.

“That phone call that they said they would try and do everything they could to become our partners was one of the most emotional — knowing we’d get that foundation and partner at Toyota.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s North American NHRA Funny Car stable features Alexis DeJoria, JR Todd and now Ron Capps.
Mark Rebelas

Doleshal said the Capps would fit in well as the newest member of the NHRA Toyota family.

“Ron Capps is a confirmed NHRA champion and all around and one of the truly entertaining and engaging characters in the pit area,” Dolichal said. “The drivers who drive not only our GR Supra Funny Cars, but all of our TGRNA cars in NHRA competition are not only talented behind the wheel, but also as our brand ambassadors on and off the racetrack. We couldn’t be happier to welcome Ron and his team into the family.”

The Capps will make their first run in the new GR Supra in Friday’s first qualifying round at Zmax Dragway in Charlotte.

“I was asked if anyone had joined a factory during a season like this,” said Capps, who is third in the NHRA points standings. “How’s it going? I literally couldn’t sit in the car before Friday of the Circle K Four-Wide. I spoke to JR and Alexis, and they were great as teammates already, just in the car’s input, how different it is from seeing.”

“You have to remember the fun car, we get 3.8 seconds, 300 mph. We don’t have a lot of great visuals to look around and see what’s going on. It happens quickly. The fact that JR and Alexis just talk constantly about how visibility is better with the Supra, I can’t wait.”

In addition to DeJoria and Todd, Capps join TGRNA’s growing pool of drivers that includes four-time Top Fuel champ Steve Torrens, three-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Antron Brown, 2020 NHRA Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley, 49-time race winner Doug Kaletta and Top Fuel champ 2013 Sean Langdon.

“When we first started talking, I didn’t even know about the GR Supra,” Capps said. “I just wanted to be part of this amazing team and always be a little fascinated by what’s going on.”

Toyota drivers have won 138 Top Fuel and 44 Funny Car races as well as six Top Fuel Championships and three Funny Car Championships.

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