Ron Capps completed a miraculous last-race comeback to win his third NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car World Championship, becoming the first driver in 20 years to win back-to-back titles. As hard as it is to believe, Capps — who famously lost the 2012 season championship to Jake Beckman by two points — never led in points until the final day of the season, and he lost to Robert Hight. led by just three points, 2,682 to 2,679.
Capps entered the final race of the season-trialling high with more than 60 points but, thanks to a spectacular last-pass dash in qualifying that earned him the No. 1 spot, took his fate back into his own hands with a predictable collision. went. High in the semi-finals.
That titanic battle never happened as Bob Tasca III upset Hite in the second round and, after defeating Tim Wilkerson in two rounds, Capps took the points lead – incredibly for the first time this season – By defeating Tasca in the semi-finals.
The win gave him a mathematical three-point lead over Haight, but a small but distinct chance of a potential five-point penalty for crossing the centerline or hitting the guard wall in the final round, leading to Caps’ crowning. Had to wait. He kept it safely between the lines in his final round race with Cruz Pedrigan, which he lost to set the final margin.
“We talked about this run and how I should close it and not risk losing points and losing the championship,” he said. “When you step on the gas in one of these vehicles, it can go anywhere. I mean, it’s scary. So it fed into ‘What are you going to do? Are you going to turn it off?’ Are you going to run it there?’ At the end, I did my longest burnout ever for the fans and put it up against the wall.’
The season was a huge success for Capps, who took ownership of the team that year, and crew chiefs Dan Antonelli and John Medlin. In addition to their heroics in the Finals, the Caps also picked up wins in Las Vegas, Bristol, Indy, Charlotte and Dallas. His win at Indy was his first at the Dodge Powerbrokers NHRA US Nationals, the sport’s biggest and most prestigious event.
The countdown was crazy, he added. “If you think about the ridiculous cars that had a chance. I feel so bad for Robert Hight. He’s such a great champion, it’s crazy for this whole team to win eight races and not win the championship. So it just tells you the sum of the competition
“It still hasn’t sunk in. It just blows my mind, nobody knew if I was going to go in half a year and forget how to work and have my sponsors stay with us and only have one year. Done. Extraordinary. I kept leaning on ‘Guido’ [Antonelli] And winning five races was crazy as a new team owner. I told ‘Guido’ before the final round, ‘This is crazy. Both of us crew guys grew up and were going to win the world championship in our first year together.”
In addition to their five wins, the Caps also earned three runner-up and six No. 1 qualifying berths.