Ron Capps is still the man who won Indy

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Ron Capps emerges from his Funny Car after winning the US Nationals. (NHRA photo)

Ron Capps is still the man who won the 2022 NHRA American Nationals. But three weeks later, he’s just one of nine Funny Car drivers chasing Robert Hight for the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship.

Capps is preparing for the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals as third in the standings, 84 points behind Hight and three points behind second-place Matt Hagan.

However, his relaxed state in the zMAX Dragway pit area on Friday afternoon suggests he’s not too concerned about it.

“I always feel good coming here,” Capps said. “I’ve always had great success, even when I haven’t won here. I feel like I’ve always been very lucky on and off the track here.”

Capps made it to the final round of eliminations at the 4-Wide Nationals that visited the Concord, NC race track earlier this year, a result that adds to his peace of mind over the weekend.

He also claimed victory at the Carolina Nationals in 2012 and 2018.

“It’s good to know when you’re coming here for the countdown,” Capps said, referring to his previous trips to the winner’s circle in Charlotte.

As the countdown to the championship begins and the competition heats up, every point and victory matters that much more. And for Capps, past wins can provide a slight mental edge over his opponents, which could be the difference between winning and losing on race day.

Before Indy, Capps had pinpointed Robert Hight and John Force Racing as the team to beat.

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He’s seen them stay consistent throughout the season, taking seven wins so far, and he thinks Hight’s has the most consistent car on the track.

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Ron Capps is a two-time Funny Car Champion. (NHRA Photo)

The US Nationals played a key role in showing Capps and his team that they were capable of beating Hight in the diverse conditions that unfolded in Indianapolis. Hight might have had the team to beat, but Capps had faith his team would be the one to do it.

As fate would have it, Capps bested Hight in the final round of eliminations in Indianapolis, scoring his first win at the US Nationals in 27 years of trying.

Now, the championship blinders go up as the countdown begins, leaving Indy behind and shifting Capps’ attention to the opportunity that lies ahead.

“I want to be part of history in another way. There’s a team that’s going to win seven or eight races, and they’re not going to win the championship, because I plan to,” Capps said. “I hope to be on the other end of that asterisk.”

It has certainly been a record winning year for Hight. But Capps has also made it a record year for a different reason.

Around this same time last year, the process of creating Ron Capps Motorsports began. Although there was a fair amount of behind-the-scenes action involving the new team, Capps focused on the task at hand: winning the championship.

He eventually clinched his second Funny Car title at the NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway of California in Pomona last November.

This season, he made his debut as a team owner, along with Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, who introduced AB Motorsports to the pits. Capps has found it to be a rewarding career progression for him in endurance racing, even if he requires additional effort and responsibility during the season.

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“There’s a lot going on in my head,” Capps said with a smile. “I am enjoying owning a team. It is a lot of work.”

As he continues to chase Hight and try to score back-to-back championships, it’s been crucial for Capps to keep his eyes on the prize.

“To be able to do it the first year, as a team owner, and be a world champion would be amazing,” Capps said. “And, as well as being the first Toyota Supra world champion, that would be the icing on the cake.”

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