Ron Capps won his second NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship last November as a contract driver for Don Schumacher Racing, the group he’d worked with since his former team owner, Don Prudhomme, shuttered his team at the close of the 2005 season. Since that time, Capps has driven Dodge/Mopar vehicles under the DSR banner, earning his second title in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat over then-teammate Matt Hagan.
At the end of his 2021 championship season, Capps went on a new pathway. Both he and Hagan departed Schumacher’s enterprise, leaving that team owner with a single-car nitro team for Top Fuel standout Tony Schumacher. Hagan went to Tony Stewart’s nascent enterprise, taking his entire team along for the Funny Car ride while Capps started Ron Capps Motorsports. The only thing that changed for Capps, who also departed DSR with his 2021 squad intact, was the affiliation with Dodge and Mopar. Hagan retained that relationship; Capps did not.
It wasn’t a happy parting for Capps, who has been at or near the top of the 2022 Funny Car standings since the season began at Pomona in mid-February. While he has driven a Hellcat body since the start of the season, no reference has been made to the manufacturer, which tossed aside its long relationship with the Californian, who has recorded 69 national career victories (1 in Top Fuel) as the series heads to zMAX Dragway for the sixth race of the year, the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
Finally, one of the worst-kept secrets in drag racing has become fact: starting this weekend, Capps and Ron Capps Motorsports are racing a Toyota GR Supra in defense of their 2021 NHRA Funny Car title, joining Kalitta Motorsports’ J.R. Todd and DC Motorsports’ Alexis DeJoria in running the exceptionally aerodynamic Funny Car body style.
“Ron Capps is a proven champion in NHRA competition and all around one of the truly entertaining and engaging personalities in the pit area,” noted Paul Doleshal, group manager for motorsports at Toyota Motor North America. “The drivers that pilot – not only our GR Supra Funny Cars – but all of our Toyota Gazoo Racing North America (TGRNA) vehicles in NHRA competition, are not only talented behind the wheel, but also as ambassadors for our brand on and off the race track. We couldn’t be happier to welcome Ron and his team to the family,” he said.
In addition to adding Capps to their outstanding Funny Car entries of Todd and DeJoria, TGRNA equips all of its NHRA teams with engineering, technology and trackside support, including trackside tow vehicles in the equation. TGRNA has trackside engineering staff who are always working to find new ways for Toyota’s entries to succeed. In addition to 2018 Funny Car champion Todd and U.S. Nationals winner DeJoria, TGRNA’s NHRA driver lineup includes four-time, reigning NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence, three-time NHRA Top Fuel titleholder Antron Brown (who began racing under his AB Motorsports banner in 2022), 2020 Rookie of the Year Justin Ashley, 49-race victor Doug Kalitta and 2013 Top Fuel champ Shawn Langdon.
“For Ron Capps Motorsports to partner with Toyota is literally a dream come true,” Capps acknowledged. “One thing I’ve learned pretty quickly, as a team owner, is how important it is to surround yourself with good people, and nothing exemplifies that more than what I’ve experienced with Toyota already. The commitment, the passion and the history with Toyota goes hand-in-hand with our NHRA fans, and as someone who grew up in the sport, I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to represent and join the family of Toyota drives. It’s an exciting partnership for us, and being able to debut the NAPA AUTO PARTS [Toyota] GR Supra Funny Car is one of the highlights of my NHRA career.”
Since Toyota joined NHRA, its drivers have secured 138 Top Fuel and 44 Funny Car national event victories, along with six Top Fuel and three Funny Car championships. The addition of Ron Capps and his single-car Ron Capps Motorsports entry to the Toyota lineup ensures added victories for the brand going forward.