NHRA: Capps hopes to make “Capps’ Corner” roar for a 7th time
Six-time BIR winner Ron Capps is ready to add another trophy to his mantle this weekend.
It’s no secret that Ron Capps loves coming to Brainerd International Raceway.
“I say this every year, but we circle the calendar every year for when Brainerd comes up,” the six-time Brainerd winner said. “It’s just always been such a great place for me on and off the track.”
The current Funny Car world champion will look for win No. 7 at BIR Aug. 18-22.
Capps last won at BIR in 2019, which was the last victory in Brainerd since he completed a three-peat in 2014.
Another reason why Capps loves coming to Brainerd is he’s a fan favorite. In the raucous camping area known as the “Zoo,” there’s a famous section named “Capps’ Corner” which is one of the most unique spots in motorsports and something Capps doesn’t take for granted.
“We do so many fun things with my NAPA people at the Zoo and around the great fans that I’ve come to know through the years,” Capps said. “To have your own corner in the Zoo is one of those moments where you feel like you’ve really made it in this sport. The fans are so great and to have someone name a corner in the Zoo after you it’s breathtaking because it’s such a legendary place. We don’t have another race like Brainerd.”
Capps wears more than just the driver helmet. This season is the first time he’s raced as a team owner under Ron Capps Motorsports.
“The offseason was probably the strangest for me since I became a team owner,” he said. “I’ve always been just a driver, so there was a lot to prepare for this year and I’m lucky that I got to keep the same crew chief and same team members that I had last year. Whenever you make that jump to being a team owner, you just hope you have some success.
“This year is especially going to be cool because every stop of the year, so far, the fans have been incredible with how much they have followed my career and how excited they were for me as a team owner. And Brainerd is just another level for me with the fans and I just can’t wait to get there.”
Capps has enjoyed another successful season so far in 2022. After winning the countdown last year, Capps came out of the gates hot, getting the No. 1 qualifier in the first race of the season in Pomona, where he got second overall.
Capps has two wins to his name in 2022. His most recent victory was in Bristol June 19. He also held the trophy in Las Vegas April 3.
“The Vegas win was special as my first win as team owner/driver for me was living the dream,” he said.
Capps currently sits third in the Funny Car standings with a countdown berth already clinched. Even with a spot secured, he knows how important winning the Brainerd race is to success.
“It’s one of the last races of the year before we head to our biggest race of the year in the U.S. Nationals,” Capps said. “You better have your car running well and if you don’t you better figure it out in Brainerd. So it’s always been a pivotal race no matter what and we’ve been lucky enough to be third in the points, so we can just focus on winning the race and not making any moves. You look back at history and usually the drivers who have success in Brainerd go on to have success in the championship run.”
It’s not just the success that makes him circle Brainerd on the calendar every year, it's also his family.
“My wife’s family is from the whole area, so we’ve had family reunions within the race and spend a lot of time there,” he said. “We stay at the racetrack in one of those condos that’s near the starting line, which is great and we have a lot of family on my wife’s side. And when you have family at a race there’s nothing better than winning and having family in the winner’s circle with you.”
Capps admitted being a team owner for the first time added some pressure, but he’s been happy with how he’s handled it.
“I think it’s all brought on by myself,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of help. My longtime teammate Antron Brown was a huge help and started on his own last year and helped me along the way. John Force. Tim Wilkerson. Guys I’ve raced against have been a tremendous amount of help. Force and Wilkerson probably called me every day throughout the offseason to ask if I needed help with anything. So that’s been cool to see the guys you compete against offering to help you out.
“There’s been times where it probably cost us a race or two, where I let the business side of things get into my helmet when I should’ve been just focused on driving. But I think that’s all part of it from what all the other guys have been saying.”
With the countdown shortly approaching, going back-to-back as world champion is definitely in the back of his mind.
“Winning the championship is cool, but it’s a big bullseye,” he said. “It’s like any sport. You play against the defending champion and you go a little harder. So it’s been tough, but we know we have to be the best at every run.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
WHAT: 40th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, the 11th event of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series 2022 season. Drivers in the professional categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points leading to 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series world championships. The competition also will be featured in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series.
WHERE: Brainerd International Raceway and Resort, Brainerd. The track is located a few miles north of the Brainerd area off Highway 371. The track is located on the east side of the highway.
COURSE: Championship drag strip. Track elevation is 1,200 feet above sea level. Track direction is west to east.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 15-18
THURSDAY, Aug. 18
LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and time trials at 9:15 a.m.
FRIDAY, Aug. 19
LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 9:15 a.m.
PRO MOD qualifying at 1:30 and 5:15 p.m.
D-WAGON PRO MOD SHOOTOUT eliminations round 1 at 6 p.m.
NHRA CAMPING WORLD SERIES qualifying at 2:15 and 6 p.m.
SATURDAY, Aug. 20
LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 9:15 a.m.
PRO MOD qualifying at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m.
D-WAGON PRO MOD SHOOTOUT eliminations at 1, 4 and 5:30 p.m.
NHRA CAMPING WORLD SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Aug. 21
Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
NHRA CAMPING WORLD SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 19, FS1 will televise one and-a-half hours of qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, FS1 will televise one-and-a-half hours of qualifying coverage at 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 21, FOX will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 2:30 p.m.
2019 EVENT WINNERS:
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car.
Top Fuel — Joe Amato 6; Funny Car — John Force 11
Top Fuel — Leah Pruett 3.640 seconds, Aug. 2017; Brittany Force 334.9mph, Aug. 2021
Funny Car — Robert Hight 3.793 seconds, Aug. 2017; Robert Hight 338.00 mph, Aug. 2017
Top Fuel — Brittany Force 3.623 seconds, Reading, 2019; Brittany Force 338.17 mph, Las Vegas 2, 2019
Funny Car — Robert Hight 3.793, Brainerd, 2017; Robert Hight 339.87 mph, Sonoma, 2017
TICKETS: For tickets, call (866)-444-4455