NHRA: Capps wants to make it 7 wins at BIR

Ron Capps ready to get yet another win at Brainerd International Raceway.

Ron Capps in action during the 2021 season in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. NHRA photo.

Ron Capps loves Brainerd International Raceway.

And why wouldn’t he?

The 56-year-old Funny Car driver has won at BIR six times in his career, including most recently in 2019. He is tied for second all-time in wins at BIR and is four wins behind John Force, who is all-time wins leader at Brainerd with 10.

Capps will look to make it seven wins at BIR Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20-22, when he comes to race for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

“Brainerd is sort of second home to me,” Capps said. “I’ve gotten to win there so many times, so when I see that coming up on the circuit it’s always got me excited. The whole event is fun and it was a bummer that we couldn’t come last year.”


Despite having a new team and crew chief this year, Capps said coming to Brainerd will provide him some comfort because of all the wins he’s piled up at BIR.

“We’ve gotten four No. 1 pole positions in qualifiers this year,” he said. “So we have a really good race car, which gives a ton of confidence to a driver. So that and the fact that I always feel good about going to Brainerd. We’ve won in so many different kinds of conditions there. I’ve won when it’s rained. I’ve won on Mondays. So many different things have been thrown at us and when we get to town it’s been such a great time.”

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There are a lot of sponsorship events Capps does during the week of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR. This is why he’ll get to Brainerd Wednesday, which he says is rare for a race week.

“We just love getting here early,” Capps said. “There’s not a lot of racetracks where you hear a driver say we are going there the week of. It’s just something we look forward to and we try to enjoy the Brainerd area a little bit prior to the race starting. It’s something we’ve always done and I think it kind of translates to our good performance.”

Capps’ wife Shelley has family from the Twin Cities and most of the time the week of nationals, there’s a family reunion.

“We used to stay at her aunt’s house for a week after the Brainerd race,” Capps said. “Prior to last year, we would usually fly in on Wednesday night and have a big family reunion in the Twin Cities because her mom and dad always come to the race and it’s a good time to see her cousins. So for me, we’ve been married for almost 30 years, it’s been fun to go to that race and see that side of the family. Shoot, there’s nothing better than winning, but when you can win with family there, it’s pretty dang cool.”

After not coming to Brainerd in 2020, Capps said most of the racers have mentioned how excited they are to come back this year.

“That race has always been one or two races before our playoffs, or what we call the countdown,” Capps said. “And it’s always played an integral role in how the playoffs are going to be. Again, this year it’s Brainerd, then the next week is Indianapolis, and that is the last race to position ourselves for the playoffs. So Brainerd has always been the one that awakens you when you see it coming because you better be in a good place when you come to Brainerd.”


Capps added that BIR also threatens to hold national record runs when the weather is right.

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“A lot of times track records fall for sure,” he said. “They did such a good job with the track surface, so it’s a very good track for the crew chiefs and you seriously circle this event many times on the calendar when it’s time to go to Brainerd.”

Capps finds himself at the top of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Funny Car Series standings by a slim five-point margin after a win at Pomona July 30-Aug. 1.

“All we are trying to do is continue what we have been doing,” Capps said. “And I think if we do that here in Brainerd we have a chance to hold on to the points lead. The points get reset after Indianapolis, but the fact that you can go in as the leaders — we definitely want to be leading because you get a small amount of bonus points headed into the championships.”

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at


Ron Capps

Ride: NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Crew Chief: Dean Antonelli/John Medlen.

Hometown: San Luis Obispo, California.

2019 at BIR: Won the Funny Car.

Current Standing: First.

Twitter: @RonCapps28.

Instagram: RonCapps28.

Ron Capps.

Ron Capps.

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