It may not be the Denso U.S. Nationals, which is the one title that has so far eluded him, but after more than two decades as a full-time pro, Ron Capps finally got to hold an NHRA Wally trophy from Lucas Oil Raceway. After struggling with back-to-back round one losses at the first two Indy races, Capps and his NAPA Auto Parts team rallied to win the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil. In the final, Capps lit up the scoreboard with a 4.110 after J.R. Todd smoked the tires on the starting line. Capps has now won 65 times in 124 final rounds and with his first win at Indy, he’s now won at least one event at every current national event facility.
"I want to melt this down and give it to all those NAPA folks who have been essential workers through all this," said Capps. "We just want to come out and put on a show and let people forget about what's going on. This is going to go to my wife [Shelly]. I don't think I've ever given my wife a trophy. We've been coming here 23 years and I don't' think I've ever won at this track. For a driver to say he's won at every track on the circuit tells you the talent that is around me. I'm so proud to drive this race car but my wife, we've been coming to Indy so many years and she lives this dream through me."
In claiming his first win since the Brainerd event nearly a year ago, Capps came from the No. 3 qualifying spot to post Sunday wins against Tim Wilkerson, Blake Alexander, and Bob Tasca III. Capps has defeated Wilkerson 43 times, more than any other opponent he’s faced in his long career. Capps’ win against Alexander was one of the highlights of Sunday’s final eliminations with a 3.990 holding on to beat a competitive 4.036 from Alexander’s Jim Head Racing/Pronto Mustang.
The win also continued the recent hot streak for Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car teams, who have swept the last eight NHRA events dating back to the 2019 Dallas race. That includes the still-to-be-completed final round between DSR teammates Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman from the rain-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals last month.
Despite the loss in the final, the Indy event could be defined as a get healthy weekend for Todd and the Kalitta Motorsports/DHL team. Hungry for points after just three round wins in the first five events of the season, Todd qualified solidly in the No. 5 spot and racked up victories against Mike McIntire Jr., Cruz Pedregon, and Paul Lee’s Global Electronic Technology Dodge. On a day when three-second runs were at a premium, Todd and crew chief Jon Oberhofer posted a pair of them with 3.96 and 3.99 runs in the first two rounds before winning a tire-smoking battle against Lee.