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Funny Car hero Ron Capps is looking to find more Bristol Dragway magic

Nobody feels more at home in Thunder Valley than Don Schumacher Racing's Ron Capps. The veteran standout in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series has won a Funny Car-best five times at the fan-favorite facility.
14 Oct 2021
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Ron Capps

Bristol Dragway might be close to home for defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan, but there’s nobody who feels more at home in Thunder Valley than his Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Ron Capps. The veteran standout in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series has won a Funny Car-best five times at the fan-favorite facility, and coming off a victory last weekend in Dallas, Capps heads into Bristol with plenty of momentum for this weekend’s 20th NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

The race will take place during the Countdown to the Championship playoffs for the first time in event history, and that may be music to Capps’ ears considering his success at the track. He posted back-to-back wins at Bristol Dragway in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye in 2017 and 2018, and grabbing a sixth victory this weekend would tie him with Tony Schumacher for the most in NHRA history at the track. More than anything, a victory would also further heat up the championship duel between Hagan and Capps, as Hagan currently leads his teammate by just 33 points.

“It’s good to head to Bristol during the Countdown this year because I’ve won a lot there,” Capps said. “For whatever reason, I’ve done well there. I’m really glad to see it on the calendar this weekend. I hope we still have that mojo there, and I know we have a great running car. It’s going to be cooler conditions than what we’re used to in Bristol, so I’m excited to go there. The fans there are always great, and if we can find that mojo we’ve always had there, we can certainly use it right now.”

All the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be in attendance in Thunder Valley as championship hopefuls look to grab a crucial victory at a race that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including live final eliminations coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 17. It is the fifth of seven races in Funny Car and Top Fuel in the Countdown to the Championship and is also the first race at the picturesque track since 2019. Capps is one of many excited to be headed back to Bristol, especially as he remains in the thick of things while racing for a second world championship.

He slipped past Hagan on a holeshot last weekend in Dallas, but Hagan won the prior race in St. Louis as the two teammates appear destined to duke it out over a championship this season. Capps, though, isn’t about to count out John Force or Cruz Pedregon, who are 113 and 115 points behind Hagan, respectively. As competitive as the class has been — with the points lead changing hands at eight straight events before last weekend — Capps knows he can’t let up. Factor in additional standouts like J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III, Robert Hight, and Tim Wilkerson, and Capps believes he will have to be on point to win again in Bristol.

“You don’t want to feel like you’ve got a breather,” Capps said. “You want to keep the intensity up and keep pushing. We’re going to have to get all those qualifying points in Bristol. Matt has developed into one of the best in Funny Car, so racing him, you’ve got to be on your game. It was good to gain a little ground on Hagan [in Dallas], and it’s nice to get right to Bristol and get it on. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we want to finish as strong as we can. We’ve got a great race car, and I really don’t want to be the weak link.”

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 15 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 17. 

Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) includes qualifying action from 7-8 p.m. ET on Friday and 1-2 p.m. on Sunday, with live action during eliminations to follow from 2-5 p.m. ET.

To purchase reserved seats, visit www.thundervalleytix.com or contact Bristol Dragway at (423) 989-6900. Kids 12 and under are admitted free in select areas with a paid adult.