- Ron Capps announced the launch of his own team, Ron Capps Motorsports, in December 2021. RCM made its debut in 2022 and won the NHRA Camping World Series Funny Car championship in its rookie season.
- The 2022 series title was Capp’s third overall, and made him the first Funny Car driver in 20 years to win two consecutive championships.
- 2023 marks Capps’ 29th season competing professionally in the NHRA (first event: Phoenix, 1995).
- One of 17 drivers in NHRA history to have claimed a win in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories.
- First Top Fuel win: Seattle, 1995; First Funny Car win: St. Louis, 1997
- Second on all-time Funny Car win list (72 wins); ranked sixth overall (73) among the four pro categories.
- Capps has been victorious, winning at least one event per year, dating back to 2009. His 14-year win streak is the highest among any active Camping World Series competitor.
- NHRA Road to the Future ‘Rookie of the Year’ award recipient, 1997 (Funny Car)
Capps, a native Californian, who lives near San Diego, was going to drag races before he was born.
“I was in my mom’s belly at my first race,” he says, adding his mom, Betty, met his dad, John, at a drag race.
Capps cannot remember when he was not going to drag races with his dad whether racing or watching and often camping at the tracks. He was six years old when he attended ‘The Last Drag Race’ at California’s fabled Lions Drag Strip.
Capps learned to work on race cars with his dad and graduated to working on the crew of the world championship Top Alcohol dragster team with the late Blaine Johnson and his brother, Alan Johnson, who remains a legendary Top Fuel crew chief.
“They took me under their wing and taught me a lot of things working on their Alcohol car,” Capps said. “That’s kind of how it was; I was a crew member with aspirations to drive. I finally got that shot.”
The ‘shot’ came in 1995 when he drove a Top Fuel dragster owned by Roger Primm. Although the Primm team competed in only a partial 14-race schedule, Capps recorded his first NHRA national event title when he won near Atlanta. That year he also added a runner-up finish and advanced to two quarterfinals.
Capps drove Primm’s car six times in 1996, and his talent caught the eye of Hall of Famer Don ‘Snake’ Prudhomme, who hired Capps to wheel a Funny Car full-time the following year. With Prudhomme, Capps won 13 event titles.
In 2005, Capps moved from Prudhomme’s team to Don Schumacher Racing (DSR). For Capps’ first three years with DSR, his Funny Car was sponsored by popular cologne Brut, and in 2008 was replaced by another iconic and nationally known corporation, NAPA Auto Parts. Capps raced for DSR from 2005 through the completion of the 2021 season.
Shortly after clinching the 2021 Camping World Series Funny Car championship, Capps announced that after 17 years of racing for DSR that that he would be departing his longtime racing home to launch a new team, Ron Capps Motorsports (RCM).
The team made its on-track debut in 2022 with Capps taking on the dual responsibilities of owner-driver. NAPA signed-on to join Capps in his new endeavor, backing the popular Funny Car star for the 15th consecutive year in 2022 and his entire championship-winning team followed suit, remaining intact as they pursued back-to-back series titles.
Capps and his new RCM team wasted no time putting together an impressive championship defense campaign as they made a run for the 2022 title. The NAPA team launched with a statement-making debut when they raced to a runner-up finish from the pole position at the 2022 season-opening NHRA Winternationals in February. While they came up just short of capturing the victory, Capps and his NAPA team didn’t have to wait long before finding the winner’s circle.
At the fourth race of the season, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas, Capps went wire-to-wire, driving his machine to victory from the top of the Funny Car ladder to score his 69th professional triumph and win No. 1 for Ron Capps Motorsports. Later that month, Capps was thrilled to announce a partnership with Toyota, becoming the manufacturer’s third Funny Car driver. Capps took ownership of the brand-new Toyota GR Supra Funny Car body at the Charlotte race, and had the distinct honor of becoming Toyota’s first driver to power the new body style to victory when he picked up his second win of the season in Bristol, Tenn. before piloting the Supra to its first No. 1 qualifier spot in Norwalk, Ohio a few weeks later.
Among Capps’ other season highlights were his big win at the Indianapolis race where he ran the table, notching the No. 1 qualifier honors and winning the Pep Boys All-Star Call Out specialty race before powering his NAPA Supra to victory to win his first U.S. Nationals trophy in more than 25 attempts. Capps then went on to score a pair of Countdown victories in Charlotte and Ennis, Texas, before ultimately being crowned champion for the third time in his career at the 2022 season finale in Pomona, Calif.
Drag racing is Capps’ passion and vocation, but he’ll race anything from Sprint cars on dirt to go-karts. When he can’t get to a track, he satiates his need for speed with various virtual computer games.
Capps was a student-athlete at San Luis Obispo High School in Central California where he lettered three years in football as a slotback and wide receiver, and four years as a wrestler. He also competed in Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling for a couple of years with USA Wrestling California.
After high school, Capps began competing in racquetball and developed into a premier ‘Open’ division player.
He studied computer software for four years in college before opting to pursue a professional racing career.
Capps is comfortable in front of a camera whether in an interview after a race with a smudge of clutch dust on his face or when it’s covered with theatrical makeup.
A longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, which allows him to vote on the Oscars and preview movies, he has become one of the most recognized drag racers in the country through starring roles in television commercials for sponsor NAPA Auto Parts. He helped to popularize the ‘NAPA Know How’ jingle.
“I’ll never forget when I was at the Denver airport going up an escalator, and a woman at least 80 was coming down,” he recalls. “As she came closer, she started singing the ‘NAPA Know How’ song and was shaking her head like we do in the commercials.
“That’s the impact I’ve felt since being part of the NAPA family, and those commercials have done so much to help expose NHRA drag racing to new fans. I never could have imagined what it would mean to be in a TV commercial. It’s amazing how many people recognize me from our NAPA commercials.”
He had a cameo role in the 2013 release of “Snake & Mongoo$e: The Movie” feature film. The movie celebrates the Funny Car rivalry between Prudhomme and Tom ‘Mongoose’ McEwen that made drag racing and Funny Cars part of American mainstream culture through the marketing of the drivers and sales of replica Mattel’s Hot Wheels toys.
Capps is a passionate rock aficionado and lists countless rock stars as friends. Several have been his guests at various NHRA events throughout his career. His rocker friends range from members of iconic groups like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Seether, Sammy Hagar, and Van Halen.
Capps ranks second in all-time Funny Car wins, and his 73 total wins, which includes his first NHRA title driving a Top Fuel dragster in 1995, rank sixth among NHRA’s professional categories. He is one of 17 drivers in NHRA history to have won in both of drag racing’s premier categories.
When the 2023 season commences, the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota GR Supra Funny Car team will begin their quest for a third consecutive series title, second for Ron Capps Motorsports, and fourth for Capps. The 2023 season will mark Capps’ 29th season on the NHRA tour competing as a professional driver.