Thanks so much to Bill Caldwell for these great pictures!
Fresh off a weekend at the March Meets and guest speaking at the Smokers’ Reunion Dinner, Ron Capps is victorious in Gainesville!
Congratulations to Ron, NAPA, and Schumacher Racing! Best wishes going forward!
More info here:
From NHRA.com: Massey, Capps, Anderson, Stoffer get Gatornationals wins
“In Funny Car, Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to a performance of 4.115 at 311.05 to take the victory over first-time finalist John Hale. The win was Capps’ first of the season, third at this event, and 44th of his career (43rd in Funny Car). The win tied him for second all-time on the Funny Car wins list. Following the victory, Capps moves to second in points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.”
“When you’ve got a race car like today, you almost wait for something to go wrong,” said Capps, who last won in Brainerd last season. “I’ve driven for almost 18 years, and I feel like I find myself driving the car as if I am driving something that’s just so far behind the other cars. I think that really helped me this weekend.”
From shoeracing.com: Capps puts NAPA Dodge in winner’s circle, moves to No. 2 in points
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2015) – Don Schumacher Racing’s NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car personified the definition of “team” by the way it won Sunday’s NHRA Gatornationals title, and no one was prouder than driver Ron Capps.
Crew chief Rahn Tobler has been making a major changes to the NAPA 2015 Dodge Charger R/T’s clutch system while adjusting to an all-new carbon fiber body.
The veteran tuner made all the right moves in the third event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and Ron used exceptional reactions at the starting line to make his contribution as a driver for the NAPA team that moved up to second place in points.
“Tobler has been trying to make our NAPA Funny Car better with a new six-disc clutch system that will be the way for us to go,” Ron said. “But he wasn’t comfortable with it after the first qualifying session on Friday and switched back to the five-disc. That’s not easy.
“On Sunday we were winning close races all day because he went with what he was most comfortable with.”
It also helped that Ron’s better reaction times on two of Sunday’s four runs allowed the NAPA team to win those races with slightly slower elapsed times.
Ron was first to leave the line in the first round against Courtney Force that allowed him to advance and eliminate No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Ron was first to leave again that allowed him to beat a slightly quicker Tim Wilkerson by a few inches at most. In the championship round, Ron ended rookie John Hale’s hopes of getting his first NHRA Wally trophy.
“Tobler has been working on making our NAPA Dodge better and in that process I’ve been feeling like I’ve been driving a car that was behind the other cars so I’ve felt like I’ve had to be really up on the wheel all the time and that’s helped me,” he said of his quick reactions.
The NAPA team has advanced to two final rounds in this season’s first three events. The Gatornationals win was Ron’s 44th career event title (one Top Fuel title) and now Ron has the second most Funny Car wins in NHRA history at 43.
In the season-opener at Pomona, Calif., Ron lost to DSR teammate and points leader Matt Hagan, who gave the new 2015 Dodge Charger R/T its first NHRA title.
“The Dodge people worked real hard on this new car, and while I was happy for Matt when he won at Pomona and Phoenix, I had wanted to get them the first win with the new body,” Ron said.
“They really did their homework. Don (Schumacher) and Dodge really worked hard together as a team to get back to the top. We won a lot of races with the old Charger but this new one is like night and day.”
Capps jokingly added that the only negative thing he could say about the improved visibility on his new Mopar was that for the first time he could look out the side window and see how exactly how tight the race was against Wilkerson.
“I looked over and got to see how very close it really was. It’s really helped with everything including reaction time.”
Ron’s win helped pushed DSR to 245 event titles, with DSR teammate Spencer Massey taking the Top Fuel title, marking the 43rd time DSR doubled up at an event.
Finally had a minute to check out more results (as I mentioned, we rarely know what’s going with the races real time so we kinda rely on you to help us out when you can…) and CONGRATULATIONS to long-time supporter Dragster Jeff Crider!
Here’s an update from Jeff:
Thanks for the update Jeff, CONGRATULATIONS!
Thanks everyone for your support over a great weekend! And for those we missed this year, hope to see you in October for the Reunion!
Things kicked off for us officially Friday night with the Smokers Reunion Dinner at the Kern County Fairgrounds. As usual The Ridge Route Boys Competition BBQ Team managed to find a way to out-do themselves and prepared an absolutely delicious dinner for us.
Following the dinner we were entertained by special guest Ron Capps.
Thanks to Ron and Tim DelCid of Golden Empire Fleet Services for helping to make this such a memorable event!
Last Year’s speaker “Fast” Jack Beckman also came back to share the evening with us (photo from last year):
And check out these cookies that Smith’s Bakeries made for us; thanks to Jim Balmain!
Saturday was an amazing day with beautiful weather and a large turnout at Famoso. Thanks to everyone who came by to grab a new shirt, hat, or koozie; and to those who stopped to say hello and check out Wayne King’s 1964 Top Fuel Dragster.
Check out the video with Robert HERE
Thanks so much to Wayne and his crew!
And speaking of BBQ, thanks to Gary Guinn and the rest of the guys and gals for their hospitality at the Smokers Tower Saturday night!
Below are a few random shots from the weekend. If anyone has other photos to share please send them in…
*Sorry if I missed your car at the dinner, I was running out whenever I had a chance and after it got dark my photos were terrible…
Hope to see everyone again next year!
Here is a link to Mike Griffith’s article: Darrell Waters, son of local drag race legend, captures A/Fuel title
A QUICK SIDE NOTE: Most of the time we don’t have a chance to actually watch the races so PLEASE send your photos, comments, recaps, and updates in so we can post them in the update for everyone. You can contact me here Smokers or email firstname.lastname@example.org THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT THIS WEEKEND! STAY TUNED!
Greetings All! We’ve had a few requests for online membership renewals and BBQ tickets so we’ve added a few links for everyone. You can renew your membership here:
Just scroll to the bottom of the page on the link above and fill in the info, then click the PayPal button. Just don’t forget to tell us what size shirt to send you! ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ To reserve your dinner tickets, please go here:
Looking forward to an evening with Ron Capps and the Smokers!
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Thanks for these Sonny Cruse!