POMONA — In the past 13 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series seasons, Ron Capps has been involved in two of the closest Funny Car points races. Those were only half of his four career second-place finishes.
The Carlsbad resident finally broke though in 2016, not only winning the season-ending Auto Club Finals at Pomona but also securing his first driving championship. Capps drove his Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger to a 52-point margin over teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., ending a title drought that started with his introduction into the sport in 1995.
He had come oh-so-close before. In 2012, he finished two points behind DSR teammate Jack Beckman and was eight points behind Gary Scelzi in 2005 while driving for legendary Don Prudhomme. Capps also finished second in 2000 and 1998.
This time around, Capps will enter the season finale in second place, 15 points behind Robert Hight. It will be a weekend slugfest as both drivers have triumphed twice in the six-race Countdown to the Championship and are familiar with the 1,000-foot strip at the L.A. County Fairgounds.
It will also be a battle between two of the sport’s most successful owners – Capps works for Schumacher and Hight drives for 16-time Funny Car champion John Force. While Hight and Capps are fierce competitors, so are Schumacher and Force as evidenced by their outbursts at the most recent NHRA national event two weeks ago in Las Vegas.
Schumacher, in essence, questioned Force after his loss to Hight.
“John Force running against Robert, for John to have a .193 light and immediately turn the car to the guard wall and shut it off, no different than he did years ago in Indy,” Schumacher told CompetitionPlus.com. “It’s an embarrassment for the fans, it’s an embarrassment to all his sponsors, and it’s an embarrassment to NHRA that NHRA doesn’t do anything about it.”
Force immediately fired back.
“You’re an embarrassment for saying that,” Force said about Schumacher. “When you just…