Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 6, Page

By Ian Tocher
Photos by Ian Tocher

The subject of the DRO “Innerview” this month is current NHRA Funny Car points leader Ron Capps. Capps has been leading the nightly NHRA news for most of this season either for his Top End interviews voicing his opinion regarding rev-limiters and other subjects or his off track run-ins with fellow drivers. At the same time Capps and his crew chief Ed “The Ace” McCulloch are engaged in a classic Championship points duel with John Force and his “ace” tuner Austin Coil. What follows is the first of a two-part interview with Ron Capps done by DRO Senior Editor Ian Tocher. We think you'll find it a very interesting interview in which Capps reveals things about himself and his life you have never read before.

  Tell us how you got involved with drag racing.

Ron Capps: Well, actually I’ve been involved with drag racing my whole life but here is how my driving career got started.  I was, on weekends, going and helping Blaine and Alan Johnson when Blaine was driving alcohol before they went to Top Fuel. I grew up with Alan and Blaine, we lived 30 minutes away from each other.  I was close with Blaine and Alan.  While I was going to school, I moved to the Bay area and figured, I wanted to race, and the worse case scenario was that I was going to work on a fuel team as a crew member.  I wanted to drive, but I just didn't have any money.  I didn't know if I was ever going to make it past being a crew guy, so I figured I better get a degree.  I went to a trade school first, then studied software engineering. I got a BA in Software Engineering and got married about the same time in late 1992. 

How did you meet your wife, Shelly?

capps:  I met her while I was in college, I was teaching racquet ball at the health club and playing competitive racquet ball tournaments. My racquet ball partner and I played for money. My racquet ball partner knew my wife and introduced us

So when did drag racing enter the picture?

capps: To make a long story short, I met my wife, we got married in November and I got an offer to go work on Darrel Hitchman's top alcohol dragster for a year as a crew member.  I think I was home maybe two or three times that whole year.  We ran every national event and we claimed Division 5, so we ran about seven Division 5 races.  It was

just me and one other full time crew member and we traveled with Darrell and his wife.  It was a great experience.  Ironically I met John Mitchell at a Division 5 race, standing in the staging lanes. He got to talking with me and Larry Dixon was driving his A-fuel car and I knew a bunch of drivers that had driven for him.  Tony Pedregon had driven for him, I knew a lot of guys had gone through what they call the John Mitchell school.  I told him I wanted to drive and about a week later  I got a phone call and he asked if I wanted to run his Top Alcohol dragster.  I thought it was a dream.  I called my dad, I called my wife back home and said, you won't believe this,  I’d got an offer to rive. He knew I could basically tune one and he wanted me to run that car and be a teammate with Larry Dixon and the Montana Express.  I told Darrell at Topeka then flew straight up to Montana, it was snowing.  I got in his 18-wheeler that he had just bought from the guy (Gary Sumek) that owned Lenco.  I didn't have a license to drive the 18-wheeler, but I drove it anyway from Montana through the snow and over the grade from  Reno, one of the toughest grades going  down into the Bay area.

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