NAPA extends partnership with DSR and Ron Capps gets new crew chiefs
Two great announcements for Ron Capps and Don Schumacher Racing fans
This afternoon Ron Capps and Don Schumacher Racing excited fans with two big announcements. The first of which is NAPA Auto Parts and DSR are extending their partnership into the 2021 season.
Don Schumacher had this to say about the partnership extension, "Our relationship with NAPA is extremely important, and we're thrilled to continue to fly the NAPA flag. They've been tremendous supporters of Ron and DSR, and we're very proud to have partnered with them for so many years. We look forward to delivering more wins for NAPA in 2021."
The NAPA/DSR partnership goes back to 2007 when NAPA signed on to the NHRA's winningest organization to be an associate sponsor and the following year became the primary sponsor of Capps' Dodge Funny Car. Over the past 13 years Ron and the NAPA team have won 41 races, 18 poles and the 2016 Funny Car world championship.
Ron Capps celebrates his victory at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil, August 2020
Kevin Herron, President, US Automotive, had this to say, "NAPA is excited to be starting our 14th season as the primary sponsor for DSR and Ron Capps. Having a team and a brand ambassador, like Ron Capps, who understands our business, our employees and our customers, makes them a valuable resource in helping to build upon the 95 years of NAPA brand equity. Looking forward to great success on and off the track in 2021."
For many fans of the NHRA, they associate Ron Capps with NAPA and Ron is very much looking forward to continuing that, "To be going on 14 years with a great sponsor like NAPA Auto Parts is incredible." In 2021 Capps with begin his 27th season as a professional drag racer and his 17th as a member of Don Schumacher Racing. "Many of the NAPA Auto Parts stores are independently owned, as are all of the NAPA AutoCare Center repair shops. Since these local businesses are essential to the communities and towns across the US, it's been so gratifying to get to know and represent all of those hardworking people through these many years. I'm proud to continue that tradition into 2021."
The second Ron Capps related announcement comes in the form of new crew chiefs. With Capps' longtime crew chief Rahn Tobler retiring, there's been some speculation as to who would fill the spots and today it was announced that it will be longtime DSR team members and highly renowned co-crew chief Dean 'Guido' Antonelli and John Medlen.
Ron had this to say about working with the duo, "I'm excited to team up with Guido and John. Guido and I go way back. In 1995 during my rookies season in Top Fuel, I was also a crew guy on that car and would drive the truck to each event. Guido was a crew guy on John Force's team at the time and he was also a truck driver, so we would follow each other in the trucks from race to race, and ended up hanging out quite a bit away from the race track. As for John Medlen, there is little more that needs to be said. He is someone who is just so knowledgeable and so much fun to be around. And we have familiarity; this won't be our first time working together. He was my crew chief for a bit back in 2010 and we won Sonoma together that year. It was a very emotional win given the Medlen family's history with that track, and that win remains one of the highlights of my career.
"I am extremely confident that the NAPA Dodge will be parked in the winner's circle very early on the season. As we've seen over the past few years, they have a very, very good race car." Ron said of Antonelli and Medlen's nine wins since becoming co-crew chiefs in 2017.
"Ron has been both a fierce competitor and great teammate, and now we have the privilege of having him wheel our hot rod." said Antonelli. "It means the world to John and myself to have been selected to be a part of the NAPA family. We had a pretty good car last year with Jack Beckman, but left a little on the table. We have made a few changes in the off season to get that 'last little bit' so we can make sure we're running for the championship this year."
Fans can look forward to seeing the iconic blue and yellow NAPA car on track soon, but this season it will have a slight twist. Ron took to social media to ask the fans to help with the design, "One of the coolest things was having NAPA ask me to help design our paint scheme back in 2019. It's not very often a driver gets to be involved in the process, and we had a lot of fun with it. Well, they asked me to do it again this year, and I actually took it one step further and posted some of the design options on social media and asked the fans to help me choose our paint scheme. The response was overwhelming, and I'm excited for the fans to see our car for the first time since they had a hand in designing it. I think it looks awesome."
Rendering of the 2021 NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car