Ron Capps came into the day controlling his own destiny. That destiny was shaken after getting knocked out by Matt Hagan as he continued on.
Capps watched nervously from behind the starting line at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona as his teammate and championship rival staged for a semifinal race with Alexis DeJoria’s Del Worsham-tuned entry. Hagan had already beaten Capps in round two and could steal the points lead from Capps and win his fourth championship if he won the event.
Less than four seconds later, the win light came on in DeJoria’s lane and Capps, the 2016 champion, became a two-time champion in the NHRA Funny Car class.
“I can’t believe that just happened,” said Capps. “I think the world of Del but you're going up there against Hagan. That whole team is incredible and I expected him to go win the race. I don't know what to say, I'm shaking right now. I stood in that grandstands as a kid and watched Amato and Ormsby lined up in the final round years ago and just to be down here doing this right now and have a second World Championship. I can't say enough, 'Thank you, Del. Dickie, I'm sorry, Don Schumacher. Thanks man.' ”
The race was the last for both Capps and Hagan as teammates on the Don Schumacher Racing team, and they waged war for 20 events, with the points lead repeatedly changing hands, including a record nine time among several drivers in midseason.
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor shares the story:
Camping World points standings:
Auto Club NHRA Finals Sunday photo gallery: