winning 2021 campaign .
Medlen and Antonelli – and the bulk of the team – have returned , long-time sponsor NAPA Auto Parts and others are still along for the ride and that ’ s made the process much smoother than he could have imagined .
Sure , he ’ s appreciated the late-night calls from the likes of John Force and Antron Brown , who branched out on his own as well for the 2022 season and was a strong voice of reason for Capps , but that it ’ s all come together as well as it has thus far has only reaffirmed Capps ’ decision .
He informed Don Schumacher of his move at the U . S . Nationals last year , and it was one that came to him quickly . That made the biggest adjustment getting a lot done in a short amount of time , leaving virtually no offseason for Capps . He ’ s had to take a different look at things off the track , joking he now he has to worry about things like payroll , taxes and insurance . As any team owner would suggest , there will be tough times – like the engine explosion he suffered in Phoenix – and second-guessing , but Capps is confident those will be fleeting .
“ I know that it won ’ t be without its challenges . There will be those moments or those weekends where something will go wrong . I ’ m not looking forward to that ,” Capps admits . “ Having to put fires out here and there , things you hear about from other team owners , those are things I ’ m not looking forward to , but obviously no matter what happens , the good and the bad , at the end of the day , I know I ’ ll be able to look back and say ‘ it ’ s ours .’ I know that by far , all of the good will outweigh the bad , and it ’ s just nice to know that I have a little more control over my own destiny . Obviously , I ’ m taking on a lot more responsibility , but with that , I ’ m sure there will be more gratification .”
That gratification takes on several forms as Capps enters the next step in his career . Always a hired gun for one of Funny Car ’ s biggest teams , Capps is now driver and team owner . Getting that first win , competing for a world championship and making partners happy as an owner are things he now will get to experience for the first time .
It could also be a poignant moment for nitro racing , too , giving credence to the fact that successful racing can be done without mega teams and out-of-this-world budgets . Guys like Brown and Capps are forging important paths , another reason why this has been so worthwhile for Capps , who is positive he ’ ll look back on this decision and say , “ Man , it was so worth it .”
“ The gratification from winning that first race as a team owner , and knowing Dean Antonelli and John Medlen and all of the crew , and all of the hard work during the offseason that we ’ ve all done will all be worth it when those big moments happen ,” Capps says . “ To know that Guido and Medlen can go up there and strut their stuff is fun as a driver so that ’ s what makes me excited . No matter what is thrown at us , we can get past it gives me the confidence to know we ’ re going to have a great season .” DI
46 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 175