Ron Capps Hopes to Continue NHRA Funny Car Success With Dean Antonelli, John Medlen
Don Schumacher Racing is going with a tag-team of sorts to replace recently retired crew chief Rahn Tobler on the NAPA Dodge SRT Hellcat in 2021.
DSR announced late Thursday that veteran tuners John Medlen and Dean “Guido” Antonelli will team to call the shots for Ron Capps’ Funny Car in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series this season. Both Medlen and Antonelli have long histories in the sport and with Don Schumacher Racing.
Former crew chief Tobler, who had captained Capps’ Funny Car effort since 2012, retired on January 31.
“I’m excited to team up with Guido and John,” said Capps, who has 65 career Funny Car wins. “Guido and I go way back. In 1995 during my rookie 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 in the season. As we’ve seen over the past few years, they have a very, very good race car,” added Capps of Antonelli and Medlen’s nine triumphs since joining forces as co-crew chiefs in 2017.
“Ron has been both a fierce opponent and great teammate, and now we have the privilege of having him wheel our hot rod,”Antonelli said. “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.”
Capps earned two victories during the 11-event 2020 season, and will be looking to add to DSR’s current undefeated Funny Car streak of 14 consecutive wins when the 2021 NHRA Camping World Series commences with the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 12-14.
The teams will also get a chance to see what they’ve got when the field hits West Palm Beack for a Winter Warmup test session March 5-8.
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