There is a lot of changes going on at Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) going into the 2021 season. Rahn Tobler, crew chief for the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat team of 2016 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car champion Ron Capps, has retired from DSR last month. The 66-year-old Tobler enjoyed a successful NHRA career that spans nearly 50 years, including 11 years as a member of the DSR family. Tobler teamed up with Capps in 2012, together the duo has captured 33 wins and the 2016 Funny Car championship.
“It’s been a very storied career. I never thought when I started in 1971 with Dick Venables Sr. working with a local Top Fuel team in Houston, Texas, that I’d still be doing this almost 50 years later. I’m very fortunate to have worked with so many successful team owners and wonderful people,” Tobler said. “I think back on Shirley (Muldowney) and the success we’ve had, my time with the Kalittas, and Cruz (Pedregon), but I’d have to say, the best part of my career has been these last 10 or so years at DSR”.
“I’m heartbroken that our time racing together has come to an end. We’ve had such a great amount of fun, and became such great friends away from the race track. In the eight-plus years, the amount of races that we’ve won, and great moments we’ve spent together is just really incredible”, Capps stated. “We set the national record within a first few races together at Englishtown in 2012, won the championship in 2016, and then to run that 339-mph pass in Reading in 2019 was awesome. There’ve just been so many great moments.
Capps and his NAPA Auto Parts team are expected to release some new information regarding the 2021 season, this week.
The news comes as DSR revamps its NHRA Funny Car lineup after dominating the chaotic 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing season.
The biggest news going into the off-season was that the team’s “Giving Car Program” funded by Doug Chandler came to end. With a lack of sponsorship despite a second-place finish in the points, Tommy Johnson Jr. and his MD Anderson Cancer Center team were let go after the season finale in Vegas. Fortunately, crew chief John Collins and the entire MD Anderson Cancer Team found a new home on the Snap-On Tools Dodge Charger Funny Car team of Cruz Pedregon. The team won three events during the 2020 season and looks to take Cruz and his renewed Snap-On Tools sponsor to victory lane in 2021.
The Infinite Hero Foundation team of Jack Beckman was the other “Giving Car Program” to lose its funding after the 2020 season. Currently, there has been no word officially from DSR about a new sponsorship for the team going into 2021. Beckman said at the end of the 2020 season, “I’m just going to have to step back and get my perspective and remain an adult about this. As disappointing as it is, it’s been a fantastic year. It’s been a fantastic ride with the Infinite Hero Foundation and the Chandler’s and if its ended it’s been a fantastic career.”
The Infinite Hero Foundation team won three races and finished third in the Funny Car standings last year. There has been no official announcement of retirement from the 2012 Funny Car champion yet. Let’s hope DSR can put something together for the team.
Reigning Funny Car champion Matt Hagan will return to action with his Mopar//Dodge Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat team for 2021. Hagan and his team took home three victories with five final-round appearances on their way to the 2020 Funny Car title.
“I’m very driven and goal-oriented and so is this entire team, and we want to see DSR, Mopar, Pennzoil, all of them stay on top,” Hagan said in a recent article on NHRA.com. “There will be a lot of teams to watch out for, but I don’t see us missing a lick when we come out there. We’re ready to get back out there, and there’s no reason we can’t be just as competitive.”
The four DSR cars swept the entire 11-race season last year in the Funny Car category. Its been 14 wins straight for DSR going into 2021.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season begins March 11th to the 14th with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville.