Ron Capps in action - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
After having two DNQ's (did not qualify) results in seven races, Ron Capps' crew chief Tim Richards abruptly resigned from his post in the midst of last weekend's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Californian Capps has had grand success in his Funny Car career but has yet to win a championship; even the venerable Richards couldn't get the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger that elusive season-long Wally.
Team owner Don Schumacher was asked many times last Sunday what he intended to do; the owner of four Funny Car entries as well as a trio of Top Fuel nitro-burning 8000-horsepower dragsters admitted he'd likely make the search from within his cadre of intellects and go from there.
Well, the results are mixed, as yes, Capps' new crew chief is Rahn Tobler, moving over from Jack Beckman's Valvoline NextGen Funny Car to tune. But Schumacher went outside his current ranks to hire Todd Smith as crew chief for Beckman, who currently lies third in the point standings behind John Force Racing's Robert Hight and Mike Neff.
Rahn Tobler - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Although Tobler will be crew chief for Ron Capps' Dodge Charger, he'll also be the lead tuner for Beckman's team - for at least the next two Full Throttle contests - as Smith transitions to his new position; Smith most recently served as co-crew chief on Brandon Bernstein's Kenny Bernstein Racing Top Fuel car in 2011, working with Donnie Bender.
"Rahn will help Todd get adjusted to the team and become acclimated to our DSR operation," Schumacher said. "Rahn will make the final decisions for at least the next two races. We have a strong enough organization that we can assist Todd, but it wouldn't take him long to become familiar with DSR and the Valvoline team. He has plenty of background in our sport."
There's also some shuffling in the assistant crew chief ranks as John Collins assists Tobler on the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge and Terry Snyder moves to assist Smith with Beckman's Valvoline Charger.
Todd Smith - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Todd Smith has a long and enviable history in drag racing. He's worked with Kalitta Motorsports, Darrell Gwynn Racing, Don Prudhomme Racing and, most recently with Kenny Bernstein Racing. While with Prudhomme's Snake Racing, Smith served as co-crew chief for current DSR Top Fuel standout Spencer Massey. He is the son of two-time NHRA Comp Eliminator world champion Charlie Smith and joins the team for the next race at zMax Dragway next weekend, April 13-15, the Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at Concord, NC.