Ron Capps is ready for the 2013 season to begin and expects a question to pop up frequently this year.
Will this be the year Ron wins his first NHRA world championship after 18 years of trying?
The popular driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing has dealt with the query before. And before. And before.
A mere two points - tying the NHRA record for closest points battle in its two premier nitro categories - prevented Ron from winning the prestigious championship last year. He finished two markers behind DSR teammate and fellow Southern Californian Jack Beckman.
It was the fourth time in the 47-year-old's career he ended a season as runner-up.
But Ron believes most drivers have never finished second, and if his career ends without the coveted title it won't be what defines his career.
"I've come to the realization that the championship we all want to win will not be as important when I retire and look back at life and career in the sport," he said. "I'm just as content going out winning races with my NAPA team."
He's eager to get back to racing and knowing that NAPA AUTO PARTS has extended its sponsorship partnership with DSR.
"We're very encouraged going to Pomona. One reason is knowing we're going to have a great sponsor like NAPA back for at least the next few years and that Rahn (Tobler) is back. You dream of going into each season with a sponsor and team like we have."
After a sluggish start through the first four races of 2012, he was paired with Tobler and assistant John Collins. The trio led the NAPA team to a resounding finish over the last 19 events to finish with the most titles in Funny Car (five) and best record in championship eliminations (46-17). And there was the quickest run ever in a Funny Car at 3.964 seconds and 320.89 mph on May 31 at Englishtown, N.J.
For Ron, getting to Pomona is more than getting back to racing and being able to spend the weekend with his family that live near San Diego in Carlsbad, Calif.
"It's fun for all of us on the NAPA team to go to work in the morning," he said. "It's not just a job, it's become a lot of fun like when I came into this sport. Let's have fun, let's enjoy ourselves, let's be successful each day and try to be better than that tomorrow. If we keep that attitude up like Tobler has with our team the sky is the limit.
"I believe a championship will come."