Ron Capps breaks through for first NHRA victory at Lucas Oil Raceway

NHRA Ron Capps Indianapolis
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps scored his 65th career victory Sunday — and his first at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis.

In beating J.R. Todd (who smoked his tires in the final round), Capps has won a national event at every active track on the NHRA schedule.

“I want to melt this (trophy) down and give it to all those NAPA people out there that are essential workers,” Capps said after winning for the first time in nearly a year. “We just want to come out and let people forget about what’s going on. Put on a show, have fun.

“This (trophy) is going to my wife (Shelley). I don’t think I’ve ever given my wife a trophy. We’ve been coming here 23 years, and I’ve never won at this track. For a driver to says he’s won at every track on the circuit, that tells you the talent that’s around him. That’s a huge accomplishment. I’m so proud to drive this race car.”

Don Schumacher Racing’s Funny Car teams have won eight consecutive NHRA events dating to last year.

In Top Fuel, two-time defending division champion Steve Torrence continued his comeback from missing the season opener by winning his second race this season and first since February.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were class winners Sunday as the NHRA completed the second event since restarting its season last month. The series took a three-month hiatus for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The next national event will be Aug. 28-30 at Atlanta Dragway before returning to Lucas Oil Raceway over Labor Day weekend for the U.S. Nationals.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”