4-Time NHRA Champion Crew Chief Rahn Tobler Retiring from Don Schumacher Racing01/21/2021
Four-time NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series champion crew chief Rahn Tobler is calling it a career.
Tobler, who has captained Ron Capps’ Funny Car team for Don Schumacher Racing since 2012, announced his retirement on Thursday, effective Jan. 31. Tobler and Capps teamed for 33 wins and the 2016 NHRA Funny Car championship. Capps finished fourth in the 2020 Funny Car standings, as DSR drivers Matt Hagan, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman and Capps finished 1-2-3-4 in the final standings.
Tobler, 66, has been in drag racing since 1971. He won 70 national NHRA events, and in addition to the Funny Car title with Capps, Tobler won Top Fuel titles with Shirley Muldowney in 1980 and 1982. He also headed Cruz Pedregon’s Funny Car championship in 2008.
“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,” Tobler said. “I’m very fortunate to have worked with so many successful team owners and wonderful people. 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 years at DSR.
“Don Schumacher has given me so many unbelievable opportunities to be successful. Ron (Capps) and I had an incredible run. To win 33 races over what was almost nine seasons, and winning the championship in 2016, I’m just so proud of what we were able to accomplish; what a way to go out. But, winning aside, what I’ve enjoyed the most and also what I’ll miss the most is the people.”
DSR did not reveal Tobler’s replacement for Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat entry as part of the Thursday morning announcement.
“I’m heartbroken that our time racing together has come to an end,” Capps, 55, said. “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.
“We set the national record within a first few races together at Englishtown (N.J.) 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.”
The Tobler news is the latest chapter in what has been a busy, if not a bit unsettling, off-season for team owner Don Schumacher, who is believed to be still working on funding for DSR Funny Car drivers Johnson and Beckman. Currently, DSR has only believed to have secured sponsorship for Top Fuel drivers Antron Brown and Leah Pruett, along with Funny Car pilots Hagan and Capps.
The NHRA season is scheduled to begin March 11-14 at Gainesville, Fla.
“We’ve had a great run with Rahn, and while we are sorry to see him go, we understand and support his decision,” Schumacher said. “He won a lot of races for DSR and NAPA over the years and was an integral part of our organization. He’s a true champion and leaves this sport as one of the most respected names in our industry. We wish him the best of luck as he embarks on a slower-paced lifestyle away from the drag strip.”
Don Schumacher Racing comes into the 2021 season riding a 14-event winning streak, including an 11-event season sweep in 2020, in the NHRA Funny Car category. But with the loss of Ron Capps’ crew chief Rahn Tobler and the current lack of funding for Funny Car drivers Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman, it’s fair to ask if DSR can keep it rolling. Join in the NHRA discussion in the comments section.
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