Last year was unforgettable for veteran nitro Funny Car driver Ron Capps as he finally won a coveted NHRA world championship.

Well, he's delivering quite the encore in 2017.

Capps, behind the wheel of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge, won his fifth race of the season in seven final-round appearances. His latest trip to the winners circle came Sunday when he beat his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman at Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn.

Capps clocked a 4.054-second time at 317.05 mph. Beckman had a quicker 4.040-second elapsed time at 319.29 mph, but the difference was at the starting line where Capps had an .026 reaction time while Beckman was .044.

"We have got a few lucky rounds here and there,  but it has just been preparation in the offseason,” Capps said. “On Friday night, (Rahn) Tobler (Capps’ crew chief) asked if I wouldn’t mind driving the car we had upstairs, the back-up car with a brand new DSR chassis. Usually you go test and make some laps in the car before you go run it, not in the middle of the race. He was convinced when we left Topeka (Kan.) and we struggled in Epping and Englishtown, even though we got to the final in Englishtown (June 11), the car just wasn’t reacting. We are going to have that car front-halved right after Norwalk (June 22-25), but what a decision to make on a Saturday morning (at Bristol).  It went down the track both runs in very, very hot, tricky conditions. Then, we made four runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, crew chiefs and drivers combined. There’s not very many teams out here that are that prepared to pull out (a back-up car) and have it completely ready to go. That’s offseason preparation and that’s Rahn Tobler.”

This was Capps 54th career NHRA nitro Funny Car win and his fourth at Bristol, tying him for most nitro Funny Car wins at Bristol Dragway with John Force. Capps has Bristol Dragway wins in 2001, 2006, 2012 and 2017. Force’s victories came in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Overall for DSR, the NAPA Funny Car title is its 10th in 11 races this year

“He (Force) has owned this place and to be mentioned with him is great and on top of it, it is Father’s Day,” Capps said. “I grew up as a little kid in California reading about Bristol. The history here is unbelievable. I was also blessed with a dad who took me to drag races every weekend whether we raced or not. Now, I get to take this home to my dad and it's going to be fun.”

Capps’ victory parade Sunday came against Alexis DeJoria, Robert Hight, Matt Hagan and Beckman.

“I brag about the facility and the people and he (Bruton Smith) didn’t have to build this facility,” Capps said. “There’s no other race track you get all the drivers to sit down for an autograph session. This is a track that you want to do stuff for and give back. Like my good friend Dale Jr. says, ‘It’s Bristol baby!’”