NHRA Champion Crew Chief Rahn Tobler Announces his Retirement

Veteran NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car tuner Rahn Tobler, crew chief of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driven by Ron Capps, will retire from the sport and depart Don Schumacher Racing at the end of this month. Tobler, 66, has enjoyed a successful NHRA career spanning nearly 50 years, including 11 years as a member of Don Schumacher Racing. Since 2012, Tobler and Capps have worked side-by-side where they were successful in capturing 33 victories, including Capps’ milestone 60th nitro triumph and the 2016 Funny Car title.

Photo courtesy NHRA/National Dragster

Tobler began his drag racing career in 1971 and has won 70 national events and four world championships. In addition to his 2016 title, Tobler’s other championships include the 1980 and 1982 Top Fuel titles with Shirley Muldowney, and the 2008 Funny Car championship with Cruz Pedregon. Tobler plans to enjoy his retirement in Southern Calif. with his wife, Ellen. His successor to take over the reins on the NAPA Funny Car will be announced at a later date.

“It’s been a very storied career. 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. 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. I’ve made so many great friends along the way, but I’m especially going to miss my crew guys. They’ve become family. We would do things away from the track together, fun things on the road and back at home, I got to know their families. Without a crew, a crew chief is nothing. If you don’t have that strong group behind you, you won’t be successful.

“I’m very fortunate to have worked in an industry that I’ve enjoyed every single day, but I’m now looking forward to this next chapter in life. My wife, Ellen, and I will be moving to Huntington Beach. That’s been our plan all along. She’s a Southern California girl, and when we first got together, I promised her we’d go back to Huntington when it was time to retire, and let’s be honest, it’s not a bad place to retire.”

“I’m heartbroken that our time racing together has come to an end,” said Capps. “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 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.

“Very happy that he’ll be able to go off and enjoy his retirement and spend time with his lovely wife, Ellen. He deserves it. He’s been involved in the sport of drag racing since his teenage years, so this chapter closes, and a new one opens for him.”

“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 dragstrip.”

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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