NAPA Funny Car puts Carlyle Hand Tools to the test

Nobody puts hand tools to the test like an NHRA pit crew, which is why the Ron Capps’ NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team has relied on Carlyle Hand Tools since the launch of the Carlyle Hand Tool line. Pit crews are pressed to disassemble and reassemble engines quickly and professionally many times during the course of a race. The crew will have about an hour to prepare a car for the next race, and there can be as many as eight consecutive runs during a race event, including qualifying. Hence, the crew needs the best quality tools available.

Carlyle Hand Tools’ association with racing began from the tool line’s very inception. Carlyle Hand Tools takes its name from Carlyle Fraser, one of NAPA’s founding fathers. As a driving force behind the organization’s growth, Fraser knew the key to success was to give customers the parts and tools they need to get the job done right.

Carlyle Hand Tools was created according to that philosophy. The line was designed by professional technicians for professional technicians. With more than 1,700 items in 12 major categories, the Carlyle program combines the quality, features and coverage professional technicians expect.

The lineup includes ratchets, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers, combination wrenches, torque wrenches, bit sockets, specialty wrenches, adjustable wrenches, hex keys, and hammers. Specialized heat treating and corrosion resistant finishing ensure ultra-long life and exceptional durability. 

Schumacher seizes opportunity

Don Schumacher, president of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and chairman of Schumacher Electric Corp., recognized several years ago that NHRA fans are an important audience for professional automotive products. NAPA AUTO PARTS recognized this as well and became one of DSR’s primary sponsors.

When NAPA introduced Carlyle Hand Tools, its first professional tool line, Schumacher saw an opportunity for an associate sponsorship. “We got involved early on,” Schumacher said. “It’s been a great marriage. It really was a natural fit.” Team sponsorship not only results in increased brand awareness for the Carlyle Hand Tool line; it helps build relationships and goodwill with customers and race fans alike.

“I don’t hear any complaints out of them; I’ve never had any problems,” noted Rahn Tobler, crew chief for the NAPA Funny Car. Each crew member has his own set of Carlyle Hand Tools specific to his job as well as access to a central toolbox, Tobler said.

“They (Carlyle Hand Tools) definitely exceeded our expectations,” said crew member Mark Stewart. “We’re very hard on tools. We’ll prove to a company how good their tool really is.”

Stewart gives Carlyle Hand Tools high marks for being proactive in developing new tools based on the pit crew’s input. “They were very great to work with,” he said. He noted that it is not unusual for pit crews to build their own tools at times. He said Carlyle Hand Tools took it upon themselves to develop new tools to address the crew’s needs.

According to Dustin Heim, NAPA Know How NHRA Funny Car team member, “Carlyle Hand tools are second to none.”

NAPA AUTO PARTS comes forward

NAPA AUTO PARTS has also benefited from the Carlyle Hand Tools sponsorship.

“It (the sponsorship) allows us to deliver the tools and put them into the work cycle of the guys that use them,” noted Roy East, national sales manager for NAPA Balkamp tools and equipment. Since the sponsorship began two years ago, East said improvements have been made as a result of the communication between Carlyle Hand Tools and the NAPA Funny Car pit crew. “They (the crew) don’t have to worry about the tools breaking down on them,” East said.

“Ever since Carlyle became a sponsor and the team changed over to Carlyle Hand Tools, we’ve been getting great feedback,” said Chris Casey, category manager for Carlyle Tools. “It’s a great benefit to have hands-on testing from professionals at this level. A pit crew is extremely hard on tools, but the Carlyle line is meeting the challenge.”

“Everyone at Don Schumacher Racing treats us like we’re a part of the team,” Casey added. “As for Ron Capps, I don’t think there’s anyone better. The customers love him. He always makes sure every autograph is signed and pictures are taken.”

“We continue to be pleased with our sponsorship of Don Schumacher Racing and Ron Capps, driver of the NAPA Funny Car in the ever growing NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series,” says Mike Rearden, NAPA director of events and sponsorships. “Motorsports is a key component of our marketing strategy and the NHRA provides us a unique platform to get in front of its many loyal fans.”

“Don Schumacher Racing and Ron Capps are true professionals and great ambassadors for the NAPA brand both on and off the track.”

Carlyle Club offers special pricing

“There are many ways to build a new brand and one of the ways we have chosen is motorsports and in particular NHRA.  With the fans ability to get up close to the race teams as cars are being prepared we felt would showcase Carlyle's professional quality,” says NAPA’s Rearden. “The Ron Capps team are big fans of the Carlyle brand and provide us great feedback from their experiences at the track and in the shop.  The events have resulted in spikes in the registration to our Carlyle Club which provides our members sneak peeks at new products and ongoing discount programs for their Carlyle hand tool purchases.”

The Carlyle Club provides members with exclusive offers on Carlyle Tools, special pricing for members only, “sneak peaks” on new items, contests, giveaways, and everyone receives a “Welcome Gift” when joining the Carlyle Club. Carlyle Club memberships are also available for the Automotive Technician Student. Customers can join the Carlyle Club at

Carlyle Hand Tools is continuously expanding its offering and has launched 123 new SKUs so far this year with more to come in the second half of 2014. The company is always striving to bring the technician the latest in innovation with the highest quality standards in mind.