CAPPS TAKES TO HANFORD'S 3/8-MILE OVAL TO PREP FOR PRELUDE
HANFORD, Calif. (May 10, 2010) - On an off-weekend from the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, in which he races the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger Funny Car, Ron Capps took to the Kings Speedway dirt oval in Hanford, Calif., Saturday night.
Capps drove a dirt late model car owned by local California racer Bryan Burnes into seventh place in the A-Main on the three-eights-mile circuit, using the seat time to prepare for his upcoming sixth straight appearance at the Prelude to the Dream, which takes place at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on June 9. This was the same car that NASCAR star Jeff Gordon drove to second place in his first appearance in the Prelude in 2007.
After qualifying eighth, Capps finished fourth in his heat, which placed him in 10th for the A-Main. Thirty laps later, unscathed, Capps was flagged as the seventh-place finisher. Tommy DeLago, crew chief on Capps' Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan's DieHard Funny Car, joined Capps for the event, qualifying 12th and finishing 12th.
Since this was Mother's Day weekend, Capps was able to spend the evening with his mom Betty and dad John.
"Because this was the car that Jeff Gordon drove to second place in the Prelude in 2007, I knew it was going to be good right from the get-go," said Capps. "These cars are so hard to drive and they're such a handful. It's good to get the seat time before the Prelude. When you drive a late model at Eldora it's not for the weak at heart. It's a place that demands every bit of your courage. It's nice to get into a car that really gives you a lot of confidence.
"I was running with guys who win A-Mains all over the West Coast and it really made me feel good. Bryan and his guys did a great job setting up the car for me. "The crowd was great and since it was Mother's Day, my mom and dad came to the race and spent the evening with me. It was a great time," said Capps, who was born and raised in Northern California.
"It was amazing to see how many fans came for autographs at the trailer afterwards. It reminds me how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing. We also had great support from the local NAPA guys, who had a huge display for the fans, and gave away free hats and shirts. It was a terrific experience.
"For me it was a big confidence booster going into the Prelude. At the Prelude you're racing against the best race-car drivers in the world. This year we have a team format, and my teammates include Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. We're racing to benefit the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
"The last time I drove on dirt I didn't feel I did so well. I was really lacking in my confidence level. And after this last weekend, having a great car under me, I gained a lot of confidence going into the Prelude.
"I helped arrange the ride for Tommy DeLago, who's been known to race different kinds of cars on occasion, and he had a great time. Whenever you jump into somebody's else's car, you always want to bring the car back in good shape, and we did that. That was important to us."
Capps' next event on the NHRA circuit is the 30th annual NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., May 14-16.