Ron Capps takes top honors at Charity karting event. SONOMA, Calif. -- Fifty lucky race fans traded high-speed thrills and lots of smiles with top stars from the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series on Saturday at the Infineon Raceway Karting Center...
Ron Capps takes top honors at Charity karting event.
SONOMA, Calif. -- Fifty lucky race fans traded high-speed thrills and lots of smiles with top stars from the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series on Saturday at the Infineon Raceway Karting Center in the first "NHRA Tour de Charity."
The first-time event, which pitted race fans against NHRA drivers for a day of karting on the 16-turn, three-quarter mile track, raised $12,000 for Speedway Children's Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway. All proceeds will benefit needy youth organizations in Sonoma County.
Race fans traveled from as far as Maryland and Indiana for the event, and they did not leave disappointed. More than 300 people attended the event, including the 50 lucky fans that raced.
"This has been an absolute blast. I haven't had this much fun in a long time," said competitor Jana Lindsay, from San Jose. "It's hard to explain the adrenaline rush you get when you're behind the wheel but it's unbelievable. Plus, we're helping a great cause. It couldn't have been a better day."
"This was pretty awesome. It exceeded all expectations I had," said Tim Sentz, from Sunnyvale. "It's hard to describe how pumped up you get in those karts. It was also neat having the NHRA guys come up for this."
The Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, which operates the karting center, provided the karts, race suits, classroom instruction and on-track pointers for all competitors. Everyone competed in 100cc sprint karts capable of top speeds of 70 mph. NHRA POWERade drivers who donated their time for the charitable event included:
Gary Scelzi, three-time Top Fuel national champion and current driver of the Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Ca Ron Capps, 1997 winner at Infineon Raceway and current driver of the Skoal Green Racing Camaro Funny Ca Cruz Pedregon, 1992 Funny Car national champion and current driver of the Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Funny Ca David Baca, Brentwood resident and current driver of the American Racing Top Fuel dragste Tony Pedregon, driver of the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang Funny Car.
Drivers were paired with race fans during the day of racing, and they also signed autographs and donated memorabilia for a raffle. They also competed in a 10-lap feature race at the end of the day to determine the "eKing of the Track."
Capps won that title, turning the best lap among the five NHRA POWERade drivers over the 16-turn, three-quarter mile track. Capps clocked in at 55.511 seconds. He was followed by Tony Pedregon (56.951), Cruz Pedregon (56.990), Scelzi (57.238) and Baca (57.756).
"I'm King of the Track among the drag racers, that's pretty neat," Capps said. "I didn't hold anything back out there and neither did anyone else. We were out here for a good cause but we also get pretty competitive. This facility that Infineon has built up here is one of the best I've ever seen. It seems each time I come here something new is happening."
"I'm ready to go another 20 laps, but that's just my mind talking. I don't think my body can take it. This can tire you out," quipped Tony Pedregon.
Race fans also had their own private 10-lap feature race at the end of the day, with Roseville's Ron Perkins taking top honors. For the win, Perkins will receive the "NHRA Experience," which includes: Infineon Raceway jacket, framed picture of his favorite NHRA driver, meet-and-greet with the NHRA's top stars at the FRAM Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway (Aug. 1-3) and the rare chance to stand on the starting line for one pass at the FRAM Autolite Nationals.
Race fans made a donation of $250 for the day of karting and fun, which also included a catered lunch, T-shirt and a raffle with prizes donated from many teams on the NHRA POWERade circuit, as well as the NHRA lf.