CAPPS MAKES FIRST LAPS IN NAPA NASCAR LATE MODEL IN ROSEVILLE CARLSBAD, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2008) - Ron Capps lapped the one-third-mile oval at All American Speedway 50 times last week as he tested the NAPA-sponsored NASCAR Late Model he will pilot...
CAPPS MAKES FIRST LAPS IN NAPA NASCAR LATE MODEL IN ROSEVILLE
CARLSBAD, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2008) - Ron Capps lapped the one-third-mile oval at All American Speedway 50 times last week as he tested the NAPA-sponsored NASCAR Late Model he will pilot in this Saturday's NASCAR Whelen All American Series, a companion event to the NASCAR Camping World Series championship finale in Roseville, Calif.
Driving the car owned by NCWS team owner Bill McAnally for the first time, Capps acclimated himself to the 440-hp Late Model, which he admits is quite different from the 7000-hp NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car he regularly wheels in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. He was supported by two spotters, Late Model racer Bennie Moon and spotter/crew chief Chris Nelle.
"We'd go out for a 10-lap run at a time, come in and check everything and make a change, if necessary," said Capps, who is seventh in the Funny Car championship point standings, with two events remaining in the 2008 season. "They would get me to relay to them what the car was doing or not doing.
"They had a couple of spotters up there for me, Bennie and Chris. Bennie is a Late Model driver and he was helping spot me with my racing line and Chris is a regular spotter who helped me through the traffic.
"Obviously, it looks a lot easier when you're watching these races on TV. And this track has a reputation for having great side-by-side racing. So, it felt good.
"It was a brand-new car, and it was quite a test for me to be able to relay what I thought the car was doing, not being a regular driver in the series. And the guys on the crew and the crew chief said they were very happy with what I was relaying to them because they would make the right change.
"We'd go out and the car would be quicker and I felt more and more comfortable. And so it was a fun experience. It was like driving in a NASCAR race, having a spotter talking to you, coming back in and discussing whether the car was pushing or was loose. It was definitely a learning curve for me.
"When you race different cars, like in the Prelude to the Dream and in other dirt races, you're thrown into an environment you're not used to and you're not real comfortable at first. But that's what makes me love all forms of motorsports. You're challenged constantly. And also in drag racing, which is what makes that sport so cool, too.
"For me going into the NASCAR Late Model arena for the first time was intimidating, but at the same time it was cool because before the night's end I was running low 14-second laps, 14.1s and 14.0s. I didn't ask at the time, but Bill McAnally later said he was very, very happy. When I got home I looked at some past races and it turns out those times were pretty good. So we'll see what happens this weekend."
Capps shared the track with both Late Model and NCWS competitors during the test runs. "A few sessions I was out there by myself," he said, "but then there were some other Camping World Series cars as well as Late Models out there. So I was able to get used to the spotter telling me who was where. It's so hard to see in those cars, because of the padding around the seats. The sport has seen evolution in safety and it's like our Funny Cars now with all the padding they have on the roll cages, so there's not a whole lot to see except in front of you. You really, really have to rely on the spotters.
"It was neat to have cars around me and have the spotter talk to me at the same time. That in itself, let me tell you, is very, very hard to get used to; harder than I ever imagined watching those guys on TV.
"I thought I was in pretty good shape," he added, "but I probably lost five or six pounds. It was like 98 degrees out there in Roseville. We would make a run, come into the pits, talk to the crew, and then they're jacking up the car and making wedge and spring adjustments while you're sitting in the car. When they're done, you put it into reverse and get back on the track.
"That was probably the biggest adjustment I had to make. In drag racing, you make a run and you have a few hours to contemplate what happened and anticipate what will happen next with the changes made by the crew chief. In NASCAR Late Model racing, you come in the pits, you provide the info to the crew chief, the crew makes a change and you're back out there, with no time to think."