Capps leads racers to Hot Rod Reunion

Capps Leads Racers to Reunion BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- (Oct. 8, 2007) -- NHRA POWERade nitro funny car pilot Ron Capps will return to the Automobile Club of Southern California Hot Rod Reunion again this year, but this time behind the wheel of the...

Capps Leads Racers to Reunion

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- (Oct. 8, 2007) -- NHRA POWERade nitro funny car pilot Ron Capps will return to the Automobile Club of Southern California Hot Rod Reunion again this year, but this time behind the wheel of the new Nostalgia Funny Car owned by Gary Messenger. In testing, Messenger's newly finished 1972 Dodge Charger-bodied funny car has covered the Auto Club Famoso Raceway quarter mile in 6.26 seconds shutting off at 1,100 feet when it was driven by Crew Chief Zane Messenger.

Capps is one of more than 300 racers who will compete on the quarter-mile dragstrip in ten classes at the 16th Annual event, presented by Holley. Racers are coming to Bakersfield from as far away as England and Australia. Media and racing fans are coming from the four corners of the Earth.

"We're getting ready for the biggest Reunion yet," said Tony Thacker, executive director of the non-profit Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, presented by the Auto. Club of So. Calif., which produces and benefits from the event. "Some cars never before seen in the United States will be competing against the best in the business. Since the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series has the week off, we know already that many of the racers from that series will be joining us in Bakersfield. We've also got previous champions in Top Fuel who want to add another trophy to their cases."

In the hotly-contested Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster class, 2006 California Reunion winner Jim Murphy could easily repeat, but Troy Green, who won the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in Columbus, Ohio on Father's Day weekend would also like to double his pleasure. Also expected are Brad Thompson, Rick White, Brett Harris, Adam Sorokin, Jason Richey and Jack Harris. The ever-popular Mendy Fry is expected along with Shannon Stewart, Rick Rogers, John Shoemaker, Mark Malde, Bill Dunlap -- filling in for Brendan Murry -- Pete Kaiser, Rick Williamson, Scott Mason, Mike McClennan, local Rick McGee, Howard Haight and Denver Schutz.

Capps' competition in Funny Car alone includes Dennis LaCharite's "Back In Black"GTO, Ron Hodgson's "Bubble-Up/Pacemaker" Firebird driven by Terry Capp, Lee Jennings' "Code Red" Challenger driven by Lee Paul Jennings, George Doty's "Crazy Horse" Mustang driven by Rion Konno, Ed Lenarth's "Holy Toledo" Jeep driven by Jeff Diehl, Jack Wright's "Joker" Challenger driven by Jack Wright, Howard Bugg's "L'il Nate" Barracuda driven by Nate Bugg, Steve Plueger's "Northwest Hitter" Arrow driven by Bucky Austin, Bob Godfrey's "Oblivion Express" Camaro driven by Bob Godfrey, Gary Turner' "Pedaler" Arrow driven by Chris Krabill, Danny Pisano's "Pisano & Matsubara" Vega driven by Jeff Utterback, Marc Roy's "Predator" Satellite driven by Jim Holtz, Maroney Brothers' "Shark Attack" Corvette driven by Ron Maroney, Gary Dale's "Shakey Situation" Charger driven by Sean Dale, Mike Adams' "Sons of Thunder" Corvette driven by Mike Adams, Jim Broome's "Speed Sport" Barracuda driven by Mike Savage, Randy Walls' "Super Nova" Nova driven by Randy Walls, Doug Rose's "Time Traveler" Vega driven by Doug Rose and Steve Romanazzi's "Warrior" Vega driven by Steve Romanazzi.

"I was kind of bummed that Jeff Gaynor and I couldn't put a program together for this year's Reunion," said Capps, "but Gary and Zane Messenger offered me this ride through my friend Darr Hawthorne, and I said 'yes!' It gives me a chance to be with my mentor Ed 'The Ace' McCulloch who's my POWERade® Series crew chief and Grand Marshal for the Reunion this year. I'm excited to race this car, they have great equipment and most people don't know that the body on the Messengers' funny car is a former Gene Snow "Snowman" Dodge Charger and Roland Leong ran the chassis in the early 90s as the "Hawaiian Vacation" Funny Car and Kenny Youngblood painted the car. That's what nostalgia racing is all about! It's just like the old days."

Capps is no stranger to nostalgia funny car competition having grabbed the No. 2 qualifying slot at last year's Hot Rod Reunion while piloting Gaynor's "Hard Times" Dodge Challenger to a 6.000 elapsed time at 239 miles per hour, second only to Del Worsham's "Blue Max" Mustang replica. At the 2007 March Meet at Famoso Raceway, Capps also nailed the No. 1 slot running a stout 5.98 elapsed time and also set low elapsed time driving a nostalgia nitro flopper at the Tucson Dragway Reunion earlier this year.

Gary Messenger said of the opportunity, "It's wonderful to have Ron take over the debut of our new funny car at the Reunion, he's a great guy and we can't wait to race with him driving the "Future Flash" Charger. We are ready to make some noise!"

Messenger's team is based in Chino Hills, Calif. and sponsored by MFM Building Products in Coshocton, Ohio, and locally by Glendora Dodge.

The 16th annual Automobile Club of Southern California Hot Rod Reunion, presented by Holley, is part of the museum's Hot Rod Heritage Series which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture.

Unique among motorsports events, the Reunion honors some of the top names in hot rodding from the past and features a fabulous array of cool drag cars, street rods, classics, customs and muscle cars of the historic and present-day hot rod eras.

Daily general admission tickets/pit passes will be available at Auto Club Famoso Raceway gate, (www.famosoraceway.com). Cost per person: Friday, $20; Saturday, $20; Sunday, $15. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Auto Club discount is also available at the gate: $2 off Friday and Saturday and, $1 off Sunday.

-credit: museum.nhra.com.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Ron Capps , Paul Lee , Bucky Austin , Tony Thacker , Jeff Diehl , Rick Williams , Brett Harris
Teams Williams