WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE...RON CAPPS ON RACING IN PRELUDE TO THE DREAM CARLSBAD, Calif. (May 10, 2007) - Funny Car racer Ron Capps is not a man of few words. Ask him a question and you will get his deepest, most emotional and sincerest thoughts on...
WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE...RON CAPPS ON RACING IN PRELUDE TO THE DREAM
CARLSBAD, Calif. (May 10, 2007) - Funny Car racer Ron Capps is not a man of few words. Ask him a question and you will get his deepest, most emotional and sincerest thoughts on any subject. We asked the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader (after seven races) to describe what it means to him to be invited for the third straight year to compete in the Nextel Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on June 6.
Capps, who drives the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing and has won three Funny Car events so far in 2007 - more than any other driver - will race just about anything in a straight line, around corners, on high-banked short and long ovals, and even in the dirt. So, he took his invitation to race against a star-studded list of drivers in the Nextel Prelude to the Dream on Eldora's half-mile clay oval for the third time proudly and seriously.
The third annual Nextel Prelude to the Dream will feature 25 world-renowned drivers battling for dirt supremacy, and HBO Pay-Per-View will present the event live to the entire nation. Proceeds from this ground-breaking telecast will support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation.
Drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt track experience and others with hardly any, will participate in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and the 30-lap feature.
All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt late-model stock cars capable of putting out over 800 horsepower.
Besides Capps, the all-star race will feature Tony Stewart, owner of Eldora Speedway, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Dave Blaney, Kyle Petty, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Ray Evernham, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace and J.J. Yeley, as well as the legendary Red Farmer.
In the first two events, Capps finished ninth and fourth.
Although most drivers will say that words cannot describe their experience at this unique event, Capps, 41, of Carlsbad, Calif., has words that can. Here are some of them:
A RESOUNDING 'YEAH'
"The first thing that happened was getting the phone call from 'Smoke' (Tony Stewart) inviting me to race again in the Prelude. I gave him a resounding Yeah!, I'll be there for sure. The icing on the cake was the announcement of who was coming. I mean, these guys are my heroes, guys I watch on Sundays when we're not racing: Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, Matt Kenseth, as well as Red Farmer, all of the racing icons. You go down the list and see all the famous names, and that was just the first year."
AWESOME, HBO, PPV, POWERade FANS
"Then the second year to have (Dale Earnhardt) Junior show up was incredible. And now the big announcement that Juan Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham and Kasey Kahne are racing is even more so. The list has grown bigger and bigger. This is now the third year, and the people who have known about it have known how big an event this is, with all these famous drivers. And the fact that this year for the first time it's going to be on HBO Pay-Per-View on a Wednesday night with top drivers in the world - and the chance of seeing a drag racer in the middle of it - is awesome. I know our NHRA POWERade Drag Racing fans are all going to be tuning in to see how well we do. It's exciting for me to know that NHRA drag racing has the best fans and that they will be tuning in to see how a drag racer will hold up."
"Growing up in California I could only read about Eldora as a kid and as a dirt racing fan. To me, Eldora was kind of the Holy Grail of dirt tracks. There's only two or three tracks in the country that a dirt racer's eyes would light up when they'd hear the name and Eldora was certainly one of them. The first time I showed up for the Prelude and walked into the track on the back straightaway and looked around at this half-mile high-banked track that was so legendary, it made the hair on my neck stand up. It was unbelievable the first time I walked in there."
"And then to get in these big-motored late-model stocks and run sub-16-second laps on a half-mile dirt track, imagine that! Imagine going around this track that's a high-banked half-mile at almost full throttle all the way around. A lot of those Nextel Cup guys were kind of joking saying I had an advantage because I'm used to going 330 mph, but there was nothing to prepare you to go to Eldora and hold the throttle down for that quick of a lap at a place like that."
ON THE EDGE
"In the first two events I was almost - and I don't really want to say this with my competition reading - praying the white flag was coming every lap because racing on Eldora is so on the edge. For me to say something is that exciting to drive is a big statement coming from a guy who drives 335 mph...which I've never gone. I've only gone 331."
"The best of the best go to Eldora and that track tests every bit of your manhood. And to go down that straightaway and throw it into that corner and try to not lift is something else, and to do it lap after lap will test every bit of your courage, test every bit of your manhood, and it will test every bit of anything you've ever learned about driving a race car. On top of that, you throw in the other cars around you and you're going into the corner with Bobby Labonte or Kyle Petty or Tony Stewart on your outside and you're thinking, This is incredible. On top of being completely on the edge."
HORNS OUT OF THEIR HEADS
"This event is held for charity, but I can tell you that the first lap of the first heat you forget that it's for charity. Everybody talks about how great it will be to donate money to their charity (and it is!), but when they drop the green flag these guys (and I'm not leaving myself out of this) have horns coming out of their heads and nobody wants to lose. And, at the end of the night to sit back and know how much money was raised is awesome. This event sells out the very minute the tickets go on sale. I tell you what, there's nobody there that doesn't want to win it more than any other guy. It's a pretty big list of very competitive race-car drivers.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
"I've gotten to race with Tony (Stewart) a few times. You know you're racing one of the best race-car drivers in the world. But I'm looking forward to racing against Juan Montoya this year. And Jeff Gordon. It's going to be fun to race those guys knowing Jeff was a great sprint-car driver. Kasey Kahne is a Dodge teammate and was a great sprint-car driver and dirt racer. Our schedule is so hectic, that to spend time with these guys away from what they do and what we do is always fun. But I'm looking forward to racing against Juan Montoya more than anything else."
RIVAL IS THE OUTSIDE WALL
"I don't have a specific rival on the track. The true rival is the outside wall at Eldora. That is the rival of any race-car driver who has ever raced at Eldora. The trick is to get up as high to that wall as possible. You can almost hear the crowd clapping over the sound of the engine when a driver gets up there. That's the fastest way around, but you need to have the courage to go up there and do it lap after lap. I just don't have that, so I stay down away from the wall and do my thing."
IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
"The first year the Prelude sold out quicker than any race at Eldora, and it has every year, and its location is deceiving. You come over these little hills in the middle of nowhere and, boom, here's this track, and it's like going to our Brainerd (Minn.) or NASCAR'S Talladega. You start seeing the campers miles before you get to the track, and then when you get there it is completely packed, all the way around, for that one race on a Wednesday night. They're there to see their favorite Nextel Cup driver, the legends, like Red Farmer. I'm always amazed to see the NHRA fans there. It's very cool to hear their applause."
"I've driven Brian Ruhlman's car every year, and my first strategy is to bring his car back without hurting it. I've done it every year, and I try not to drive over my head. But you get out there and your competitive side comes out in you. You try to find a balance between trying to win and not doing something stupid , because we go to Chicago two days after that for an NHRA race. I've done real well just going there and having a good showing and not being stupid."
The live broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT), with an immediate replay and subsequent replays throughout the week and the following weekend. HBO Pay-Per-View's first-ever racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at www.hbo.com .
Tickets are available online at www.eldoraspeedway.com .