Veteran Tuner Roland Leong Named Crew Chief For Don Prudhomme Racing's Green Skoal Racing Funny Car VISTA, Calif. (May 25, 2004)- Don Prudhomme Racing has announced the return of veteran tuner Roland Leong to the green Skoal Racing...
Veteran Tuner Roland Leong Named Crew Chief For Don Prudhomme Racing's Green Skoal Racing Funny Car
VISTA, Calif. (May 25, 2004)- Don Prudhomme Racing has announced the return of veteran tuner Roland Leong to the green Skoal Racing Funny Car where he will be reunited with driver Ron Capps. Effective immediately, Leong replaces John Stewart as the crew chief for the Capps-driven Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car, team owner Don Prudhomme announced today.
Leong will begin his second stint with the Skoal Racing crew beginning with this weekend's O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan. Leong called the shots for Capps from May 1997 through the 1999 NHRA campaign, tuning Capps to seven victories and a second place finish in the 1998 Funny Car points standings. In addition to the return of Leong, David Hutchens will join Snake Racing as an engineering consultant.
"I'm very excited to be back on board with Snake Racing and to work with Ron Capps," Leong said. "I've worked with Ron in the past and we've become good friends away from the race track. We had some success working together before and I'm looking forward to helping Ron get back on track and again taste that success.
"My philosophy is to take things one run at a time. I like to gather information and go from there. I know that Dave Hutchens, Todd (Okuhara), and I will all get along very well, which is a key to having a successful organization."
Leong will serve as crew chief on Capps' green Skoal Racing flopper, while Todd Okuhara will continue his duties as assistant crew chief. Phil Shuler will remain in his role as car chief.
"Dave (Hutchens) and I clicked when we worked together on Jim Epler's car in 2001," Leong said. "He's a good addition to any crew. Coming from the Pro Stock ranks, he brings a different perspective to the fuel cars."
Capps, one of 13 NHRA drivers to have earned victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, is in his eighth season with Don Prudhomme Racing and has driven his Skoal Racing Chevy Funny Car to 13 wins while driving under Prudhomme's umbrella. Capps has qualified for all eight races this season and currently sits in 13th place in the Funny Car points standings with 278 points.
"I'm excited and it's not hard to get excited about Roland coming back to our crew," Capps said. "When I was driving for Snake early in my career I got to drive for Roland and we almost won the championship my first full season with him calling the shots in 1998. Sometimes you just feel some magic there that isn't explainable. I rank him up there with Snake and Don Garlits with those who made this sport what it is today. It's amazing that a guy of his talent has been sitting at home. It's a big circle out here. Snake's first driving job was for Roland in 1965 the year I was born, and it's amazing they're still together now. I'm just really excited about what's to come. I think Roland and Mike Green will make a terrific tuning duo for mine and Tommy's (Johnson) Funny Cars."
Prudhomme piloted Leong's Hawaiian dragster to the prestigious U.S. Nationals victory in 1965, his first of a record seven U.S. Nationals triumphs. The two formed a bond working together over the years in many drag racing projects and have remained close friends.
"I have a lot of respect for all of my drivers and Ron (Capps) felt very strongly about this decision," Prudhomme said. "Ron called me and started talking about bringing Roland aboard. They won a lot of races together when Ron was driving in the late 1990s. I'm really pleased they're joining forces again. It's crucial for a driver and crew chief to have a good working relationship and Ron and Roland have that. It's sort of like a quarterback and his supporting cast, if the crew chief and driver work together well, the results will come."
Don Prudhomme Snake Racing is headquartered in Vista, Calif., with a second shop - Don Prudhomme Racing, Indianapolis - serving as the base for racing operations. Drivers Ron Capps, Larry Dixon and Tommy Johnson Jr. complete the roster of Prudhomme's stable of drivers and proudly represent such racing partners as Miller Brewing Company, United States Smokeless Tobacco Company, Lucas Oil Products and Raybestos.
- snake racing -