Capitani tops sprint car poll

Ralph Capitani Named 'Most Influential' In Sprint Car Poll. KNOXVILLE, IOWA (March 15, 2004) - For the first time since the introduction of the annual special edition North American Sprint Car Poll honoring the sport's thirty most...

Ralph Capitani Named 'Most Influential' In Sprint Car Poll.

KNOXVILLE, IOWA (March 15, 2004) - For the first time since the introduction of the annual special edition North American Sprint Car Poll honoring the sport's thirty most influential leaders in 1991, World of Outlaws (WoO) founder and president Ted Johnson is not ranked 'number one'. That honor, as determined by an industry-wide voting panel of manufacturers, media members, sanctioning officials and promoters, now belongs to Knoxville Raceway director of racing Ralph Capitani. "Cappy" captured 11 of the 53 first-place ballots cast in the 2004 poll, the same number as garnered by both second-ranked Earl Baltes of Eldora Speedway and the third-rated Johnson.

Capitani promotes weekly winged 360- and 410-cubic-inch sprint car racing at the Marion County Fairgrounds facility in Knoxville, Iowa, in addition to major national championship special events like the Knoxville 410 Nationals and the Knoxville 360 Nationals. Baltes promotes almost-weekly winged and non-winged sprint car special events at his track in Rossburg, Ohio, including the prestigious Mopar Million and King's Royal shows. Texas-based Johnson has led the now-winged WoO national tour since it's inception in March of 1978 as a non-winged 410 c.i. sprint car sanction. It should be noted that the top three leaders are already members of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Those ranked fourth through tenth, respectively, among "Sprint Car Racing's 30 Most Influential Leaders" are Emmett Hahn (seven first-place votes) of the American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) and newly-created '410' Sprint Bandits, multi-time WoO champion owner/driver Steve Kinser (six votes), United States Auto Club (USAC) president Rollie Helmling (one vote), chief executive officer Paul Kruger (four votes) of WoO parent company Boundless Motor Sports Racing, 2003 North American Sprint Car Poll "Outstanding Contribution to the Sport Award" recipient and sprint car team owner Tony Stewart, All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) president Guy Webb, and Sprint Car & Midget magazine editor Doug Auld. In addition, Empire Super Sprints (ESS) president Dick Carbery and Ventura Raceway promoter Jim Naylor each earned one first-place vote.

Besides the sudden appearance of Paul Kruger of Boundless in the 'top ten' of the rankings, the other new-comers to the poll are Bobby Hartslief of Boundless in 12th, owner/driver/promoter Terry McCarl in 23rd, Williams Grove Speedway promoter Bob Jones in 24th, sprint car champion-turned-NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley in 26th, and Tommy Hunt of USAC Western States in 28th, respectively. It appears that the leadership within the overall sport of sprint car racing is fairly stable heading into 2004.

The North American Sprint Car Poll is an official awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum Foundation of Knoxville, Iowa.

<pre> Special Edition 2004 North American Sprint Car Poll: "Sprint Car Racing's 30 Most Influential Leaders"

2004    2003
Rank    Rank   Person (First Place)           Affiliation       Occupation                   Points
1.         2.  Ralph Capitani  (11)     Knoxville Raceway       360/410 promoter             2,410
2.         3.  Earl Baltes     (11)     Eldora Speedway         non-w/360/410 promoter       2,332
3.         1.  Ted Johnson     (11)     World of Outlaws        410 sanction                 1,764
4.         4.  Emmett Hahn      (7)     ASCS/Sprint Bandits     360/410 sanction             1,759
5.         6.  Steve Kinser     (6)     Quaker State #11        410 driver/owner             1,366
6.         7.  Rollie Helmling  (1)     U.S. Auto Club          non-w sanction                 905
7.         -   Paul Kruger      (4)     Boundless MSR           410 sanction                   689
8.        12.  Tony Stewart             Mopar #20, 21           non-w/410 owner                502
9.        10.  Guy Webb                 All Star Circuit        410 sanction/owner             454
10.        9.  Doug Auld                Sprint Car & Midget     non-w/360/410 media            440
11.       13.  Tom Schmeh               Natl Spr Car Museum     non-w/360/410 media            376
12.       -    Bobby Hartslief          Boundless MSR           410 sanction                   331
13.        5.  Ron Shuman               SCRA/NWWC               non-w sanction                 289
14.       18.  Allan Holland         non-w/360/410 media            241
15.       17.  Steve Sinclair           Interstate Racing Assn. 410 sanction                   212
16.       16.  Dave Argabright          Sprint Car & Midget     non-w/360/410 media            210
17.       21.  John Padjen              Silver Dollar/GSC       360/410 promoter/sanction      157
18.       14.  Lanny Edwards            Devil's Bowl Spdwy.     360/410 promoter               140
19.       19.  Danny Lasoski            Mopar #20               410 driver                     123
20.       23.  Jerry Russell            Eagle Chassis           non-w/360/410 builder          118
21.       11.  Chuck Merrill            Maxim Chassis           non-w/360/410 builder          116
22.       25.  Chris Economaki          NSSN/Elbows Up!         non-w/360/410 media            112
23.       -    Terry McCarl             #24/McTwo Promo         410 owner/driver/promo          87
24.       -    Bob Jones                Wms. Grove Spdwy.       358/410 promoter                77
25.       30.  J.V. Brotherton          Brodix Cyl. Heads       non-w/360/410 builder           76
26.       -    J.J. Yeley               Mopar #20               non-w driver                    70
27.       24.  Jason Smith              U.S. Auto Club          non-w sanction                  66
28.       -    Tommy Hunt               U.S. Auto Club          non-w sanction                  62
29.       20.  Earl Gaerte              Gaerte Engines          non-w/360/410 builder           61
30.       26.  Bob East                 Beast Chassis           non-w builder                   55

Also receiving multiple votes: Cary Agajanian, Steve Beitler, Scott Benic, Scott Boyd, Fred Brownfield, Dick Carbery (1), Tracy Clay, Craig Cormack, Neil Cowman, Dave Despain, Mike Devin, Brad Doty, Kevin Eckert, Jack Elam, Bruce Ellis, Jason Fausey, Scott Gerkin, Keith Hall, C. Ray Hall, Al Hamilton, Brian Healey, Janet Holbrook, Roger Johnson, Brent Kaeding, Don Kazarian, Mike Kerchner, Karl Kinser, Paul Kistler, Alan Kreitzer, Keith Kunz, Bob Lawton, Mike Martin, John McCoy, Bob Miller, Kevin Miller, Jim Naylor (1), Bob Newton, Jerry Reigle, Carlton Reimers, Glen Sander, Ron Shaver, Wayne Simmons, Gary Stanton, Greg Stephens, Pete Walton, Bob Westphal, Justin Zoch.


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Smith , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , J.J. Yeley , Bob Miller , Mike Martin , Bob Jones
Teams Williams