Here we are on Friday morning of the Vegas race at UNLV getting our official first (and only) softball practice for the big game.
Being able to sit down and write these blogs and sort of catch everyone up on what we have been up to is a lot like going down a short memory lane for me in a way. It is so funny how with all of the social media we are doing on a day to day, wait, hour to hour basis, with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook posts, or the new Ron Capps app available at iTunes/Google stores.
We constantly post what is happening on the go, so it sort of seems like when I sit down to write the blogs it just seems like old news when I look back since I probably Tweeted and or posted it on our Facebook fan page.
Last I wrote on my blog, we had just left Vegas and were headed back east to race the Four-Wide race in Charlotte at zMAX Dragway. During that week was the big NASCAR vs. NHRA softball game that we have been telling you about for the last couple of months.
We had held a practice the weekend of the Vegas race, our one and only practice at UNLV on Friday morning prior to qualifying and it was honestly a blast to get together with all the guys and have a really good couple of hours running around that morning shagging balls and getting some batting practice since most of us hadn't played softball for years. We played a great game and came away with a win but I assure you that the NASCAR guys will want a rematch and we better come ready to play again.
We didn't have the Sunday that we wanted at the Vegas race or the Charlotte race, but we had good weekends and while that sounds strange, what I mean is that we didn't have the results on race day that we have been used to with our NAPA Auto Parts team, but Tobler and our team have been able to work on some things with our clutch package that we feel will give us the best chance to have a chance at being one of the teams battling for a championship at the end of our 2013 Mello Yello season.
We had a quick week with Houston being the following race and Rahn had decided that we were going to go back to our normal tune up on Sunday morning and hold the testing until we can stay after a race on a Monday and work on implementing the parts and pieces that we want to try again. Houston was pretty wet on Saturday and we lost two runs that day, but we went to the semifinals of the race that NHRA and ESPN wanted to try "live" racing, which turned out to be awesome. In the meantime, we have been to Atlanta for our race, but Mother Nature had other plans there as well and we have postponed the race until this weekend.
If you follow along with me on these blogs, you know that I usually go to Hawaii after our season is over to see our Hawaiian NAPA fans and customers and show up at the last race of the season at the Maui Raceway, you might even remember this awesome commercial we shot over there a few years ago. ( http://youtu.be/6UEwgj2AHbQ ), of all the ones we have shot every year over in Hawaii, it still makes me laugh out loud.
Oh yeah....check it out! The new Mello Yellow special NHRA cans
Well this year we are headed to Australia right after Pomona to spend a week over there helping to promote a race there in Sydney at the Sydney Dragway, which is a wonderful facility. I will spend a week or so doing appearances and media building up to a race there where I will be driving an "Outlaw Nitro Funny Car" for legendary Australian drag racer Graeme Cowin (which is actually a Nostalgia Funny Car in the NHRA Heritage series here in the U.S.), and it is the same nostalgia funny car that I drove for Steve Plueger at the March Meet that still holds the world record. It was purchased by Graeme Cowin and I can't wait to see all of our great Australian NAPA racing fans that follow our great sport of NHRA Drag Racing.
As you know, there is always cool stuff on the horizon with us, and if you are on the east coast and near Reading Pa., my teammate Antron Brown and I, in conjunction with NAPA Auto Parts, the Reading Eagle .newspaper and Slick Willy's, they are going to give fans a chance to test your skills against us May 29. Go here to get the details (http://slickwillyskarts.com/slick-willysnapa-auto-parts-challenge ) and learn when and how to qualify this month to race with us.
We will also have some very cool things coming up next month for first trip to Epping, New Hampshire as I will be at Fenway Park and doing some other very cool things with NAPA Auto Parts that you can join in with, stay tuned for details! In the meantime, cross your fingers that we are able to finish our race here in Atlanta this weekend.
Talk to you soon.
I am finally getting a chance to sit down and reflect a bit on the last month or so.
It has been a great start to our 2013 season with a runner up to Courtney Force (I need to mention the Force name to get more readers, lol) in Pomona, and then our NAPA Auto Parts team followed that up with a win in Phoenix the next weekend.
Our season sort of starts off a little strange with 2 back to back races, then a couple of weeks off, then Gainesville, then another couple of weekends off. Believe me, Rahn Tobler and our team spent the off season working at the shop with full intention of being able to contend for a win at each race from the time that we got to Pomona, and it is that confidence that they have that has brought me more and confidence as their driver.
While the circumstances weren't great in Gainesville ('cause we lost in opening round). It is always cool to join the ESPN guys up in the booth!
You can ask any team in the pro pits and they will all tell you that getting a good start on the season is important, even though with our "Countdown" it isn’t imperative. It is hard for us to get into a rhythm of sorts with the multiple weekends off of our Mello Yello Series, but for me it allows me to schedule a couple of other races/appearances with the March Meet race up at Famoso Raceway, and then I raced the Odgers Racing IMCA dirt modified the weekend after Gainesville up in Hanford California at Kings Speedway last Friday night and then we attended the Fontana NASCAR race again this year to cheer on my NAPA teammate Martin Truex. It is always fun to get to hang out with Michael Waltrip and his great organization.
Last year I took Caden and it was something that he is still talking about, and this year I took Taylor and it was another great time with her getting to meet drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and of course our Napa teammate Martin Truex Jr.
We have another weekend off before heading to Vegas for the 4th race of our season and I can tell you that the pace is gonna pick up fast for both you the fans and us racers with more races and less downtime.
We have some really exciting stuff coming up on and off the track starting with our NASCAR vs NHRA softball game (http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130315&content_id=42785188&sid=t487&vkey=tickets) on the Wednesday night prior to our 4-wide race in Charlotte, and our boss Don Schumacher being inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame ( http://www.motorsportshalloffame.com/ ) on the Thursday evening prior to our race in Atlanta. He is being inducted in with some great company with the likes of Rick Hendrick, Rusty Wallace and Dale Inman. It should make for a great night.
Our NAPA Auto Parts team under guidance of Rahn Tobler and John Collins have been busy taking our NAPA Filters body apart and getting our Dodge bodies ready for the trip out west to Vegas and our team prides themselves in prepared for anything, or as I like to say...they ooze NapaKnowHow.
I wanted to thank everyone that voted for me for the "Man of San Diego" contest put on by the iHeart radio station; it was amazing to see all the support from our fans! Well, I hope you all have a great Easter weekend with your friends and family, if you are lucky enough to be joining us in Vegas, don't forget to join us at DSR's Vegas home, the NYNY Hotel and Casino for the NHRA Fanfest there from 6-8 p.m.; it is always a blast.
See you next week!
Well, not sure where to start this blog as this off season seemed like it flew by and here we are getting ready for our opening race of the 2013 Mello Yello season in Pomona with the 53rd annual Winternationals.
It was a great end to our 2012 season at Pomona with the championship being decided by a mere 2 points and our NAPA Auto Parts team finishing runner up. While it was heartbreaking to lose it by such a close margin, we had a great season and to set the Pomona track record on our last qualifying run at the finals last year showed the tenacity that the NAPA team has. I have to tell you, after the way to I was able to click with our team, and especially our team leader Rahn Tobler and his right hand guy John Collins, it is going to be a great season for us.
When our season ended last November, my life didn't slow down much. Right after our NHRA awards banquet I flew to Hawaii for NAPA for our annual trip doing numerous appearances on different islands before ending up at the Maui Dragstrip for their big season ending race there, and every year it seems to get bigger and bigger. Not sure how many of you have been lucky enough to make a trip to Hawaii, but I can tell you that they love their NHRA drag racing over there, much more than any other motorsports for sure, so it is always a trip to the that we look forward to making.
This was the set of the 2013 commercial; it is supposed to be the "Ultimate NAPA racing shop" with NHRA and NASCAR cars and teams working in it.
We got back and had a few days at home and then headed down to New Orleans for the departure of the 7th annual "Cruisin with Capps" fan cruise and not sure how, but organizer Mary Mathis from Sun Travel seems to make every one of these cruises better than the last and trust me, that is a huge statement and can't wait for the 8th annual this next off season!
We spent our Christmas in Vegas at my brother Jon's house with all of our family and some friends and then brought in the New Year at home with friends and family, which was nice and low key.
With all of the travel during the season, I really have relished in spending as much time at home as possible and with Taylor and Caden growing so fast, time seems to squeeze through my fingers at a pace that can't keep up with.
With the offseason and representing a great sponsor like NAPA Auto Parts, photo shoots for all of the cool stuff you see in NAPA stores all over the world keep us very busy as well in the off season, and another thing you always hear me talking about with excitement is the yearly NAPA TV commercials. This year was no exception as this year’s commercial will involve myself with my teammate Martin Truex and Michael Waltrip and they will air both during the NASCAR races as well as our NHRA races on ESPN2, and just a hint ... keep an eye out for a very special surprise at the end of the commercials!
The time had finally come to get back in car for our pre-season testing in Florida and it was so nice to see all the guys and to look out front and see Rahn Tobler and John Collins in front of the racecar. We had a great test session. We brought a brand new DSR in house built car and made some great runs. The week was considered a private test and then Friday was open to the public and the fans came spilling into PBIR that day and they were rewarded with awesome side by side runs.
I was thrown a surprise right after our test by our friend Mike at the 49er station KNBR to not only go to the Super Bowl, but to actually work on the sidelines like I did after our Vegas win last year in Phoenix. I grabbed my friend and longtime 49er fan Tommy DeLago and we flew into New Orleans on that Sunday morning and we spent the game on the sidelines working with the parabolic microphone dishes to pick up the sound for the KNBR radio broadcast and while our team lost a close game, it was an experience I will never forget.
I am getting some stuff done around the house, no ...don't have any stories like my teammate Jack Beckman with forklift repair, filter replacement, concrete breaking, or ditch digging ... but Caden and I did get to do some work on my whipple-charged Roy Brizio street rod with our new Carlyle tools that showed up. They are a sponsor that will be a bigger part of our race team in a lot of ways and after we won the Vegas race with our Carlyle Tools paint scheme, they will be welcomed back.
For now though, I am headed up the street for some golf lessons for the kids. I figure if I can get them on the golf course, it is that much more time to spend with them. See you guys in Pomona!
This is what we all dream about... we are going to Pomona, our last race of the season just 4 points behind my teammate and about 4 rounds ahead of Mike Neff with 8 runs to make. I mention those 4 points because our NAPA Auto Parts team will be trying to make up those 4 points in qualifying to see if maybe we can go into Sunday with less of a margin, perhaps maybe even leading when eliminations start.
Since I wrote my last blog, I was just getting ready to head up to Famoso Raceway for the big Hot Rod Reunion nostalgia race, and while this year I wasn’t driving Del Worsham’s Funny Car, I got to surprise Del by backing him from his burnout. It always looks easier when someone else is doing it, believe me.
Caden and I went to Vegas a day early for the race and had some "guy" time... here we are in front of our home in Vegas, the New York New York Hotel and Casino
I had to do quite a bit of media prior to the Vegas race, so I grabbed son Caden, who was out of school that week and we drove over to Vegas a day early, just the two of us. We got to New York New York Hotel and Casino, and since it was just him and I, we cruised around and got some pictures taken together then we hit the Houdini magic shop that they have there and he got to learn all kinds of cool tricks.
The race weekend was filled with all kinds of sponsor functions with NAPA. It was for sure the most NAPA employees, customers and NAPA Auto Care store owners that we have had at a race at one time.
While we didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to, and we actually lost a little more ground when qualifying was done, we knew that we could really climb back into the hunt with a win. That is exactly what Rahn Tobler, John Collins and our ever impressive NAPA team did on Sunday. After the 2nd round on Sunday, I had a pretty good feeling that we had our car back thanks to Tobler and all the hard work by our team.
Winning is always great, but to do it when the pressure was on, for us to step up and put some pressure on the other teams we are going to battle with for a championship was a great feeling at the end of the day.
We woke up Monday morning (although a little slow) and I flew to Phoenix and was a guest of the San Francisco 49ers football team for their Monday Night Football game. I took my good friend and huge 49er fan Tommy DeLago (Hagan’s crew chief) and it was a night to remember as Tommy and I were on the sidelines holding the parabolic microphones. I can’t thank the radio show producer Mike and the KNBR radio station enough... a dream come true!
I then flew back to Vegas to spend some time at the SEMA show. We had a huge crowd on opening day at the Advertising Edge booth, they make our DSR uniforms and are a great partner for our organization.
I left Vegas for a day at home and then flew out to Hershey, Pa., for the annual marketing conference that NAPA puts on. This year it was a huge group once again and I was proud to join them that night.
I flew back home in time to go to a special invite party at our friend Scott Jacobs’ house in Rancho Santa Fe. If you will remember, I tweeted and posted on our fan Facebook earlier this season about watching Scott on the opening episode of the hit TV show "The Secret Millionaire" as he and his daughter were on that show.
He is an extremely talented artist. You can see for yourself if you check out his website (http://scottjacobsstudio.com/). He had Gary Puckett from the band Gary Puckett and the Union Gap singing at this awesome party and while they were a little ahead of my time, it reminded how many hits he had. Holy smokes... when he sang "Young Girl" everyone seemed to know the words, and he was a great guy on top of that.
I had to rush home from there because Dave Despain was sending a crew to my house to be on the SPEED channel show "Wind Tunnel" that is on Sunday evenings to talk about the Pomona race. It is always an honor to represent our sport on such a great show.
Well... this week is one of the biggest weeks of our racing lives as we have a shot at making history with our NAPA racing team, and I look forward to guiding Rahn Tobler’s missile down the track the best I can. My confidence in our team helps give me that confidence, so I can’t wait!
I also want to give you all a heads up… if you’re in Hawaii the week after our season, once again I am flying to Hawaii for several NAPA appearances, and it kicks off with an indoor karting event at Podium Raceway in Oahu (http://podiumraceway.com/) as soon as I land there on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
You can go there from now until that night and try your best to qualify to be able to race me, then after a few appearances on other islands (check my Twitter @NapaRonCapps for updates on where I will be), I will then be at Maui Raceway Park (http://www.mrp.org/) on Saturday, Nov. 17, for the season finals race presented by NAPA and United Auto Parts.
I know, I know... I have such a rough job, right? Having to go to Hawaii for work... I have to tell you, representing NAPA, whether it is on the track or any of the numerous appearances we do, it is always a good time.
I have to run, loading my bus up to make the short drive up to Pomona for all the pre-race media we have for this final race of the season. Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully my next blog will include winner’s circle pictures!