I am writing this from Lake San Antonio just outside Paso Robles, California. It is just north of where I grew up in San Luis Obispo.
We gather up the family every year at this time and come out here with friends and hang out on boats and SeaDoo's. It really is my favorite time of the year. The kids are growing so fast and I get to spend a little bit of down time with family and the friends I grew up with.
I will leave them all here in Paso Robles next week and fly up to the Denver race. After the Denver race is over, I try to hitch a ride on Alan Johnson’s plane back to Santa Maria (just south of here). Once I get back from Denver, we usually hit the California Mid-State Fair in Paso for a couple of concerts before piling in the RV and driving up to the Sonoma race.
The Denver race, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, is always a special event for everyone at Don Schumacher Racing. DSR has a long, storied history with Mopar and we are thrilled to be able to carry on that tradition. It’s definitely a special year for Mopar in 2012, as the brand celebrates their 75th Anniversary. The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals is a big part of that history, and we’d like to add another chapter this year with a win.
The Mopar Big Block Party is such a good time. To be able to visit with fans away from the race track in a relaxed setting is pretty cool. If it wasn’t for the fans, we wouldn’t get to race, so it’s great to be able to give back to the fans in an event like the Mopar Big Block Party.
The Napa team went right to our shop after Norwalk and our awesome chassis department with Norm leading the way are currently putting a new chassis together that we will run through the Indy race before bring out another new DSR in house built chassis at that time that we hope to run through the end of our season.
Man, it is 110 degrees at noon here already and I hate to cut this short, but I need to go jump in the lake. Haha, that sounded funny.no?
Anyway, I will talk to you all soon!
This picture says it all
(Above) Riley bowling with us. (Below) Riley in the hospital as a "premie"...that is her Dad's wedding ring believe it or not...wow.
It's funny, because I looked back at my last blog on NHRA 's site was probably the only place you will see something with Justin Beiber in the same breath as the band Seether. Well, once again it has been an incredible and very busy last couple of weeks both on and off the track and I can't help but start with the on the track stuff first.
Backing up a little bit, we all enjoyed our Memorial Day weekend with family and friends and then I was able to do my one day shoot on the new Snake & Mongoose movie that is filming right now. Let me just tell you how cool this movie is going to be!
Anyway, back in Kansas I had a talk with Rahn Tobler and John Collins after we lost the final round in Topeka and they talked about going to our next race in Englishtown and the chance that we could see great conditions on our Friday night qualifying sessions and how he wanted to try some things that he had in the back of his mind if the conditions were there.
Well, as most of you know, the conditions were just that ...awesome. I strapped into the NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car with about four pairs of cars in front of us and already at that point, the cars were throwing mid 4.0 runs like they were going out of style and I knew when we finally rolled up to the line as the last pair of funny cars, that Tobler was looking for a big run.
When I was about half track I was pretty sure it was on a career best run for me and the NAPA team, but I had no idea that a 3.96 second run at over 320 mph was going to come up on the scoreboard. The quickest run in history for a Funny Car and the second run ever under four seconds (my teammate Hagan being the first) and it couldn’t have happened at a more historic track and with our thoughts still with Scott Kalitta, it was only appropriate that it happened that weekend .
Our NAPA Auto Parts team had a great time celebrating that night when we got back to our hotel and then it was business as usual for us as we concentrated on winning the race. We made some great runs on Sunday and Tobler and the NAPA team put us into our fifth straight final round, but we came up a little short and lost to our teammate Johnny Gray and the Service Central team in the final who ran a great 4.07.
I then hopped on a plane and headed straight back to Indy on Monday for a couple of reasons. We had the Riley Childrens Hospital bowling event that DSR and NAPA puts on in Indy every year and it was even more special this year as I got to spend some time with a girl named Riley that was a "premi" baby that was born something like 15 weeks early and here she was bowling next to us on this great night.
We had some really great drivers join us, DSR drivers as well as all the local drivers that live in Indy and we raised a lot of dollars for a very special cause that is close to Don Schumacher's heart.
Getting ready to leave Eagle Creek airport for Eldora with Capt. Rob
The next night was our annual Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt at Tony Stewart's Eldora track in Ohio and we had another great time as we had our usual group of people that went with me. This year captain Rob brought a jet for the flight over there and on top of that ,when we landed Tony Stewart arranged for me to hop into a waiting helicopter for a really cool and quick ride into the track. Leave it to "Smoke" to make it first class!
I just ran up Tuesday night to the 2012 Ink n Iron show in Long Beach to see my friends in the band Pennywise play their last U.S. show before heading over to Europe. I had a blast basically sitting right on the stage during their show and saw a bunch of NHRA fans as well.
As you know from following my Twitter or on this NHRA.com blog, we shot our annual commercials in Hawaii last year during my NAPA Auto Parts tour and the commercials we shot just started airing. You can check them out on our YouTube page here ( http://youtu.be/NaDX-uZfgQQ ), they are entertaining to say the least. There are two NAPA Auto Parts commercials and another one we shot for the local Dodge dealer on the big island as well. Hope you enjoy it.
Prior to the Atlanta race I got to go to hang out with guys from Seether during their show on the Seether/BUSH/Nickelback tour
I told that if you blinked your eyes after our 4Wide race in Charlotte that things were going to look different in the NHRA points standings. The last blog I wrote on here, we were headed to Houston after our NAPA Auto Parts team had a great race at zMAX Dragway with a trip to the final round and we were very pumped up about being able to continue that momentum to our next event and that is exactly what Rahn Tobler, John Collins and our NAPA team did in Houston. We made all 4 runs in qualifying under power and all four runs on Sunday with either low elapsed time of the round or right with anyone's runs on Sunday and we carried that all the way to our second final round in a row before losing to Mike Neff in the final round.
We had a quick turnaround that week before we had to get on the road and get to our next race in Atlanta, well we always say Atlanta when the track is pretty far out of Atlanta, in Commerce, Ga. Since NAPA Auto Parts headquarters is located IN Atlanta, we had plenty of stuff cooking that week. I had to fly in a day early for an event on Thursday and I got a call from my friends on the Seether and Nickelback tour and they were playing in downtown Atlanta on that Wednesday night, so I landed and checked into my hotel and wandered over to the concert all by my lonesome and my friends in Seether had just got the stage when I walked in and they were great as always.
They finished their set and as Bush came on stage they grabbed me and we went backstage for some hydrating and liquid lubricating if you know what I mean. We got carried away with the time and went back out next to the stage to watch Nickelback finish their set and we hung out after the show. Let’s just say that I left the tour busses in the wee morning. I woke up a few hours later in my hotel room, hopped in the shower and tried to wake up for one of the most fun days I have had in a while. I was asked to throw out the first pitch at the Atlanta Braves noon home game on the Thursday prior to our race that weekend.
The whole NAPA team was invited up to the NAPA suite and I think there were so many NHRA racers and fans in the stadium and it was making me even more nervous about my pitch. We had a great time that afternoon and I had to leave in the 8th inning to head out to Lake Lanier for another NAPA get together with about 200 of their best customers that night.
Atlanta is a track that we have always done well at, but it is also a track that has alluded us from a win and this year that all changed. The whole weekend just had one of the "feels" to it, ya know? Our crew brought a cardboard stand up of the "World’s most interesting man" and he watched the day go by, round by round. Being that it was a very hot and tricky racetrack, Tobler and the guys kept us with lane choice all day on Sunday and I finally got a win in Atlanta! What a great weekend it was, especially with NAPA being headquartered there an all. We shared the winners circle with Mike Rearden from NAPA, along with his wife Jan, and we gave the trophy to Mike since it was the first time he was at one of our races during a win.
They took us (and the trophy) to a great dinner that night at a great little Italian restaurant and we celebrated the win together before I took the trophy to NAPA’s HQ the next morning and had lunch with all of the NAPA execs in town. It was a very proud moment for me to represent DSR and take that "Wally" down there and share it with them. Trust me, it is hard enough to win, let alone win in your sponsors backyard.
We had a weekend off of racing before having to go to Topeka, Kansas for our next NHRA event, but I had a pretty full schedule and much more miles to cover in the air before I saw the weekend. I left Atlanta and flew up to Canada to London,Ontario and we then drove to Stratford, Ontario for a dinner and an appearance with Ideal Supply company up there. If you ever get the chance to get up there, it is one of the most beautiful cities you will ever see AND it is the hometown of Justin Bieber. Ironically while I was up there and I got to hang out with the Hyde family that are both racers, brother and sister Spencer and Sydnie ( http://www.quick32.ca/2012/05/nhras-ron-capps-visits-hyde-racing/). Knowing that my daughter is 15, and Sydnie being close enough to the Bieber family, she surprised me with a CD signed by Justin... pretty cool (for Taylor that is).
I went to Canada for NAPA, met some great people and was rewarded with a CD signed by hometown boy Bieber (I swear it is for my daughter....)
With my passport back out, I flew out early the next morning to Marion, Ind., for a grand opening of a new NAPA store. It was a noon– 2 p.m. appearance on a Thursday with them advertising me being there, you sometimes wonder how many people are going to be at an event like this, but man was I shocked when we rolled up to the new store and saw all of the fans that were lined up waiting. It really reminds you how lucky we are to have such great fans! I flew back home that night and was able to spend a much need weekend at home. I got to help out in Caden’s class then on Saturday night we all gathered around the TV and watched the Darlington NASCAR race hoping to watch my teammate Martin Truex Jr. get his first win in a NAPA uniform. they are doing great and a win is coming soon.
That Sunday night I was asked to be on Dave Despain's "Wind Tunnel" show on SPEED channel (http://www.speedtv.com//video/wind-tunnel/interviews/wind-tunnel-ron-capps-may-14th-1639420431001/1#_). They sent the big satellite truck again to the house and once again it was it was very cool to represent the NHRA on such a big motorsports show.
Last weekend was our race in Topeka, Kansas and NAPA allowed us to run the NAPA Brakes body that we won in Atlanta for one more race. Rahn Tobler and the guys came in Topeka with a great plan and while we have been No. 2 qualifier for the last few races, we ran a great 4.07 that put us 4th in qualifying and Sunday morning brought us another warm day on race day. Tobler once again kept us in the lane of his choice all day with some stunning runs that were very impressive considering most of the other cars were having a tough time even getting down the track and Rahn sent me down with a staggering 4.12 in the semifinals, so we felt very good going into the final against our DSR teammate Beckman and the Valvoline NextGen team.
Jack's engine came to life as I was waiting for the tree to come down and away we went...I was sure he red lit, but I looked up at the scoreboard about halftrack and didn’t see my win light on and I could see his fender out my side window all the way down the track. Jack had a .004 light and that got their team a much needed win, and those team guys were my crew guys for the last 4 years, so we were happy for them.
It is a tough way to lose, but I did the same thing to Gary Densham in the final round in Phoenix one year. My foot said time to go and luckily for me the tree came on and we got the win. Don Schumacher was at home recuperating from foot surgery, so for him to have his two Funny Cars in the final I am sure it made him proud. The bright side is that our NAPA team moved solidly into second place in the Full Throttle standings and Jack's team moved up a few positions as well.
We have Memorial weekend off to catch our breath and relax a bit before things get busy again. We race Englishtown next weekend and then I am going straight to Indy for our annual DSR/NAPA bowling event in Indy on Tuesday, June 5 (http://www.shoeracing.com/news/nhra-pro-racers-to-hit-a-different-lane-june-5-join-bowlers-to-raise-money-for-riley-kids) that will have all the DSR drivers as well as a bunch of other NHRA drivers there that night.
Then the next night is the Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt race at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, June 6th. It is on PPV, only about $25 for the PPV and it is once again going to be great cause as host Tony Stewart picked "Feed the Children" as the charity this year. You can go to the web site (http://www.preludetothedream.org/) to check out all the NASCAR, IndyCar and other motorsports drivers that Cruz Pedregon and I will compete against. If you haven’t seen the race before, tune into the PPV and check it out.
Don’t forget that you can always keep up with me on a daily basis through my Twitter posts as well (@NapaRonCapps). Have a great weekend and talk to you soon! RC
We are gearing up for our race in Houston, Texas, this weekend and while this time of the season it seems like the racing is sort of sporadic, we also know that when May rolls around that the racing schedule gets a little busier and those gaps in the calendar get less and less.
Our racing schedule is just part of the equation when they start filling up my yearly calendar because I keep very busy running around the country getting to do sponsor appearances for NAPA Auto Parts, and while I always brag about having the best racing sponsor on the planet, making them proud ON the track is still the biggest priority I have, as well as everyone at DSR.
I spend a lot of time traveling around and celebrating store openings, get-togethers with NAPA customers and NAPA Auto Care Center people and dinners and a bunch of other things, but I also get asked to do some pretty cool things as well.
One of those things is coming up next week (Thursday, May 3) before our race in Atlanta where I was asked to throw out the first pitch at the Atlanta Braves home game against the Phillies, if you're in town for the race in Commerce, Ga., make sure you come out and join us!
The Fanfest at New York, New York was a reminder of how cool our NHRA fans are, what a crowd!
I have talked about how cool it is sometimes to look around at the track or at a photo or video shoot and see the talent that Don has put together at DSR. Most of you only get to see the drivers or crew chiefs on TV, but the talent in the pit areas and at our DSR shop in Brownsburg still amazes me. I want to back up to our Vegas race for a minute as we were kept pretty busy with off-track stuff before and during the race with the fan fest we did at New York, New York hotel (DSR's home away from home in Vegas) and the amount of NHRA fans that showed up were staggering, so once again, THANK YOU for supporting us like you do!
Well, after the change was made to have Rahn Tobler tune the NAPA Dodge, I was more pumped up heading to Charlotte than I have been in a long time and we had a great start together on the NAPA Auto Parts team with #1 qualifier thru Friday qualifying and we ended up #3 when qualifying was over.
Race day on Sunday we had some special guests as Michael Waltrip Racing’s Traci Hultzapple and our DSR team arranged for our NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR teammate Martin Truex Jr. and the whole MWR NAPA Auto Parts team to come out and hang with our NHRA team.
If you have been following my blogs you know that I was a guest at the NASCAR race in Fontana and had such a great time that. It was so cool to be able to show their team what we do and they had such a great time! Here is a link to some video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA9yiabBelI&list=UUdOcTGW4GLpGV4M0Bl66LxQ&index=1&feature=plcp).
On top of all of that going on, Rahn tuned our car to a final-round finish and I really felt that we had the best race car all weekend. I can’t wait to get to Houston this weekend!
I spent some time in Hanford, Calif., over the weekend to race a dirt car to get a little bit of seat time for the “Prelude to the Dream” PPV dirt race on Wednesday June 6 (http://www.preludetothedream.org/about/).
They had "Ron Capps night," and I had a great time as we started 18th in the main event and the car owner, Mark Odgers, hit the setup perfect as I had moved all the way up to 4th place before someone used me as the cushion and slip into our left side and broke the left front a-arm. I got to see a bunch of friends in the dirt racing world and got a little more seat time that will hopefully help in June at the Prelude race.
Saying that there was a lot going in Charlotte is an understatement with my new team, new car, new tuner, and having to adapt to the way Rahn likes his driver to do things, so I am very, very excited to be going back to two-wide racing with our team this weekend and we are looking to start working our way back up in the points standings!
Talk to you soon- RC