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Aug 03, 2014 - 03:19 PM
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2014 NHRA: Ron Capps NHRA Northwest Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 9
Posted by: newsla on Aug 03, 2014 - 03:12 PM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Ron Capps NHRA Northwest Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 9


A lot has changed for Ron Capps since 1995 near Seattle when he won for the first time in his NHRA career.

Pacific Raceways was Seattle International Raceway that year, and he raced in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series and not the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

 

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Ron also was 30 and married then but without kids.

Instead of driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing as one of the most popular drivers in professional drag racing, he wheeled Roger Primm's unsponsored Top Fuel dragster.

When championship eliminations begin Sunday in the Northwest NHRA Nationals with Ron seeded No. 9, vivid memories from 1995 will be with him like every time he enters the picturesque track.

"I remember getting to our hotel and then driving to the track with our crew in the 18-wheeler," he said.

"Bill Knight was a Seattle reporter who did a story on me for that week's paper, and I still don't know why he picked me. I was the unheard of longshot. That was a big deal to me."

Ron had to endure a rain delay on Sunday and Monday before racing in the semifinals and finals on Tuesday. Shelley, is wife of three years at the time, spent the weekend at the track but had to fly back to work Monday morning

"I woke up on Tuesday morning knowing as a rookie I had a shot to get to the final, but never thought about winning if I got there.

"I remember the final coming around the corner at the end of the track, and I knew my win light had come on and I won. Al Hofman won Funny Car and he was there doing an interview," he said of the late Floridian who won 15 titles in his career. "Al came over and gave me a high-five and hugged me. That was a huge deal to celebrate with a legend like Al Hofman."

Memories from those early days that led to Don Prudhomme signing him to drive a Funny Car the next year are deeply embedded and Ron says his rookie year is one that has made him appreciate his crew even more.

"I was part of a crew and one of the guys driving down the road. That helped me in my career because I realized how important crew guys are and how hard their jobs are. I had a lot of responsibility doing a little of everything on the dragster so there wasn't much time at the rope to be with fans.

"People come out as fans and see our guys working but they don't realize how much it takes for crews like our NAPA AUTO PARTS guys to get ready for race day. (Crew chief) Rahn Tobler can't make tuning decisions and I can't drive that car without trusting what our guys do.

"People have no idea."

Ron understands, and a rainy weekend in 1995 has a lot to do with that.

FUNNY CAR
No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.057 sec., 308.07 mph

RON CAPPS, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 9
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 4.201 sec., 293.09 mph, (Session 1); 4.131, 300.53, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.801, 164.85, (Session 3); 4.175, 292.20, Session (4)
SUNDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMATIONS
FIRST ROUND: CAPPS vs. Cruz Pedregon


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