Santa Maria, CA — The DIRTcar Western Allstars Late Model Series and NHRA Funny Car drag racing are two completely different motorsports disciplines, but straight-line star Ron Capps will do his best to blur the distinctions between them this weekend.
Capps, the current points leader in the powerful Funny Car division of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, plans to challenge the Western Allstars’ standouts this Saturday night (May 9) when the tour pays a visit to Santa Maria Speedway.
A resident of Carlsbad, Calif., Capps will take advantage of an open weekend on his drag-racing schedule to make his first-ever start on the DIRTcar Western Allstars Late Model Series. He will drive a dirt Late Model fielded by Zack Forster of Bakersfield, Calif., and compete as a teammate to 2007 WAS champion Mike Johnson of Lompoc, Calif.
Capps’s dirt Late Model will carry the same NAPA Auto Parts logos and colors as the 330-mph, 7,000-horsepower Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger that he campaigns on the NHRA Funny Car trail. Victory Circle Chassis in Bakersfield, Calif., provided a new body to Forster Racing so Capps’s machine could be customized with his familiar sponsor and colors for Saturday night’s program.
“We’re thrilled to have Ron Capps joining us for a night of DIRTcar Western Allstars Late Model Series action at Santa Maria Speedway,” said DIRTcar Racing Western Region Director Chris Morgan, who oversees the operation of the Western Allstars. “He’s a nationally-known Funny Car racer but he loves to go dirt-track racing whenever he can, so a Western Allstars show in his homestate gives him a perfect opportunity to fill his dirt-track desires.
“Special thanks goes out to Chris Kearns of Santa Maria Speedway as well as NAPA Auto Parts, Forster Racing and Victory Circle Chassis for helping make Ron’s appearance a reality. This type of special event adds excitement to the DIRTcar Western Allstars Late Model Series and builds more momentum for the tour.”
While the 43-year-old Capps has limited dirt-track experience, he’s made a number of starts on clay ovals in each of the last six years. His dirt debut came in 2003 behind the wheel of an open-wheel Midget in the famed indoor Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., and he returned to the Chili Bowl the following year. As for dirt Late Model racing, since 2005 Capps has competed annually in the Prelude to the Dream event – a huge early-summer charity race comprised of nationally-recognized drivers running dirt Late Models at NASCAR star Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio – and owns a top finish of fourth (2006).
Capps, who graduated from Santa Clara (Calif.) University (three-and-a-half hours north of Santa Maria Speedway) with a Bachelor of Science degree in software engineering, plans to once again enter next month’s Prelude to the Dream at Eldora. He also hopes to make additional Western Allstars appearances in 2009.
Santa Maria Speedway returns to the Western Allstars tour on Sat., May 9, after hosting the series for the first time in 2008. Mike Johnson was victorious in last year’s event.
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing is available at www.DIRTcar.com