CONCORD, NC – April 21, 2011 –
INTERESTING INVADER: The standouts of the DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series will battle a driver nationally known for his straight-line racing prowess when the Golden State-based tour resumes action this Saturday night (April 23) at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif.
NHRA Full Throttle Racing Series Funny Car star Ron Capps will visit the three-eighths-mile central California oval on Saturday, taking advantage of a weekend off from his duties behind the wheel of his 300 mph-plus NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Challenger to climb in a dirt Late Model. The 45-year-old resident of Carlsbad, Calif., will drive a Micheli Motorsports car in his second career start on the DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series.
An NHRA Funny Car veteran who owns 30 career wins and ranks ninth in the division’s current points standings, Capps has dabbled in dirt-track racing for the past eight years. Since 2005 his competition on clay has included 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.
“I’m really excited about this coming Saturday,” Capps said in a Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway press release. “This gives me a chance to get near some NAPA race fans that don’t get a chance to see one of our drag races. It will also give me some very valuable seat time on dirt in preparation for Tony Stewart’s annual ‘Prelude to a Dream’ on June 8.
“That famous race at the equally famous Eldora Speedway might be for charity, but I really want to do well and make all of the folks at NAPA proud as I run against some great drivers from NASCAR and other racing series.”
Capps brings additional star power to a 30-lap Western All-Stars event (paying $2,000 to win and $400 to start) that will feature former tour champions Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, who has won three of the six WAS A-Mains run since 2007 at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway (including both in ’09), and Chris Shannon of Merced, Calif., as well as Matt and Ken Micheli of Live Oak, Calif., Richard Papenhausen of Chico, Calif., and Clay Daly of Watsonville, Calif. The Western All-Stars Series is just one week removed from ending a year’s hiatus with its 2011 season opener at Antioch (Calif.) Speedway, where Jeff Decker of Morgan Hill, Calif., emerged victorious in the 30-lap feature.
An outgoing personality known for his easy interaction with fans, Capps has said he will make himself available for autographs during Saturday’s racing program. He always relishes the opportunity to participate in a dirt-track race in his homestate.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to develop a friendship with Ron Capps the last few years and he never fails to call me and ask when he can race a dirt Late Model again,” said Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway general manager Scott Woodhouse. “He’s such a great guy. He just wants to come out, meet the fans, put on a show for them – and tune up a little bit for the Prelude at Eldora.”
Capps, whose top finish in the Prelude to the Dream is a fourth in 2006, placed 14th in his lone previous DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series start, in May 2009 at Santa Maria (Calif.) Speedway. He fared better in a visit last year to Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway, finishing seventh in a spring dirt Late Model feature.
HE CAN’T WAIT: No one is more anxious for Saturday’s DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series event at Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway than Woodhouse.
Woodhouse, of course, served as the director of the Western All-Stars tour in 2008 and 2009, making him very familiar with the teams competing on the series.
“This is one of those races I look forward to all season,” said Woodhouse, who left his duties with the Western All-Stars to promote the weekly programs at Kings Speedway. “I get a chance to see all the guys who used to go up-and-down the road with me to Western All-Stars shows and showed me a lot of respect for two years. There’s a great bunch of racers who run the series and I definitely miss seeing them like I did for a couple years.
“My two years with the Western All-Stars were two of the best years I’ve had in racing,” he continued. “I feel that running the series got me the management experience I needed to get me where I am today.”
Woodhouse is hard at work pushing Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway into a successful new era.
“We’ve really cleaned up the place and have been trying new things to bring the crowds back, like bringing in big events to get everybody talking about the track again,” said Woodhouse. “So far it’s been going really good. Our average crowd last year was larger than the track had had for six or seven years.”
Woodhouse said the speedway’s gates will open at 5 p.m. on Saturday (April 23), with racing getting the green flag at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for seniors 55-and-older, children 6-12 and military personal with I.D. and $15 for all others (except children under six who are admitted free of charge).
For more information on Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway, log on to www.kingsspeedway.net.
THROW THE GREEN FLAG: An ambitious 2011 campaign of DIRTcar-sanctioned competition in the Northwest is scheduled to kick off this Saturday night (April 23) at Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway, which hosts the region’s first DIRTcar West UMP Modified event of the season. Cottage Grove general manager Brian Crockett will attempt to start his track’s ’11 schedule after three straight rainouts.
DIRTcar Late Model racing was also slated to begin this Saturday evening at Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford, but officials there announced on Wednesday that the track’s season opener would be postponed due to extremely wet and muddy grounds.
With the weather-related cancelation at Southern Oregon, the Northwest’s first DIRTcar Late Model event of 2011 is now scheduled for Sat., April 30, at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore.
Of course, both Late Model and UMP Modified teams on the West Coast will be chasing two separate points funds under DIRTcar’s UMP points program. Each division has a Northwest States points fund offering $5,860 in cash for 15 spots ($2,000 to win), and the national points funds boast champion’s prizes of $20,000 from $65,000-plus payoffs covering 50 drivers.
The UMP points standings are figured using Late Model drivers’ best 35 races/points nights and Modified racers’ best 25 races/points nights.
The DIRTcar Northwest States points race for Late Models comprises all DIRTcar-sanctioned events run in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, including DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series races and DIRTcar Northwest I-5 Late Model Tour shows. The Northwest States standings for the DIRTcar West UMP Modifieds, meanwhile, encompasses all sanctioned races in California, Oregon and Washington – weekly events at California’s Antioch Speedway, Chowchilla Speedway, Merced Speedway and Oregon’s Cottage Grove and Coos Bay speedways, plus specials at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., and Reno-Fernley Speedway in Reno, Nev.
Antioch (April 23) joins Cottage Grove in hosting DIRTcar West UMP Modified events this weekend.
“Hopefully the weather stays dry this weekend so Cottage Grove Speedway can go racing and get a very big season of DIRTcar racing in the Northwest underway,” said Chris Morgan, Director of Western Operations for World Racing Group/DIRTcar. “We’re very excited that we’ve been able to bring more tracks across the region together under the DIRTcar banner so the Late Model and UMP Modified racers will have a greater opportunity to earn widespread recognition and points-fund cash.”
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing is available at www.DIRTcar.com.