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Catching up with Capps: NAPA Funny Car Driver Races Down Under

NAPA Funny Car Driver Ron Capps in Australia 2013

Ron Capps is the NAPA Funny Car driver in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. For our “Catching up with Capps” column, Ron sends us occasional updates on his life as a professional racing driver from his own unique perspective.

You know, I thought time flew by at a fast pace during our NHRA season. But it is really flying by in the off season as well. The last few weeks always seem to go by so fast, with all the pressure of the “Countdown to the Championship.” And on top of that, we have those races crammed together at the end of the season, which makes it all seem to move by in a blur.

Well, this year was even quicker, with all the excitement with our NAPA Auto Parts team in a fight for a championship once again. If you follow my Twitter (@RonCapps28), Facebook and Instagram, you know I stay plenty busy spreading NAPA Know How all over.

NAPA Funny Car Driver Ron Capps USA vs Australia Sydney Dragway 2013-001
Shelley, Taylor and I in front of one of the many billboards around Sydney advertising the Australia and New Zealand vs USA drag racing event.

We had our usual trip to Hawaii planned right after the season finale in Pomona for some NAPA appearances on a couple different islands. But this year we also had a trip “down under” put together by legendary Drag Racer Graeme Cowin in Sydney, Australia. It was a big event with several appearances, followed up by a great event at the Sydney Drag Strip, a world class race track.

It was a smashing success as I was the lone American representative in the USA vs Australia/New Zealand competition. We made some great side-by-side, 5.80 second runs at 240 mph and put on a great show for the fans at the Sydney Drag Strip. The nitro drag racing in Australia is very different nowadays. There really isn’t any Nitro Funny Car racing, and for the Top Fuel division,  there is only a handful of Top Fuel dragsters that consistently run with the performance of our NHRA teams here in the States. As we found out in the NHRA, if you don’t have good side-by-side racing, the fans are going to lose interest.

Capps 3-seat dragster Australia Graham Elliott
Shelley and Taylor got to ride in this very cool 3 seat dragster.

I was blown away by the amount of NHRA fans in Australia that pay very close attention to our sport here, and was in shock at the amount of race fans that were lined up waiting for pictures and autographs when I arrived at the track the first day. I’ve never felt so proud to be there representing Don Schumacher, our great team owner, and all of the sponsors at DSR.

I also got to meet some new people with the auto parts company called Repco that is a partner of NAPA. From what I saw, Repco has the same great reputation for auto parts “down under” that NAPA has here in the United States.

It was a great trip, and my wife Shelley and daughter Taylor got to join me. They made their first trip down a drag strip in a very cool 3-seat dragster driven by Graham Elliott. They are still talking about it! We are already talking about expanding the event next year and we can’t wait.

NAPA Funny Car Driver Ron Capps and family in Australia - chopper ride 2013-001
Taking a helicopter ride over the Sydney harbor was an unforgettable experience.

We got back home for a few days, then I got to fly out to Indianapolis to DSR headquarters for our annual photo shoot for the new 2014 NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car. While the racecar will look close to the 2013 NAPA scheme, there are some small but very cool changes as you will see.

Now, we are headed out on the 9th annual “Cruisin with Capps” fan cruise. We are so blessed to have the fans that we have in our sport, but even more proud to have our NAPA racing fans that feel the same passion and excitement that we have ourselves.

NAPA Funny Car Driver Ron Capps and family in Australia - koala 2013-001
Can’t go to Australia and not see a koala, right?

We are also getting the house ready for all the relatives that will come for Christmas, and I am looking forward to spending New Years at home, just having a little down time with family and close friends. Before you know it we will be in West Palm Beach for our pre-season testing. I know that Don Schumacher, Rahn Tobler and our NAPA team can’t wait to get our racecar back up to the front where it belongs.

See you soon!

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