CARLSBAD, Calif. (March 18, 2009) -Ron Capps, who regularly races the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Funny Car in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for Don Schumacher Racing, will compete against football coaches and players, TV/radio personalities and other race-car drivers in celebrity heat races as part of Scotts Saturday Night Special, March 21, at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Paired with celebrity partners, Capps and legendary racers such as Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, Cale Yarborough, Jack Ingram, David Green, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, L.D. Ottinger, Phil Parsons, David Pearson, Jimmy Spencer and Rusty Wallace, will run 35 circuits of a 50-lap event to benefit their favorite charities.
Capps, the NHRA Funny Car points leader after winning the first two of three season events in 2009, has named the Susan G. Komen Foundation as his charity on behalf of NAPA AUTO PARTS.
The Saturday Night Special will take place after the completion of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series race and the 100-lap UARA late model event. The NASCAR Food City 500 is scheduled for Sunday, March 22.
The celebrities will run 15-lap or 10-minute heats to help determine the starting spots of their pro driver teammates, who then will run 35 laps.
NHRA racers Greg Anderson and Doug Herbert are also scheduled to participate in the event.
A $100,000 purse to be paid to the charity of choice by each driver will be up for grabs. Competing in late model stock cars, $25,000 will be donated to the charity of choice of the winning team. The second-place team will have $10,000 given to the charity of its choice and $5,000 will go to the designated charity of the other entrants.
"Of course, everybody knows how big a deal this NASCAR weekend in Bristol is, first of all," said Capps. "It's such an amazing facility and every event they've had there in past years has been a sell-out.
"To be invited to actually race on the same track as the NASCAR guys race on is going to be pretty awesome,” added Capps, who usually races down a 1000-ft. drag strip at over 300 mph, but often competes on short-track ovals at special events. “You look up and see 130,000 people in the stands watching you and that tells you why it's such an important event.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. To be able to race against such racing icons as Harry Gant - who was one of my teammates in the past when we were both backed by the same sponsor - David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Jimmy Spencer, Rusty Wallace, and have a chance to go around that famous half-mile will be a great experience.
"The kicker of this type of event is that we're able to have fun, enjoy some exciting wheel-to-wheel competition and at the same time be able to benefit our charities. It's an honor to be able to contribute to the Susan G. Komen Foundation."
Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, who also will serve as grand marshal of the Food City 500, will climb behind the wheel of a race car for the first time as will Terry Bowden. Bowden returns to the college coaching ranks this year after 10 years in the broadcast booth, taking over the Division II powerhouse University of North Alabama.
Coaches are not the only ones suiting up. David Akers, Pro-Bowl kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles will participate. Also racing for charity will be local hero Mike Compton, current head football coach at Patrick Henry High School (Glade Spring, Va.) and two-time Super Bowl winner with the Patriots of New England.
Rounding out the first heat will be: Bill Jordan, owner/founder of Realtree Camouflage and host of two of his own television shows: Bill Jordan’s Realtree Outdoors and ESPN’s “Driven to Hunt” and TV/radio personality Riki Rachtman of MTV’s “Charm School” and “Daisy of Love.”
Taking the wheel in the second heat will be a field of more experienced drivers.
Former car owners and two of racing’s top crew chiefs of all time, Andy Petree and Ray Evernham, now ESPN race analysts as well as Brad Daugherty; a former number-one pick in the NBA draft and retired all-star player with the Cleveland Cavaliers will be part of the festivities.