BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 5, 2012) – Ron Capps is more eager than ever to arrive at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday for NASCAR star Tony Stewart's Prelude to the Dream all-star charity race.
June 6 has been a red-letter day for Capps since the date was announced for the Late Models stock-car race on dirt at Stewart's track in Rossburg, Ohio.
Capps will be one of only four drivers to have competed in each of the eight Preludes at the legendary half-mile track.
But this will be the first time Capps competes against veteran circle-track racers as the world's quickest driver of a nitro-juiced NHRA Funny Car.
Capps earned the moniker "quickest ever" on Friday night at fabled Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., when he completed a run in 3.964 seconds in his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T tuned by crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant crew chief John Collins.
That run enabled Capps to join Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan as the only Funny Car drivers to complete a 1,000-foot run in less than 4 seconds.
"It still hasn't sunk in," Capps said. "What a feeling.
"It's been cool how many racers from other series who have texted to congratulate us on the 3.96. Jimmie Johnson was one of them so when I get to Eldora I'll definitely have something to talk about."
Capps, 45, also could brag about reaching his fifth consecutive championship round on Sunday in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The only Funny Cars that have beaten him since he won the title near Atlanta on May 6 have been DSR teammates: Jack Beckman beat him in the final round two weeks ago and Johnny Gray beat him on the trophy run Sunday.
While Capps certainly has fun driving his Dodge Funny Car, he and the other drivers in the Prelude to the Dream won't be racing for championship points or money.
They'll just be racing to race and, of course, bragging rights.
"The first couple years it was just for fun," said Capps, who lives in Southern California. "Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of fun but these guys are very serious. Some of them own their cars and teams now. I was lucky to drive on a dirt track last month in California but it was in a modified.
"We're all racers and racers want to win every time we strap into a car, but we're mainly going there to help Tony raise money for his charity. It's just fun to hang out with guys from other forms of racing."
Despite his limited time on dirt tracks, Capps is confident another top-10 will be within reach in his NAPA AUTO PARTS entry provided by Kennedy Motorsports.
"This is a first-class car from a first-class team, and it makes me feel pretty good that John Kennedy has enough confidence in me that he's letting me drive it."
In addition to Capps, drivers entered include: Cruz Pedregon, NHRA drag racing; NASCAR's Stewart, Johnson, Bill Elliott, Danica Patrick, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Austin and Ty Dillon, JJ Yeley, Jason Leffler, Kenny Schrader, Ryan Newman, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Dave Blaney, Ricky Carmichael, Aric Almirola, Justin Allgaier, Ray Evernham and David Gilliland; Tony Kanaan, IndyCar; and World of Outlaws stars Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz.
Each year, net proceeds from the Prelude go to a charity. This year's recipient is "Feed the Children," a U.S.-based charity that says it has helped more than 365,000 families domestically since 2009 through its Americans Feeding Americans Caravan.
More than 20,000 are expected to attend the Prelude, which includes qualifying, heat races and a 40-lap main event.
It also can be watched live, commercial-free on pay-per-view beginning at 8 p.m. (EDT) with an immediate replay following. The $24.95 order can be made with any digital cable box or satellite service. You do not need to be an HBO subscriber. For ordering information, go to PreludeToTheDream.org or HBO.com.
The HBO announcing team includes Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, Allen Bestwick, Matt Yocum, Dick Berggren and Steve Letarte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Cup series.
(Updated through Englishtown, N.J.; 9th of 23 events)
(Following eight of 23 events)