BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 3, 2012) – Ron Capps arrived at Joliet, Ill., last weekend intent on celebrating in the winner's circle with a special guest, retired U.S. Army Sgt. Rob Dickey, and the uniquely painted NAPA Batteries/Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
But stuff can happen in the 320-mph world of NHRA Funny Car racing and wacky weather on Sunday during the NHRA Route 66 Nationals near Chicago contributed to a tire-smoking first round loss for Capps that not only ended his racing day early but also ended the team's phenomenal streak of advancing to six consecutive championship rounds with crew chief Rahn Tobler for Don Schumacher Racing.
"Every streak comes to an end, and we'll just have to start a new one at Norwalk," Capps said of his plans for this weekend's event in Ohio after losing traction in the loss to rookie Alexis DeJoria.
Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler had advanced to the championship rounds of the previous six NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events to become only the fifth team to accomplish that in Funny Car history.
Racers and their teams tend to be superstitious, but Capps was adamant about extending the use of the special Funny Car body for at least one more race to further help generate awareness for NAPA AUTO PARTS month-long "Get Back, Give Back" promotion that encourages consumers purchasing NAPA batteries, starters and alternators this month to donate all or a portion of the rebates to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that has helped Dickey and countless other soldier heroes and their families adjust to post-military life.
"I wanted so much to get Rob in the winner's circle with us," Capps said of Dickey who lost his right leg below the knee and part of his left calf after stepping on a lane mine on Sept. 6, 2010, while serving in Afghanistan.
"He's lived in San Antonio (Texas) since he was hurt but grew up near where I did in San Diego," Capps said. "He's a great guy. He won't be able to be in Norwalk this weekend but I'll never forget him or what he gave to serve our country. It's people like Rob that will make my Fourth of July this year and others down the road something even more special."
Capps' NAPA AUTO PARTS' teammate Martin Truex Jr. will carry a similar paint scheme on his No. 56 entry for Michael Waltrip Racing in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
'GET BACK, GIVE BACK'
Throughout the busy travel month of July, NAPA customers will receive up to a $25 mail-in rebate for every battery, alternator and starter they purchase, and all or a portion of those rebates can be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Additionally, NAPA will donate $1 to the Fund for each redeemed rebate and $2 for each battery installed at a participating NAPA AutoCare Center or repair center.
NAPA stores are staging a "Black Out" through Saturday. Employees have traded their customary blue and yellow shirts for black NAPA T-shirts with the IFHF's logo along with the phrase: "We Believe In Heroes."
Career at Norwalk:
Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2011); Poles 0
2011 at Norwalk:
Qualified No. 2; lost to Mike Neff in championship round.
(Unofficial; updated through July 1, Joliet; 11 of 23 events)
(Through 11 of 23 events; DSR drivers capitalized)