Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 7, Page

  On the “American Dragster” TV show you allude to the fact that racing other types of cars may not be in your contract with Mr. Schumacher. Does yourcontract have any type of clause that says, Thou shalt not…?

CAPPS: It's funny because I was sitting with John Honeycutt, the head of Brut, watching the “American Dragster” while we were in Bristol. He was sitting in there watching theshow with me. That was the first time we had seen that episode. I was saying, “It's not

in my contracT” and kind of joking around. He said, "It's going to be."  When Don Schumacher hired me, the first meeting we had with me and the Brut people, Don told them right off the bat that I like to go do other racing like IROC, midgets on dirt races or whatever and he told them, it's great coverage for you as a sponsor, but obviously things can happen, he can get hurt very easily. But, he told them, he had no problem with me going and doing it.  Which a lot of these owners wouldn't. There's a lot of money invested in what I do and what I need to do. He told them, if you have any problem at all, he won't do it and it was kind of left at that.  Every time something comes up that I'm invited to go do, I'll call Don and I'll ask him and he'll say yes. He knows.

So, you clear it with him first?

CAPPS: Yeah, I probably don't have to because he's told me time and time again that it's fine with him. He knows that I'm not going to get above myself. I keep a level head. I don’t get too far above my abilities…usually.  The Chili Bowl thing (crash) was an experience. I broke my shoulder blade and it was just a couple weeks before testing. But I call him every time and he says no problem, go ahead and go do it.  He never told me no, even the Nostalgia Funny Car, which could be a dangerous thing, he has no problem with it.  And the sponsors, they could easily say, “You know, you're in a points lead, maybe you shouldn't do it,” but they know that it would probably drive me nuts if they handcuffed me to the point where I couldn't go do those things that I love to do so they're very encouraging. It's really nice.

  How would you like to drive a midget or sprint car on nitro?

CAPPS: Nitro, no! I drove Tony Stewart's outlaw (sprint) car in Missouri last year. He let me take it out. I'd driven a 360 (cubic inch) and a 410 sprint car before that, but to get in that car, the power it had at my toes -- I had a blast. I jumped in and did pretty well. That was fun.  I could really see going and running some laps and then going and running a race. Driving an outlaw sprint car ranks right up there. You come out the corner sideways and roll into the throttle and lift the front end going down into the straightaway. It's awesome.

Any desire to race a Top Fuel car again?

CAPPS: We’ve kind of talked about it. Last year, Tony (Schumacher) ran that 337, top speed of the world (at the time) at Columbus. The following weekend at Topeka Alan Johnson wanted to test on Monday so I got into Tony's car and made a couple laps in it. I drove Top Fuel before Funny Cars so, it was cool. It'd been awhile and it's such a different ride that it was cool to get in it and do it again.  Then, this pre-season Melanie (Troxel) had to leave so I made three hits in her car at Phoenix. . .a lot of people didn't know. So the joke with Melanie's guys is they started out with such a good year when I got in there, so we'll have to do it every year.

Do You prefer the Funny Car?

CAPPS: Yeah, the dragsters, I don’t think they’re that safe after my good friend Blaine (Johnson) died. The driver compartment is too open.  In any other motorsport, the driver is covered and protected. Indy cars, Funny Cars, NASCAR, they all have so much protection surrounding them.  At the speeds that they're going, it ridiculous that the driver compartment in a Top Fuel car is the way it is. They need to have more tubing around them. They need to be completely covered around the back.  I looked at Cory Mac’s Top Fuel car that crashed recently. I went over and looked at it about midnight that night and just looking at it with only a few bars back there, it's a scary deal.

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