We had two weekends off and now we're heading to the Mopar Mile-High
Nationals in Denver this weekend, where the altitude takes its toll on all
of us competing in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, especially the crews and the drivers.
Anybody who has been to Bandimere Speedway, which is a beautiful track
situated on the side of a mountain just outside of Denver in Morrison,
Colo., knows that when you walk up the stairs to the pit area from the
parking lot -- and, actually I'm in pretty good shape, but it still gets to
me -- your body gets extremely winded. And that just tells you what these 7000-hp (usually) engines are feeling when you get up on the mountain.
The crews work extra hard just to make the same horsepower. We don't have the same amount of downforce, so the car is a little bit harder to keep planted on the ground.
Mopar is the sponsor of this race and also supports our Brut Dodge Funny Car, so they keep us plenty busy before the race and during the race weekend. I'm doing a lot of fun things this week for Mopar, along with the appearances that Brut has scheduled for us.
It's a race that you definitely want to do well at, because you always want to show off at your sponsor's race.
After we won in St. Louis, we had the two weekends off and it was great for my crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch to have that extra time to recuperate from
his surgery. He'll be in Denver this weekend. And the crew guys really
needed the time off over the Fourth of July. They work so hard, they travel a lot and for them to go home and be able to re-charge their batteries, and just get motivated again to get back out and hit the road, was really important.
And now that we're in the points chase with John Force and we moved right up
on his heels (we're fourth but just 81 points behind him), these next three
races of the "Western Swing" (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.) are very
important. They're all important, for sure, but Denver is always a very
pivotal race and it's a race John Force has always done well at. So we just need to concentrate on having a good race here, and then on to Seattle and Sonoma.
I've won in Seattle and Sonoma, but although I've done well in Denver, I've not won there. It would be a nice one at which to earn another trophy for the trophy case.
After St. Louis the family and I went up to Lake San Antonio outside of Paso Robles, just north of San Luis Obispo, Calif., where I grew up, and spent a week having fun and playing on Ski-Doos, boats and water skiing. And we're now in our Monaco motor home for the "Western Swing" with the kids out of
school, so it's kind of a family trip for us. Growing up in California I
never got to go to any races back east. So to be able to take the kids on
this trip and see the countryside of places like Utah, Arizona and Colorado is a lot of fun for all of us.
You often get caught up in week-to-week racing that you tend to forget what
goes on around you, and that there is a life outside of drag racing, so it's
kind of cool for a lot of teams to be able to do that.
Winning St. Louis was not only huge for all the guys, but also for Brut, which
came back in the sport and is doing a lot to help elevate NHRA
drag racing. It was really nice to see the smile on Marc Broccoli's face,
who has kind of been the guy who has spearheaded the campaign to bring Brut back into drag racing, and it was huge to have him in the winner's circle.
He almost went home with his wife on Sunday morning, but he decided to stay and I'm glad he did.
The winner's circle was a little out of the ordinary in St. Louis. You're
usually used to getting doused with POWERade or champagne, but the crew guys
got the wild idea to douse me with the big champagne-sized bottle of Brut
that they use to spray the product on the headers before we go down the
track so the fans can smell the fragrance of Brut. Needless to say, you
could smell me coming. The press room was permeated with the fragrance. There was no doubt in anyone's mind who sponsored the winning Funny Car, that's for sure.
Ron Capps drives a Funny Car in the NHRA for Don Schumacher Racing. He is providing a diary to ESPN.com throughout the 2005 season.