240 Gordie Bonin Tragically Passes
Gordie Bonin, one of the greatest drivers ever to get behind the wheel of a top fuel dragster or a nitro funny car sadly passed away shortly before the Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas. Gordie had been hospitalized earlier in the week from heat stroke like symptoms and was recently discharged when he was found unresponsive and alone in a motel room. According to the coroner Gordie died of a heart attack.
"240 Gordie" as he was widely known started racing a junior fuel dragster in Canada and then moved into his professional career driving the "Royal Canadian" fuel funny car for Canadian buisnessman Ron Hodgson and almost immediately earned a runner up finish at Indy in 1972. The following season he drove the Revell Hawaliian for legendary car owner Roland Leong on the match racing circut.
His career really took off when he returned to the Hodgson team which was rebranded with a new sponsor, Bubble Up, along with a Pacemaker Speed Shops. A new crew chief named Jerry Verhuel joined the team and together they went on a terror winning countless races including the US Nationals in 1980, the Gatornationals three times, and the World Finals in 1978. That year, Gordie finished second in the world to Don "the Snake" Prudhomme who was nearly unbeatable. Even though they was hot on the national scene, the team raced mostly in the Northwest and appeared at Seattle, Woodburn and Portland many times each season.
After breaking with the Pacemaker team, Gordie went on to drive the Hawaiian Vacation car for Leong and won two national events including the Springnationals before the car was parked due to a lack of funding. He then drove the Joe Camel car for Candies and Hughes. Gordie ended his career driving in the FLA European Drag Racing Series and won the World Championship. Gordie was a fan favorite with wide name recognition and lots of charisma that sponsors like RJ Reynolds loved.
On a personal note, Gordie was a very good friend whom I have known for 35 years. He was a superstar that we all dreamed of becoming or at least knowing in my case. The reaction to Gordie's death in the social media has been overwhelming and is an indication of how popular he was and how many people knew and loved the guy they called "240 Gordie Bonin". The world will never be the same without him.
Read a past interview with "240 Gordie" To read an interview go here
Paul Walker: A Sad But Teachable Moment
Paul Walker and one other person sadly died when a Porsche they were riding in burst into flames after hitting a tree in Southern California. Mr. Walker made his living making movies that glorifies street racing and driving on public streets at high rates of speed. Many young people die each year from illegal street racing and the media loves to drag the term "drag racing" or "drag racers" through the mud each time there is a tragedy even when they are turning corners. The teachable moment is that racing belongs on the track and what they do in Hollywood is not reality where there are no consequences. Paul Walker's death is a reminder of what happens on the street and there is no glory at the morgue just tears. Street racing is not drag racing.
New Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Series
A new four race series called the "Blown Alcohol Thunder" Pro Comp Racing Series will be competing at three tracks including Renegade Raceway in Yakima and Spokane County Raceway in 2014, a third track to host the fourth race will be named soon. The format is designed to include all types of funny cars (any year of body), roadsters and dragsters (both rear engine and front engine) that are equipped with any type of roots blower or injected on nitro.
The format will be "Chicago Style" meaning each car will make two passes in prime time with the quickest two cars coming back for the final round. In the final, the car that reaches the finish line first wins the event regardless of the ET. The cars leave the starting line heads up and there is no index or ET restrictions or limits as entertainment to the fans in the stands is our number one priority.
At each event, the cars will all race together similar to the old NHRA Pro Comp class. In addition to being paid per round, the winner of the series will receive a cash bonus, jacket and trophy. There will be contingency awards and all race teams competing in the series will receive free entry for one driver and four crew members if they pre-enter prior to a race.
The Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Series is primarily designed for racers that currently have a blown alcohol car and can not fit into the current nostalgia groups due to the body style year, engine location or perhaps not
quick enough to compete in the NHRA Top Alcohol Regional Series. But all blown cars are welcome providing they are an open wheel car or a funny car and use a roots blower. In addition injected nitro is permitted. Screw blowers are not allowed. Other than that there are no restrictions.
Race teams are not obligated to race the whole series and can select a race or races close to them or events that fit into their schedule. There are no membership dues but teams must get on the list by emailing us. Include name, phone number, email address, type of car, and races they plan to attend. Sign up here
Yakima (Renegade Raceway) Promoter Derek Snelson 253-380-4829
Race: Nitro Nights Under the Lights June 28-28
Limit to the amount of cars entered in Pro Comp: None
Special awards: Burn out contest and nicest back up girl
Win 1,100 (and a Wally) RU 600
Prefinalists based on perfomance:
6.00 to 6.70 = 200.00 per round
6.70 to 7.50 = 100.00 per round
7:50 and slower 0.00 per round
Spokane (Spokane County Raceway) Promoter Craig Smith 509-244-3333
Dates: Fox Hunt July 19 and Nitro Night of Fire August 16
Limit to the amount of cars entered in Pro Comp: none
Payout based on perfomance:
6.00 to 6.20 = 500.00 per round
6.21 to 6.50 = 400.00 per round
6.51 to 7.50 = 200.00 per round
7.51 and slower 0.00 per round
The series dates include:
Nitro Nights Renegade Raceway Yakima June 28
Fox Hunt Drags Spokane County Raceway July 19
Nitro Night of Fire Spokane County Raceway August 15-16
Lots of Great New Entries are Pouring in for the Winter Rod and Speed Show Presented By Burgerville
The Winter Rod and Speed Show presented by Burgerville is shaping up to be another great show. Each show is different while keeping it's familiarly unique and friendly feel. One of the entries just entered is the Dueball and Marrs Competition Coup which has been fully restored by Jim Lindsey and was originally built in Albany, Oregon the home of the car show. The coup won a major award at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California just last year.
The Winter Rod and Speed Show presented by Burgerville is the first major indoor car show of the year in America and a portion of the proceeds benefit the Children's Cancer Association, an Oregon based charity. The affordable family friendly event features over 100 show cars, hot rods, muscle cars, street rods, race cars and classics. This year our celebrity guest is Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductee and world renowned motorsports artist Kenny Youngblood along with the return on former OSU and Pacers star Scott Haskin.
New this year is a separate car show, the Left Coast Sha'Bang a rat rod and low rider show. One low admission price gets you into both shows all located at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany. $3.00 off coupons available at area merchants or bring a can of food to the show for the same discount. Click Here for details!
|Capitol Deal of the Week: 1998 F150 Supercab
Here is a well kept Ford F150 that would make a good tow vehicle. It's in great condition and it has rolled through the shop to be sure the buyer will get years of lasting use. Only $5,000
Engine: 5.4L 8
4 Wheel Drive
Exterior Color: Oxford White (CC)
Stock #: J330736A
Take it for a virtual spin Here
A New Blown Alcohol Series Finally a Reality for 2014
Two years ago we were competing in the Pacific Pro Comp series and finished in fourth place. We would have finished in third place but a double red light against Steve Will at the final race in Redding moved Steve to third and the Capitol team to fourth. The following season Pacific Pro Comp disbanded and a new group took it's place but the group's founder through in the towel before the first race when a series sponsor failed to materialize.
At that point we had a beautiful dragster with no competitive events to compete in other than making exhibition runs at Woodburn which we enjoy doing but other than that we had no clear purpose. As a result, we decided to once again put our car on the market, sell it and get a front engine dragster which is the blown alcohol car of choice in Woodburn's Pro Mosalgia class. But then along came Derek Snelson, the promoter at Renegade Raceway in Yakima and Craig Smith the promoter at Spokane Conty Raceway with an idea to begin a Pro Comp series. I've tried this idea in the past but came up short as it was difficult to get commitments from either a track or a group of racers. This time with Derekand Craigs help it will work. Right now we have commitments for two races in Spokane and one race in Yakima. In addition, we are working to get one or two more races here in Oregon.
For those who may not know, Pro Comp use to be an NHRA class made up of blown alcohol dragsters, funny cars and blown roadsters. Our group will be similar as the class will be open to both blown rear and front engine dragsters, blown alcohol funny cars and blown alcohol roadsters. Cars must be blown with a roots blower only but other than that anything goes. Cars leave the line heads up and there is no index. Each car makes two passes with the quickest two cars coming back in the final round. From there, the first car to the finish line wins the race. We have run this format before in Medford and it worked great. Heck, we even won the last race we did there. Some call this kind of racing "Chicago style". There will be free entry and everyone gets paid if they can get down the track.
An official name, logo and web site will come soon. Also, there is talk of contingencies and even an end of year banquet and a point champion that will recieve a coat, trophy and a $1,000 bonus. Right now we are just trying to get organized. If you have a car that fits those simple guidelines and would like to race with us next summer please contact us here to get on the list. Please include an email address and phone number.
It should be noted that we are not competing with the BB Funny car Association or the Pro Nostalgia group. However, there are guys like ourselves that don't fit in to those groups, and then there is the guy with a funny car body that's too new for the BB group. We all need some place to go.
The slow economy is not letting up and a lot of blown alcohol cars are sitting collecting dust. The tracks need featured cars they can afford and the racers need some tracks to run on. Here is the perfect solution.
Snake and Mongoose Movie: A Must See Film!
have been excited about the Snake and Mongoose movie ever since I heard it was actually being produced. Drag racing movies don't come around to often with the last being Heart Like a Wheel in the early 80's about the life of Shirley Muldowney so there has been a pent up hunger to see Snake and Mongoose as soon as it came out. Starting with Hot Wheels and then moving onto Revell Models and then actually doing a hand lettering job for the Snake himself on his Skoal funny car qualifies me as a long time die hard fan of Don "the Snake" Prudhomme and his arch rival Tom "the Mongoose" McEwen.
Now, imagine my disappointment when it was discovered that the film never got picked up for major distribution and was limited to only a few cities that host an NHRA national event which was similar to what happened to Heart Like a Wheel although it did well back in the days of video stores. Well, lucky me, I happened to be in Las Vegas when the film opened there so I can now give you an unbiased review of the film if that is even possible.
The film Snake and Mongoose follows the storied career of Don Prudhomme and his across town rival and once business partner Tom McEwen from the beginning of their careers to their historic final round match up at the 1978 NHRA US Nationals when Prudhomme was almost unbeatable and McEwen's son Jamie was battling and ultimately died of Leukemia. Jesse Williams, who plays Prudhomme is a dead ringer for the Snake and nobody in Hollywood could have pulled off the role like he did. Richard Blake plays the Mongoose and while he's not as close of a fit as Williams, he gets the job done as one of racing's greatest icons. it should be noted that the film's drama mostly centers around the estranged family life of McEwen and Blake pulls it off masterfully.
Snake and Mongoose is a time period piece and over all the production team did a great job of taking you back to the golden years of drag racing. But a couple of mistakes bring you back to reality in a hurry. In one scene, the use of a current Dixie paper cup could have been prevented and the Army racing trailer was way to recent and should not have been used especially since it's seen once in the movie. Only an old gooseneck trailer would do as Prudhomme's trailer. But the biggest problem with the film is the grainy historical footage. When you mix this grainy footage with recently filmed scenes the transition between the two is way to obvious to work. But the old footage was enjoyable, it's just too bad it was so obvious. It should be mentioned that the American Nitro footage was clean and the transitions later in the movie worked well.
As for the cast itself, Ashley Hinshaw and Kim Shaw were great as the two wives caught between maintaining a domestic household and putting up with their husbands expanding livelihood that put them out on the road for weeks at a time. Ashley Hinshaw as Lynn Prudhomme was a delight throughout the film. While Prudhomme was fortunate to have an understanding wife, McEwen wasn't so lucky as racing eventually took it's toll on his marriage and those scenes are played out well.
Other characters were not well developed such as the unflappable Ron Capps who played Lou Baney. In spite of all the pre-movie hype about his roll in the film, Capps was limited to just one or two lines so unless we knew the story behind Lou Baney we don't really know who Capp's character was, and how he's involved in the story. I was expecting more about Lou Baney. Also, more could have been explained about Fred Dryer's character, Ed Donavan. It was a good role but it should have been developed more.
Probably the biggest distraction in the film was the announcer played by Tim Blake Nelson who oddly enough announced the races at the track while also being a reporter on the ABC Wide World of Sports. It would have worked better to get a second actor as the reporter. Nelson's character had an intruding fake mustache that took all the attention away from his role. Finally, Noah Wyle who played Mattel exec Art Spear was great as the guy hooking onto the Hot Wheels concept but eventually ended the sponsorship.
Other than some of the issues I have outlined, Snake and Mongoose is a great racing film and it's a travesty that the movie didn't get wider distribution and not limited to just NHRA markets. Should you go see it? Hell Yes, if you are lucky enough to live in a town showing it, otherwise you will have to wait and buy the movie when it comes out on DVD and Blue Ray. My inside information is that it might be rolling out exclusively at Wal Mart stores in March. If you liked Heart Like a Wheel you will love Snake and Mongoose and best of all it's a movie the whole family can enjoy and relate too.
I give this movie four big stars for race fans and three stars for the general public.
Read our exclusive colorful interview with none other than Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen. READ THE INTERVIEW HERE
Kenny Youngblood to be Celebrity Guest at Winter Rod and Speed Show Presented by Burgerville
Billings and Bailey are very excited to announce that Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductee and legendary, world renowned, motorsports artist Kenny Youngblood will be our celebrity guest at the 2014 Winter Rod and Speed Show presented by Burgerville. The event is scheduled for January 4 from 9-7 at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany, Oregon.
This is a tremendous honor to have someone of Kenny's talent and stature at our show as he is arguably one of the biggest names in the sport that is not a driver. Kenny is the "painter of the stars" and has designed some of the most iconic race cars in the history of drag racing along with mind blowing paintings and other work seen in national magazines and movies.
At the show, Kenny will custom design a car picture for show patrons to take home free of charge. The pictures measure 11x17 and are similar to the attached photo.
If you have a hot rod you want him to draw a cartoon of, he can to that for a fee while he is at the show. The fee is arranged directly between the artist and the patron.
Kenny's appearance is made possible by Walery's Pizza in Salem.
Facebook Flyers by Jim M. White from the files of...
DRAG RACER Magazine
Here is one of the best pictures ever taken of the Blue Max funny car. This image was captured by Jim White at the Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield.
Cap Racing is showcasing the photography of Jim M. White. We certainly hope you enjoy his work as much as we do. Thanks Jim for sharing! Keep checking back daily to see who's next! To purchase a photo contact Jim at email@example.com
Forty Two Nitro Funny Cars at the Patch Indicates Nitro Can Thrive Again at the Big Show
This weekend at the "Patch" better known as Bakersfield there are 42 nitro funny cars entered at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. Meanwhile, at the recently completed NHRA National event in Reading only 18 nitro funny cars showed up to fill a 16 car field. So, why such a discrepancy in the turn out at either race?
Of course, The big difference in the two races is that the NHRA Nationals is a national event on the Mello Yello pro circuit where it costs nearly 5 million a year to field a competitive team and the Bakersfield event is made up of nostalgia cars mostly driven by weekend warriors. These cars use yesterday's technology and cost a fraction per run as their Mello Yello counterparts. However, these nostalgia cars aren't all that nostalgic other than the body and most of those have popped out of a mold in the last couple of years.
The success and growth of the nostalgia nitro funny cars proves that something has gone wrong on the national tour where teams have either consolidated into a multi-car team or dropped off the circuit entirely.
I'm not saying NHRA should allow Nostalgia funny cars into the big show even though IHRA will in 2014. But what they should do is study how and why the nostalgia class has exploded on to the scene like it has and then restructure the current NHRA nitro funny car class and Top Fuel Dragster accordingly.
Lowering costs and allowing the grass roots team to once again be able to afford to compete on the national level is the only way
to breed new life on to the national event circuit. Yes, NHRA has brought pro drag racing up to the next level but look what it has cost: shortening of the track to 1,000 feet, less competitors and more explosions and down time. NHRA must make nitro racing sustainable so it's no just John Force and Don Schumaucher racing at the end of the day.
- Rich Bailey
Strong Turn Out for Independence Display
Considering that is was a last minute decision and the weather wasn't all that great to start, our point of sale display at the local Auto Zone store in Independence, Oregon was a success. We did the event for our national product sponsors Royal Purple, NGK and King Engine Bearings as we were there to promote their products. Many young families stopped by after seeing the car as they drove by and turned around. All were very friendly. We even had several ladies who stopped by on their own to see the car. Even the local owner of the Big Town Hero stopped by to see the car with his son and then treated Richard and I to a very tasty lunch which set the tone for the day. That's just the way people roll in this very friendly town just west of Salem.
Dragster a Popular Attraction at Bauman Farms
Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer Dragster was at Bauman Farms on both Saturday and Sunday. It was crazy busy and easily one of our busiest events we have been a part of recently. There were about 5,000 people there or more on Saturday as cars lined up all the way to the main highway to get in to a large field that served as a parking lot. By about 2 PM the field was nearly full and there was a solid line of people at admission booth from 10 AM to nearly 5 PM. On Sunday, it was busy once again as people packed in and even Randy Green showed up and stopped to chat.
The dragster was located near the entrance and there was no shortage of people who stopped by to see the race car. In fact, there was a different kid in car just about every two minutes for eight hours on Saturday alone. Coincidentally, Capitol Auto Group sponsored the pumpkin weigh in contest located just a cross from the race car display and the top pumpkin weighed 1,578 pounds! A popular Portland FM Rock station was also set up near by but didn't have close to the drawing power of the Capitol Car! One lady was overheard saying on Sunday "you can go look at the race car now since it's finally not so busy".
Thanks to Bauman Farms for allowing the Capitol Car to be there this year and thanks to Adam Bradford for all of his help for two long days.
Capitol Renews Sponsorship For Fourteenth Year
Capitol Auto Group has renewed its title sponsorship agreement with Rich Bailey and ProMotion Motorsports for the fourteenth consecutive year. Even though the team didn't have the kind of racing season they were counting on, over one half million people have seen the car so far in 2013 with several more high profile events to go before the conclusion of the year. In addition the team's website has already reached the one million hits mark.
Bailey welcomed the news "We are pleased to be a solid part of the Capitol Auto Group family and their marketing outreach. We will have a much better season in 2014 and we want to thank Capitol for standing by us even when things didn't always go as planned this season. Having said that, more people saw the Capitol car in a single season then ever before. You can't control what happens at the track but you do have some control over how much personal exposure the car gets and our car gets a lot" Bailey acknowleged.
The car is driven by Bailey and prepared by crew chief Rick Klampe and crew members Richard Lytle, Brent Sanford, Dave Cookman and Adam Bradford.
ABOUT CAPITOL: Capitol Auto Group has served the greater Salem area for over 80 years. Dealer Scott Casebeer opened a new Toyota/Scion facility, located on 780 Industrial Drive, in Salem off the Parkway, in the fall of 2011 and the Subaru facility in June 2012 at 3235 Cherry AV NE. Chevrolet/Cadillac opened in late July 2012 at 2855 Maple AV NE. Capitol Auto Group has been widely recognized for excellence in the community:
Recognized by Oregon Business Magazine 5 times as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon
Recognized by Oregon Business Magazine 5 times as one of the 100 Best Green Companies in Oregon
2012 Nominee for the Salem Chamber Business of the Year
Eight-time winner, Toyota President's Award
Recognized for Toyota Sales and Service Excellence
Recognized for Toyota Parts and Customer Relations
General Motors World Class Technician on staff
Toyota Master Technicians on staff
United Way GIVE Award Winner, 2011.
EarthWISE Certified by Marion County in 2013
Capitol Car Displayed at Red Line Breakfast
Even with the very disappointing cancellation of the the Heritage Car Show due to severe weather, Capitol Rocketeer Dragster still made an appearance (under cover of course) Saturday at the Red Line Breakfast in Salem at the People's Church. This was a men's ministry event where the car was displayed and driver Rich Bailey was interviewed and made a presentation inside during the buffet style breakfast.
Rain Holds Off For Capitol Fun Fair Event
Even with a gloomy weather forecast, the heavy rain stayed away long enough for the Capitol Fun Fair to be a success. The rain finally started falling as the event was scheduled to end. The event included all kinds of great things to see and do including getting a picture with Songebob. Of course the Capitol Auto group Dragster was on hand and was a very popular addition to the event. In fact, the Capitol Team ran out of publicity cards even before the event was over. This year twice as many attended over last year and a good time was had by all. Thanks to Brent Sanford for helping out.
Capitol Car Displayed at Kroc Center Family Fair
The Capitol Auto Group Rockteer Dragster was a popular attraction at the Kroc Center's Family Fair, September 7. Besides the dragster being on display, there were all types of inflatables, a live band and other attractions including vendor booths and demonstrations. Over 2,000 people attended the event and there was a constant flow of people that stopped by to look at the car, so the day went by real fast. Kudos to the Kroc Center staff for promoting a very successful event!
Snake and Mongoose Movie Opens in Limited Cities
The Snake and Mongoose movie is now out but only in selected cities that have an NHRA national event, apparently with the brilliant wisdom that only people who live in these markets would go see such a film. Whatever the reason, it's not a good one. You would think that the end game for those who funded the film would be to get it in as many markets as possible not just in national event cities. But it maybe that without the help of NHRA the film was destined to go straight to video.
A similar marketing fiasco happened to Heart Like a Wheel but that film did well once it went on to video and Showtime. With so many multi-screen cinemas, one would think there would be a demand for more movies but I guess some of the execs in the motion picture industry know better that I. Unfortunately, I refuse to travel to Seattle for a concert let alone a movie so you can understand the angst here.
So far, the film is getting good publicity even in the New York Times and those who have seen the movie in LA and in Indianapolis said that it's a must see film. In the Northwest, the only place you can see it is at the Regal Cinemas in Tukwilla, Washington which is near the Seattle area. Here is a link to the official Snake and Mongoose movie website that lists the cities and times Click Here
Racing Season Concludes But Displays Continue
Even though we have now have a strong running race car, after three engine builds over the spring and summer we have exceeded our budget for the year and will not make the final race of the season, the Fall Classic at Woodburn Dragstrip. The silver lining is that we have a complete race ready car that is track tested and will be able to hit the quartermile early next spring without waiting on engine parts since that has all been done.
We will be making some improvements over the winter to the breaks and transmission but the engine will stay intact and the car will be available for both the Portland and Eugene Roadster show. In the past few years the car was tore down at the time of both these major car show events.
We admit this has been a challenging year due to unexpected breakage but the car got record exposure at the Oregon State Fair, the Marion County Fair, the Starlight Parade, the Night of Fire, the Winter Rod and Speed Show and Showbiz which adds up to over 652,000 people based on each event's own projected attendance figures. Throw in the Christmas parade, the 4th of July events in Independence and Salem as well as the many other events we did and that audience increases to just short of one million people.
While the car will not be racing at the final event of the season, it will be on display until the rainy weather makes it uneventful to show the car any more. Remaining events include: Family Fair Day at the Kroc Center, September 7, Capitol Auto Group Safety Fair on September 21, Volcanoe's RV Sale, September 22, Harvest Fest Car Show, September 28, Bauman Farms in October and the Festival of Lights Christmas Parade the second week of December.
Sponsors Get Big Exposure at the Oregon State Fair
The Oregon State Fair is now in the books and having the Capitol Auto Group dragster there for nearly two weeks is the longest running event we have ever done. The car might have got more exposure this past 11 days then the entire last year as over 196,000 came to the fair this year and our booth saw plenty of action. The car was at the fair last year but only for the last 4 days and for the car show the opening weekend.
We kept the booth staffed nearly all the time. We pulled out all the stops as we let kids sit in the car, showed video, signed pictures and gave out product information. Just for fun we briefly tried the "Touch of Mink" wave (mocking one of the other vendors) but none of that was necissary as the car was a big draw on it's own.
Thanks to Richard, Diana, Brent, Dawn and Adam for your dedication and for making this possible! And thanks to the fair staff for everything.
Opinion by Rich Bailey:
John Force Announcement Renews Debate on How to Revive Pro Nitro Racing Before it's to Late!
For years now I have contended that Top Fuel and nitro Funny Car racing costs more than what the sponsors are willing to invest. I have brought this up every time one of my hero's loses his long time sponsor. Yes, sponsors come and go but some of these announcements really sting. First it was Prudhomme losing Miller, then it was Bernstien losing Bud and now the recent announcement that Force has lost both Ford and Castrol with in a couple of weeks. Besides that, the number of the independent teams shrink every year as well.
The bottom line is that fuel racing has gradually lost its way and has evolved into a product that the fan's no longer strive for when compared to the 70's and 80's. Let's look at what we have lost and the problems the sport continues to face and a few suggestions to fix them.
1. Problem: No Sunday morning magazine style show. Instead it's a 3 hour long post race show and that's to long for the casual fan to sit through. They should cut one hour from the post race show and add one hour of programming in the morning to get us to tune in later that day for the finals.
2. Problem: The cars themselves are tuned in such a way not to have that wicked cackle like they use to have an no dry hops. So they are not as spectacular to watch any more. The flames no longer dance in the pipes.
3. Problem: There are very few gritty personality figures other than Force. Instead they are all pay to play drivers and few if any are household names.
4. Problem: The funny cars look more like rocket ships. There are no new Dodge Challengers or Chevy Camero bodies out there and some of the body styles that have been chosen are lame. They need to phase out these bodies and implement a no canopy rule to the windows are vertical with the lower part of the body.
5. Problem: It's always the same cars and every venue looks the same sponsored by the same parts chain so missing a race on TV is no longer important to the fan which is why the ratings are down. My solution is have a wild card race every year that alternates from track to track. So every year a new city gets a national event. Example; one year it's in Boise and then the next year it's in Salt Lake City etc.
6. Problem: The costs have made it so only the high dollar multi-car teams survive and dominate which has pushed out the independent teams. In the 70's and 80's each race was a mix of touring pros and regional teams which gave every race it's own unique flavor. Now you can go to almost any race and it's the same.
7. Problem: While some of the pro drivers do what they can to spend time with the fans many are recluses and allocate little time visiting with the fans in their pit. Today most drivers only drive so they should have lots of time to be out there front and center with the fans.
8. Problem: The cars are so fast and so dangerous they are limited to 1000 feet. It's time to go back to the quarter mile and limit the fuel pump sizes and what ever else needs to be done to get them into the high 4 second range. The other night I saw two top fuel dragsters under the lights race side by side on the full quarter. Both cars ran in the low fives and it was way more exciting than any 1000 foot run.
9. Problem: There is little effort to promote the sport outside of the national event tour. And there are no longer toys or model cars to capture a kid's interest. NHRA should encourage and give the toy companies like Revell and Mattel what ever they want to manufacture model cars and toys.
10. Problem: NHRA penalizes teams that match race so you rarely see a fuel car outside of an NHRA National event. Stop being the nanny of drag racing and let these teams do as many independent events as they want.
If you have a few of these problems the sport will thrive. But if you have all of these problems then pro drag racing continues to decline in popularity and in the number of competitive teams. Now is the time to recognize that there are problems and they need to be fixed now.
Washington Road Trip Shows Good Results in Yakima Along with some Extreme Pain in Spokane
We just returned home from a five day road trip which included stops in Yakima and Spokane. As I mentioned in my last blog, this was an important road trip as we have been riddled with unexpected mechanical problems regardless of how hard we have worked or how much money we have spent fixing our problems all season long. We needed to get the car down the track something we use do with ease, but not this year.
first stop was Yakima as Derek Snelson was gracious enough to book us in to race against the Zeus funny car that has generated a lot of notoriety due to Greg Howland's long smoky burnouts. The race in Yakima for us was a stepping stone for the big one a few days later in Spokane and it was to be competed in the eighth mile. If the car ran well we would move on to Spokane and if it didn't we turn around and go home.
In the first stanza, I pitched a blower belt as soon as I shifted into second gear. We got the car back to the pit and went to work. We had a difficult time getting of the crank support off but it finally came off and we had to make a pulley change since the only belt available in the trailer didn't fit the pulley we were using. We had everything ready for round two where we had a competitive race against Greg Howland driving the Zues Corvette. The engine was really pushing me towards the line and I did everything I could not to over stage. I held the brake as hard as I possibly could. It was a great race but Greg got the win light with a 5.09 to my 5.16. We didn't care though as this was the first time all year we got the car down the track without something going wrong. Plus, we were satisfied that the engine is happy enough to continue our trip to Spokane which called for a celebration.
The next morning Bent, Richard and I got on the road after going into town for breakfast. Once we hit Spokane we got set up and then went into town to buy a winch and get some lunch. On Friday, my friend Ron Sellers came by. Ron is the crew chief for Lady Elaine, a popular funny car racer in Eastern Washington. Ron gave us a suggestion on an adjustment to the barrel valve that would really wake the car up. It did and we were excited to try it. We decided not to run on Friday night though to avoid any possible breakage and waited for the big show on Saturday night. Late Friday night Rick and Cookie showed up and then at 3 AM I woke up with a kidney stone attack and drove to Walmart in pain at 4 AM to buy a concoction that always seems to work: a mix of olive oil and squeezed lemons. It worked for a while.
On Saturday morning we lit the car off and it sounded wicked but there was one problem the brakes wouldn't hold the wheels from moving even on the stand in first gear. We took the back tires off and went to work drum sanding the rotors and the brake pads to give the brakes some abrasion. We even found some new brake shoes but they would not mount because the rotors were warped. We also broke some heim joints and drove all over Spokane looking for some but to no avail. Luckily Craig Smith had some so that problem was fixed.
Just before the first round we fired up the car to see if our hours of hard work would pay off so we could make a hit and some money. Sadly, there was no change in the brakes and we all made the decision that it would be unsafe to run the car. Either I would over stage and roll through the lights or worse yet if the chutes failed I would be in for a wild ride. So, we all went and watched the race and what might have been. During the finals I had another kidney stone attack and I was thinking that could be me out there belted in and in a lot of pain. It wouldn't have mattered because I would have still driven the car regarldless of how much pain I was in. The pain went a way before hitting a Denny's at 1 am. Then at 7:30 the next morning we were headed home pain free except in the pocket book.
The Night of Fire Another Giant Success!
The Night of Fire Benefit Car Show was another big success that featured two of the top exhibition cars in the business. The free show raised funds for the Children’s Cancer Association while serving as a food drive for the Marion Polk Food Share. This year twice as much food was donated than last year.
Between 1,500 to 2,000 people crowded the “ring of fire” to see Ed “The Outlaw” Jones do a fire show in his Jelly Belly Wheelstander followed by Richard Smith in the Warped Speed Funny Car. The two exhibitions capped off the night with an incredible display of fire and excitemet.The crowd cheered at the Warped Speed Funny Car’s firey conclusion and many will surely be back next year.
The show also included the event’s co-organizer Rich Bailey who fired up his Capitol Rocketeer Dragster and Ken Logan’s Bonneville streamliner. In addition there were over 150 customized hot rods, muscle cars, street rods and bracket cars. The Night of Fire car show is one of the only events in the country to feature an actual jet car fire up which is why it draws so many people.
Thank You Victory Racing Camp!
Tonight, I spoke at the Victory Racing Camp. The camp is for aspiring young racers where they learn how to race using modified go carts on a road race track. And then they have a guest speaker come in during the evening. Tonight. I showed the documentary "Wheels of Speed" and then did a lively Q and A session with them. It was a great group of kids who asked a lot of good questions. Thanks to Victory for letting me share our sport with your group.
Capitol Car Gets Big Exposure on the Fourth
The Fourth of July was a big home run for the Capitol Auto Group Racing Team! First, the car was in the Western Days Parade in Monmouth-Independence and was seen by nearly 50,000 people along the five mile parade route.
Once the parade was over, the car was transported directly to Salem for the Riverfront Independence Day Celebration where we had a constant crowd surrounding the car from 3-11 PM. It was the perfect family venue where we were letting people sit in the car while promoting the Night of Fire Car Show and the Woodburn Dragstrip. There was likely close to 5,000 or more people at the park. Only if we had a dollar for every photo that was taken of the car between the two events!
After the fourth, we took Friday off and then returned to Western Days on Saturday for the final day of the event. The car was on display at the festival grounds from noon to 10 PM and attracted a consistent crowd throughout the day and evening. Even with our recient mechanical problems, the three 4th of July events gave our sponsors some major league exposure.
Great Story on the Capitol Racing Team
Here is a great story on the Capitol Racing Tram written by Kelly Edmunson of the Northwest Auto Mall. com web site. Read it here!
There have been a lot of great shots taken at Orange County International Raceway but this has to be one the best! Garlits and Prudhomme at the line in 1972. Photographer unknown.
The Star Light Parade Entry Earns an Award
Photo by Chuck Stenburg
The Woodbun Dragstrip float with the Capitol Rocketeer Dragster sitting on top as the main attraction, won the Small Business Float award at the Rose Festival Star Light parade. The weather was great so there was a big crowd of nearly 250,000 people. There was a little drama as we put the banner on at the last minute and broke the only drill bit we had but like at the track someone came up with one and we rolled out on time!
Important Racer Information About USDOT Numbers!
Here is some important news about USDOT NUMBERS for racers: Everyone needs one! USDOT NUMBERS ARE SEPARATE FROM A CDL REQUIREMENT.
It doesn't matter if a racer gets a light trailer or not, or has advertising on the side because anyone towing a car that can win prize money, or has sponsors, or deducts expenses must get a USDOT number if the truck and trailer combo weighs over 10,000 lbs. That would include almost everyone.
And technically, even a motorhome towing a race car is not exempt if they are competing for prize money or has sponsors. Everyone says Oregon is strict but in Washington State if you weigh over 15,000 lbs you have to stop at the weight station. In Oregon it's 20,000. In California any pickup towing a trailer of any size can not stop at weigh stations. So, the weigh station laws vary from state to state but the USDOT NUMBER is a Federal Law recognized in every state.
In getting a USDOT number, it may appear to be the camel getting it's nose under the tent because there's more to come and that would be correct. You have to get into a random drug testing pool, pay a $75.00 fee and get a safety inspection as well as keep records. Also, the old "Private Carrier Not for Hire" trick doesn't work any more and the State Patrols pay no attention to this.
If you doubt this please call the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Division at 503-399-3775. They are helpful as it's congress that comes up with these laws, not them. As the person I spoke with told me, it's better to get ahead of the curve and do it the right way rather than waiting to get stopped.
The Blue Moon Cruise-ins are Back!
Great news for the Salem car scene! The popular Blue Moon Cruise-ins are back this summer. Jim Billings will return as your host and he expects anywhere from 100 to 300 cars each week. The informal gathering begin in June and will happen each weekend night during the summer! The Blue Moon is located on Lancaster Drive near Chemeketa Community College.
Capitol Team Didn't Have the Weekend That Was Expected
It was a productive but disappointing weekend for the Capitol team. The good news was that the car fired right up on Saturday morning which was the soonest we could start the car since we had been waiting on specially ordered rocker arms for the past several weeks. But because of heavy rain we were prevented from making any test passes on Saturday.
On Sunday, the sun came out but we were still limited to just two passes and I aborted both runs. We tried a different tune up as we wanted the fuel system's high speed to perform but the car didn't like it. After the first run, I didn't think that the tune up change caused the problem as I didn't get any RPM on the starting line when I went up on the converter. But after the second pass it was clear that the car didn't like the tune up so we changed it back. Because of the rain, a couple of oil downs and a late start we simply didn't get enough runs in to get a good pass.
Occassionally, you have to try new things to get the car to perform better and sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. Next time we go out we will go back to our tune-up from last year to get a good baseline and then go from there.
Point of Sale Display at Stuart's Auto Supply Yields Results
This past weekend the Capitol team did their fifth event in the last couple of weeks. This time the car was at Stuart's Auto Supply in Salem. The success came as a lot of Royal Purple and NGK Plugs were sold thanks to our promotion: buy 4 quarts of Royal Purple or a set of NGK Spark Plugs and get a free Racketeer Shirt! We had several different customers jump on this deal which made it a busy day. Also, a lot of families would pass by then turn around to stop by and see the car. The store owner was pleased with the traffic and has agreed to have us back in the fall.
These events are great for both Royal Purple and NGK as not only do they establish new product users but it also means that hopefully there will be a stronger commitment from the store to keep stocking the product. The race team benefits from more exposure for all of our sponsors. Motorists passed by the car all day and couldn't miss seeing the car.
It's already a great year and we haven't fired the car up yet but that will change this weekend when we race at the season opener at Woodburn Dragstrip.
Business Community Responds to Dragster at Showbiz
The Capitol team made its first appearance at Show Biz in two years, May 9th at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster was a big part of this annual business community event which marked it's Salem debut with the band new paint job! The car received a lot of compliments from friends, business people and the general public that was at the show.
Showbiz has always been one of the best events we do and this year was no different! A lot of familiar faces stopped by including Dale Hagenauer and his daughter who check out the retro design. The Capitol team also made a lot of contacts and gave a way a lot of stuff including our handout new cards, Night of Fire fliers, track schedules and coupons for Woodburn Dragstrip. During the show Rich Bailey was on the radio live with Bill Post of KYKN.
Albany NAPA Royal Purple/NGK Display a Success!
The Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer Dragster was on display at the new Albany NAPA Auto Parts store promoting Royal Purple Synthetic Oil and NGK Spark Plugs on Saturday, May 4th. The hot weather put everyone in a festive mood to stop by and see the race car close up. Even Tom Caldwell a crewmember on another team came all the way from Aurora, some 45 miles away to see the display. We never met Tom before so it was great for him to show up. There was a steady stream of people all day except between 2-3 where it slowed down but then it picked back up again until the car was loaded up at 4:30.
Over all it was an excellent display and we gave away some shirts for buying product as a special promotion. We also handed out a ton of pictures, Woodburn schedules and coupons. A big thanks to Richard Lytle ignoring the heat to help out all day!
Sponsors Get Recognized in Best of the Mid Valley Awards
Congrats to out sponsors that scored well in the Best of the Mid Valley Awards. Adam's Rib Smokehouse won "Best BBQ" for the 5th year in a row! Walery's Pizza received third place for "Best Pizza", Capitol Auto Group came in second place for "Best Business Make Over" and third for "Best Car Dealer". KYKN finished second for "Best Radio Station" and their host Bill Post won first for "Best Host".
The Story Behind the Capitol Rocketeer Dragster
Above: The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster recently painted by Jeff Lewis in 2013. Below is the original
Rocketeer Dragster built by Frameworks and originally owned by Jon Rowley of Phoenix AZ.
Rich Bailey acquired the Rocketeer Dragster almost by accident. Literally. Bailey had just crashed his dragster in Seattle at the start of the season and needed a replacement car since his crashed dragster was beyond repair. Bailey had read online of a blown alcohol dragster for sale in Coos Bay, it was being sold for a third party by Rick Smith, whom Bailey knew from the track. But little did he know it was the Rocketeer that was for sale. “I had seen the Rocketeer in a magazine and was surprised that Rick was selling it. Once I saw it I knew it was a special car and I had to buy it” Bailey said. But money was a concern so he continued to look for a less expensive race car but there was nothing he could fit into or was conducive for blown alcohol.
With few other options available at the time Bailey pulled some strings and bought the car and then had Mark Adams of Supervinyl place a large Capitol decal over the "Rocketeer" name. His first outing with the car was trial by fire, as he returned to Pacific Raceways the track he crashed at two months prior for a division race. It rained as it often does in Seattle and Bailey got one shot at qualifying on Sunday morning of the final day of the event. “It was my first run down the track in the Rocketeer and I did a giant wheelstand. I let it down at half track and did not qualify. I started wondering what I was getting myself into again” Bailey said. Things got better from there as Bailey has been able to keep the Rocketeer from launching into the stratosphere. Once the Capitol team went to Spokane in August they qualified for a Pro Alcohol Dragster race and the car dipped into the 6.80's.
Bailey continued to race the car for several years thinking that the Rocketeer name came from a Disney movie of the same name. “When I bought the car it was referred to as a movie theme car but it turned out that it wasn’t the case. There was a small name on the side of the car that said “Raymond Rides” but there was nobody in the Rocketeer movie with that name” Bailey said.
In the fall of 2010 Bailey went as a spectator-crew member to the California Hot Rod Reunion with the Veney's Vega funny car team. On one of the qualifying days he was walking though the lanes when he saw a front engine dragster called the “Retro Rocket“. Bailey walked up to the team owner and told him he had a car called the Rocketeer that resembled Retro Rocket though it was a rear engine car. The team owner, Jon Rowley, told Bailey he built the Rocketeer and then explained to Bailey that the car was never made after a movie but instead was built for a young boy name Raymond Dixon who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Above: The Retro Rocket front engine dragster, the car Rowley built after the Rocketeer. Original car owner
Jon Rowley is second from the right.
When Rowley found out about the boy’s diagnosis he knew that Raymond like the Rocketeer from comic books and the movie so Rowley had Frameworks built the custom car with not only a Rocketeer paint job but special features that are still on the car to this day. The back of the car behind the engine is completely enclosed and had a little rocketship covered with real diamonds and rubies as a shut off switch which NHRA later ordered it be removed because of the ship’s sharp point. The car also has a polished aluminum strip down the top of the body and a unique nose not found on any other car.
Sadly, Raymond did not survive his fight with cancer and a replica of the Rocketeer was placed in his casket. Ironicly, Bailey, along with his car show partner Jim Billings have promoted many fundraisers for kids and adults with cancer in his home town of Salem, Oregon and have hosted kids with cancer at the track.
Bailey has had the car repainted twice to accommodate his sponsor Capitol Auto Group but saved the Rocketeer character as a testament to kids everywhere fighting childhood cancers. The Rocketeer figure is also a popular marketing tool as it attracts a lot of attention. For two seasons the Rocketeer theme went away as Bailey was aiming for a more corporate theme. But it just wasn't the same without the Rocketeer on the car so at the end of last season Bailey choose to bring the Rocketeer back. After spending two days pulling off vinyl, Bailey and crew member Adam Bradford were able to save the Rocketeer underneath. Jeff Lewis then masked off the character and painted the rest of the panels where the clear had lifted but ended up re-doing the entire body.
The Rocketeer after it was repainted by Dennis Lafferty. The car looked great and the original Rocketeer character was saved.
But the story of the Rocketeer has brought Bailey full circle beginning with his first dragster and a boy he
brought to the track named Caleb Lorance. Caleb had a rare form of cancer and Bailey’s team hosted him
for a day at the races and kept in touch with his family after that day at the track. Sadly, Caleb’s cancer came back a year later so Bailey took the dragster to his house. He put the race car on jackstands and put Caleb in the driver seat and let him mash the throttle while the engine was idling. At the end of the day as Bailey and crew member Dan Dixon were loading up the car, Caleb came out of the house and gave him his baseball cap which Bailey still has in his office today.
After Caleb had passed away it was learned that Caleb made the conscious decision to where the racing shirt Bailey gave him in his death and it's something that has effected the Oregon racer deeply. If there are angels one of them named Caleb was riding with Bailey that day he hit the wall at 140 MPH in Seattle and the Rocketeer Dragster was always meant to be as a result of that dangerous crash.
The California based Rocketeer Funny car is not related to the dragster but there is a mutual respect and friendship between the two teams.
Capitol Rocketeer Dragster Displayed this Past Weekend
The Captiol Auto Group Rocketeer Dragster made its first public appearance of the year at a special "Motorsports Day" event on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Pictured is Richard Klampe talking to tribal members.
On Saturday night the car was at "Racing Night" during "Night Court " a special event held for middle school students every weekend at Talmadge Middle School in Independence, Oregon.
MV Detail and Service Does it Again!
A big thanks to Ryan Valentine at MV Detai and Service for detailing our truck before our first road trip of the year. Just like our blower he made the truck like new. Now the challenge is keeping it that way.
Redesigned Capitol Rocketeer Car Ready to Blast Off!
These are not pictures of the old paint job. The Rocketeer is back! The newly redesigned and repainted Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer Blown Alcohol Dragster is just about ready to go. This past Saturday we took the car out and cleaned it at Morningstar Church and took the occasion to get some photos against some beautiful cherry trees. While the car was out we packed the new chute bags, cleaned the inside of the trailer up and then gave the outside a bath once we brought it home. Meanwhile our truck is at MV Mobile Detail getting cleaned inside and out as well as some modifications.
As many of you know we bought a new set of Brodix 2Xtra heads and we were hoping that the valve train would work with few if any modifications but sadly that wasn't the case so we had to order a new set of Jesel Pro Series rockers which are made to order. The new set won't be here for a week or two so the car won't hit the track until the Season Opener in May at Woodburn Dragstrip. In the mean time the car will be shown at numerous locations and events before the first race on May 18th.
I went out to the Tulip Festival Drags on Sunday and it was pretty cold outside but the track was stellar. Because of the cold weather I had mixed emotions about not testing but it would have been a good low key day to make some test runs had the parts been here. I did sell some parts to help pay for those new rocker arms and I ran into some of my racing friends so it was a good day to be at the track anyway.
The pictures above represent endless hours of hard work and I would like to thank everyone who helped including my team for putting it all together including Rick, Richard, Dave and Adam. I would also like thank Keith and John McCurdy for working on the heads, Jeff Marsh for going through the transmission, Jeff Lewis for the painting, Ryan Valentine for the polishing and Mark Adams for providing the vinyl lettering.
- Rich Bailey
Bob Seger Rocks the Rose Garden!
Here is a quick review on the Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band concert at the Rose Garden, Saturday night March 30th. It was a classy, fun and all around great show with none other than Joe Walsh opening. Both Seger and Walsh sounded as good as ever but you could tell Seger was having the time of his life on the "Rock-n-Roll Never Forgets" tour. And why not? How many 67 year old rock stars can pack one of the biggest arenas in the country and put on a flawless rock-n-roll show that had the fans bagging for more?
The Silver Bullet Band made every song sound perfect and the lights were good but not over the top as it was raw talent holding up this show and nothing more. Classics like Roll Me Away, Traveling Man, Like a Rock, Main Street, Hollywood Nights and of course Night Moves to close the show were executed perfectly during the solid two hour set. The band included nearly twelve musicians including a complete horn section and three back up singers.
Seger was personable and spoke briefly between songs and commented about Oregon's beauty and mentioned a planned trip to Mt Hood (photo) which he visited the following day. It just doesn't get much better than it did Saturday night in Portland, Oregon.
Sneak Peek at New T-Shirt Design
Here is a sneak peek at the new Capitol Racing T-Shirt produced by ProMotion Motorsports Design and will be printed by Image Actionwear. The new shirts will be available starting at the Tulip Festival on April 20.
Check it out here
2013 Promises to be an Action Packed Season!
A couple of years ago the future looked kind of grim for a blown alcohol rear engine dragster, so much so that I put the Rocketeer up for sale in order to move into nostalgia racing. After all, the future of Medford, Yakima and even Spokane didn't look promising at different times. But not any more. Racing in the Northwest looks better than it has in years for blown alcohol dragster racing. We now have more races scheduled than our budget allows. In fact, we had to delete a couple of races just to be sure we could get through the season and not run out of money.
This year we have events scheduled in Spokane, Yakima and of course Woodburn. The turn around came when Craig Smith added two open match races for blown alcohol dragsters in Spokane. We love racing in Spokane and the two new races fill in any voids we had in our schedule. We have not raced in Spokane since we had the late Jeff Lauener helping us so going back will bring back some good memories of him.
If we get through the season without to many battle scars we might add the Halloween Classic in Boise or the Redding Fall Classic race to our schedule. But first we need to honor the commitments we already made. Below is our race schedule for 2013.
SEASON OPENER, WOODBURN
Season Opener is a match race that includes funny cars, dragsters and jets
ROSE FESTIVAL DRAGS, WOODBURN
We will be match racing the Patriot. The event includes funny cars and jets. We will have a special friend at the event.
||NITRO NIGHTS RENEGADE RACEWAY, YAKIMA
This is a chicago style race where funny cars and dragsters race togeher plus jets
||NHRA LUCAS OIL SERIES, WOODBURN
This is an NHRA Regional. We will be competing in Top Dragster at this event only
||FOX HUNT DRAGS SPOKANE
Chicago style match race where the quickest to cars come back for the final
NIGHT OF FIRE WOODBURN
We will be match racing the Patriot. The event includes funny cars, Ed Jones and jets
||JET CAR NIGHT OF FIRE, SPOKANE
Chicago style match race where the quickest to cars come back for the final plus jets
The "Rocketeer" is Back With a "New" But Old Look!
The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster is currently getting refinished at the shop that started it all, Jeff Lewis Paint and Hot Rod Shop located in Keizer. The shop, now owned by Jell Lewis has a lot of history with me as that's where I was exposed to drag racing behind the scenes.
At the time Jeff Lewis' father Gary owned the shop and Jeff and I both worked there after school. Gary was also gracious enough to take me in as a crew guy. Those were great years so it's awesome to have the car painted there once again. When Jeff's father owned the business, Gary painted all of the pre-Rocketer cars. And at one time we base our racing operation out of their shop.
This current job began as a touch-up after pulling off the vinyl when the paint came off in a few spots but now the whole car is basically getting repainted other than the panels around the engine and back of the car .The dragster will look similar to the old design which Dennis Laugherty painted four years ago. The Rocketeer character will be back on the side but the car will be different enough to be considered a new look.
I'm real excited to have the Rocketeer back as it generates a lot of attention which is great for our sponsors and it was originally a tribute to a boy by the name of Raymond Dixon who passed away from cancer. I always wanted to bring the Rocketeer back because of that.
Congrats to Capitol Racing's Dave Cookman
Dave Cookman recently became an ordained minister at the regional Racer's For Christ conference held last weekend. Besides becoming an ordained minister and an avid coffee drinker, "Cookie" as we like to call him has a full plate as a Capitol Crew member, owner of a wood working business and works full time at Pacific University in Forest Grove. Dave also bracket races on top of all that. He is a graduate of Northwest University and Forest Grove High School.
Dave got his bug for drag racing growing up in Cornelius, OR. He was a neighbor of Northwest Top Fuel Dragster legend Ernie Hall where he got his first dose of nitro. Dave turned his passion for racing to ministry and often can be seen in the lanes praying with drivers before a run.
Capitol Auto Group Racing is pleased to have Dave on our team and we would like to congratulate him on his high calling and involvement in Racers For Christ.
A Big Double Header! In the Ring of Fire Together:
Night of Fire Welcomes Darin Bay and Ed Jones
This year's Night of Fire Benefit Car Show will be the biggest show yet as not only will Ed "the Outlaw" Jones' and his fire breathing wheelstander be returning to Salem from the high Desert Southwest of Idaho but for the first time in five years Billings and Bailey also welcome the return of Darin Bay and his Warped Speed Jet car!
That's right, for the first time ever both Ed "the Outlaw" Jones and Darin Bay will be in the ring of fire together! It's never happened before and it may never happen again! This will be one show you have to see to believe. We may get arrested after it's over, so see it while you can! It will be pure sensory overload! Once and only once, August, 2, 2013 at the People's Church in Salem! Be there!
Patience is a Virtue as Car Slowly Comes Together
A lot is going on but at the same time it seems like everything is coming together at a snails pace. It would be nice to have the car together over the winter but as always we have a lot of changes taking place in February and into March.
First, we have ordered a new set of Brodix heads which should be here in just a couple weeks. Once we get the new heads I'll hand them off to John and Keith McCurdy to set up. The bad news is that the manifold I bought wasn't drilled for the 1471 blower so I'm having to put it up for sale. It's a nice piece otherwise.
Meanwhile, we have the body panels at Jeff Lewis' paint shop for a little bit of a make over. The Rockeer will be back on the side of the dragster and I can't wait to get the panels back on the car to see how it's going to look.
Have you seen the rotating pics on the top of the web page yet? Pretty cool huh? Just the latest thing to upgrade the site to keep it interesting.
Scott Casebeer Selected as Salem's First Citizen
Congratulations to Capitol Auto Group CEO Scott Casebeer for being named "Salem's First Citizen. Scott and his wife Carrie have done a lot for local charities in the Salem area, they employ a lot of people and have certainly done a lot for our race team. We want to thank them for another great year and appreciate their generosity.
King Engine Bearings Renews Sponsorship
King Engine Bearings has renewed their product sponsorship program with Rich Bailey and ProMoton Motorsports, home of the Capitol Auto Group Dragster. King Engine Bearings is a world-class developer and manufacturer of engine bearings for automobiles, light and heavy-duty trucks, marine, aviation, standby power and other types of internal combustion engines.
In addition, King is quickly becoming well known for their high performance bearings which is proven to hold up to severe abuse on the race track. "We are very excited to once again represent King Engine Bearings and their quality line of products. We have had great luck with them and have taken note of the precision engineering that goes into each bearing" said Bailey.
Through the years, King has developed and maintained a philosophy of constant improvement, from bearing design and engineering to customer service. The company is a certified TS16949 (automotive) and AS9100 (aerospace) manufacturer, producing to the highest statistical quality control standards.
King's only product is engine bearings. As a result of its specialization and focus, the company is recognized for producing the highest quality engine bearings available in the market today.
The King line includes OEM replacement rod, main, cam bearings, and thrust washers and its special range of high performance bearings.
Capitol Auto Group Renews Marketing Partnership with Rich Bailey for Thirteenth Straight Season
The Capitol car returns with the retro Rocketeer paint job and the latest Capitol logo with blue striping on the cowel of the car.
Capitol Auto Group, a Chevrolet, Cadillac, Scion, Subaru and Toyota dealer based in Salem have renewed their marketing partnership with Rich Bailey for the thirteenth straight year. The dealership has a big presence in the community as Capitol was recently named "2012 Salem Business of the Year" by the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Bailey is also well connected in the community and is excited to race and promote Capitol Auto Group for yet another year. "Capitol has been a great partner and I'm excited to have the opportunity to represent them for another season both on and off the track" Bailey said.
This season the car will go retro as Bailey is bringing back the popular Rocketeer theme that the car sported in 2010 but Capitol will have a larger, more pronounced look then it did then. "The Rocketeer theme was a big plus because it attracted a lot of attention which is good for Capitol. The vinyl wrap from last season looked great but heading into the third year with it made me decide it was time for a change back to what made the car stand out as the Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer dragster" Bailey said.
In addition to Capitol, Bailey enjoys associate sponsors including Royal Purple Synthetic Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Image Actionwear, KYKN, Walery's Pizza, Competition Printing, SS Specialties, King Engine Bearings, Supervinyl Signs and Banners, Clear Signal, Marsh-Canby Transmissions, Adams Rib BBQ Sauce, Salem Geeks and MV Mobile Detail.
Winter Rod and Speed Show 2013 a Success!
There was a lot to see and do at this year's Winter Rod and Speed Show held in Albany
The 2013 Winter Rod and Speed Show located inside the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany was a giant success as over 100 cars were in attendance along with a lot of different activities for spectators. This year's group of cars were over all the best we have seen at the Winter Show in terms of quality. Many show patrons commented on the wide variety of cars and activities found at this year's show.
The King of the show was Don and Robin Pyle's new Willys Ameicar (shown above) that was unveiled to a large crowd shortly after the show began. Don was choked up by the outpouring of interest and that all of his hard work had finally come to fruition. He passed over a California show to debut the car in Albany.
A wide variety of cars made this year's event a great father and son outing.
Over 2,500 people people looked over hot rods, race cars, street rods and classics. In addition, NHRA champ 240 Gordie and NBA Star Scott Haskin were signing autographs and were a big draw in the Clear Signal Booth. The event also included a NASCAR simulator, Reptile Man, model car contest hosted by national model car figure Ed January and Stan Reaser, a pinstriping exhibition, music by Apollo 4 and a slot car track thanks to Glen Fuller from A Step Above Hobby. This year, the model car and pinstriping expo were moved into the lobby which proved to be a popular location as most patrons stopped on their way out to look over the fine artistic displays. Also, the live surfer music by Apollo 4 was well received and made some patrons asking for more.
Scott Haskin signing cards with Janelle Roah, sales manager of Clear Signal in the background
For the first time the show included a food drive which was a big success. The drive was designed to helped unemployed families in Linn County. All the food will be picked up by FISH and distributed to low income families in the area. Some families brought cases and sacks of food to the show. On Friday night there was a big exhibitor's pizza feed and reception that was very popular with car owners and vendors. The dinner was held during set up and was closed to the general public.
A big thanks to those that participated. Also, a big thanks to KRKT, KLOO, Joe Radio, KYKN, Clear Signal, The Lars Larson Show, Albany NAPA Auto Parts, BI-Mart, Tom's Tropies, Jeff Howell, Burgerville and Bi Mart. Thanks also to Cece, Richard, Diana, Paul, Dave, Vickie, Cookie, Craig, The Professor, and Adam for their hard work in making the event a success.
Capracing.com Has Best Year Ever!
Capitol Auto Group Racing would like to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year. We would also like to thank each and every one of you for making this website, capracing.com a success! This year alone capracing.com had nearly 1.5 Million Hits, our best year ever according to Awstats that keeps track of this stuff. The actual number for 2012 was 1,466,336 hits. Hits are defined as every time somone clicks on something that's on your website. So, each visitor will likely give you multible hits. The site also attracted nearly 20,000 different visitors (19,819) for a total of 32,581 visits for the year. Not too bad for this little racing team out of Oregon.
Read more 2012 stories Here