Cap Racing Welcomes Troy Hannemann to Team
Capitol Auto Group Racing is excited to announce that blown alcohol hydro boat racer Troy Hannemann is joining the team effective immediately. Not only does Troy have the blown alcohol experience we have been looking for, he also loves and understands the public relations end and promotions side of racing. Troy wants a break from the expense of running his own team and feels this is a good way to stay Active in the sport. Troy (in red) started with us on Saturday beginning with the Oregon State Fair. Please join us in welcoming Troy aboard.
Oregon State Fair Gives Our Sponsors, Woodburn and Race Team Great Exposure! It'a a Win Win!
The Oregon State Fair is now in the books and what a fabulous and busy event it was for the Captiol Racing Team! We met a lot of great people over the last week and even saw some old friends. Over this past weekend people wanted to hug me, some wanted to shake my hand, get an autographed picture and one couple even wanted to pray for my safety. People of all ages, shapes and colors visited us and I enjoyed talking to them all. On Monday we even had family members stop by from CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival).
We didn't know the car was going to be in the fair for the entire 10 day run beginning with a car show on Saturday until the day before fair opened. Of course I jumped at the chance when we were offered a primo spot in the GK Machine Motorsport Expo area by my friend Jim Billings. So I ordered 300 more handout cards to have by the last weekend and it's a good thing I did as I signed a lot of them!
I don't know what it is about this year but everything has been falling into place nicely. We haven't won an event this season but the positive vibes we have received this year from our friends, racers and fans have been like no other. Our confidence level is at an all time high and I haven't worried about a thing all year. I guess when the engine is happy we're happy. Hitting 200 MPH repeatedly has done a lot for this team which used to stumble constantly whether it was our fault or not. But I digress.
On Saturday, Brent came along so we fired up the dragster several times to big crowds. Then five minutes later more people came over after hearing the car clear across the fairgrounds! Jim Livingston from Woodburn Dragstrip was there looking after the car when I was at work as did Deb Denton and Brad Chrisman. We gave out thousands of coupons for the Fall Classic along with some junior dragster racers who were also there. I hope that the weather is good that weekend and even if just half turned out to see us race I'd be very happy but coupon redemption is about 10 percent.
The Capitol dragster appears to becoming a fixture at the fair just like the ol' Fisher Scone stand to some who told me they look forward to seeing it there year after year. They pointed out where the car was parked last year and how their kid has last year’s photo hanging on their wall. Most of all it was the enjoyment people had seeing one of these cars up close and the smile on kid’s faces who just liked how long the car is.
More than one person came by the display to meet our new crew member, Troy Hennemann or mentioned him in conversation. Wow! that shows you just how powerful the internet has become and how interested people are about this team.
I really enjoy this gig, it never gets dull. Except for the times when the dragster was roped off and short breaks in the action that never lasted more than a couple of minutes on the weekends, I was very busy and we had a different kid in the car just about every minute, hour after hour!
Thanks to Dave Wilson, Brent Sanford, Deb Denton, Troy Hennemann, Brad Chrisman, Jim Livingston, GK Machine and Jim Billings for their help in making this successful ten day run at the fair a reality.
A Long Stretch of Shows including the Night of Fire, Family Fun Fest and Cycle Country!
Wow! What a big weekend! We did two big events last Friday and Saturday! And of course the Night of Fire we produce in house along with several other caring people. The Night of Fire was another giant success after a three year absence.
The following weekend the car was at Cycle Country for three consecutive days. Plus, we finally got the trailer lettered by Mark Adams at Supervinyl and it looks great! Below is a quick summary of the events we have done in August so far.
The Night of Fire
First, on Friday, our Night of Fire Car Show was a big success as we attracted around 150 cars and about 1,000 or so spectators. The event raised money for a second grade girl with leukemia after we pay our bills. We fired up the Capitol Dragster 3 times and once it got dark you could see some spectacular white flames coming out of the pipes! I only got a few photos from the event as my battery ran out of juice but other than that everything went perfectly. Oh how I wish we had photos of the flames coming out of the Capitol car! The event raised over $1,200 for the family of Keelie Curran.
The Family Fun Festival
I saw some signs up around town when I was putting up my Night of Fire signs which advertised the Family Fun Festival at River Front Park which was scheduled for the day after the Night of Fire. So, with nothing planned for Saturday I called the organization behind the event and they enthusiastically ok’d me being there. I told them the car would be a big hit. I wasn’t kidding! I had a solid line with no breaks from 30 minutes after the event opened at 10AM until 2PM when it closed.
Sometimes 30 people would be in line. Last year they estimated 3,000 people were there and I’m sure that was the case this year and half of them sat in the dragster! I signed pictures and gave away little bags of Jelly Belly candy that Ed Jones who drives the Jelly Belly car gave me the night before. The trailer finally got the signs on it and made for a great backdrop!
We were initially going to do a display Thursday for a remote with KYKN but the owner of the Cycle Country store asked if we would stretch it out for two more days. Since they are an NGK retailer and the car was available we agreed to do it. Why not? The photo is of the car with the new vinyl signs on the trailed applied by Supervinyl signs of Salem. Thanks to Richard Lytle for his help.
Central Lions Club Car Show
It was the dog days of summer with highs approaching 102 degrees! Since we had nothing on the schedule we took the Capitol Dragster to Independence for the Central Lions Club car show. Even though it was hot it was still a good show with quite a few locals showing up off and on. We had a lot of people come by and look as well as sit in the car. The event was at the park down near the river and it was a great setting for the dragster with lots of shade. Thanks to Ray Lancaster and Dave Faller for their help.
Capitol Dragster Continues to Run Well in Montana
The CD's skipped in the truck, the cots we slept on were about as comfortable as something manufactured in North Korea, there was a major semi-truck crash on the freeway just minutes before we passed by and our truck had to be topped off with coolant on every stop on the way home from Montana. It's sounds like the making of an awful trip but actually it was pretty awesome. In fact, it was a great trip, the same scene as one year ago where the Capitol Team regrouped and has been running nearly perfectly ever since. Oh yeah, we would like to go quicker but the car is running competitively and has not broke any parts all season. That in it self is a very good thing especially after three races in a row!
As was the case last year we stayed at Richard Huffman's River Bend Ranch in Missoula which alone is worth the trip. We stayed there on the way and the way back from from Lost Creek Raceway near Butte. Richard who is the new business relations manager for TrailWest Bank secured us a sponsorship for the race which covered our fuel for the truck, which was four tanks full plus he took us out for dinner when we arrived into town on Thursday.
Richard also brought to the track 150 pink plastic piggy banks and muscle car calendars which we gave out at the race. It was quite a site to see the crew throwing these pink piggybanks to the people in the old rickety bleachers as everyone wanted them! By the end of the event on Saturday they were all gone. I had no idea we were going to do any of this before leaving Oregon but it ended up being a great marketing promotion and made us one of the most popular teams in the pits. Plus, our t-shirt sales went well too.
On Friday, the car was on display at a Car Quest store in Butte and then we went to the track at about 4 PM. A kid even came by the display and said he saw the car on the TV ads. That made me feel pretty good hearing that.
Later that night, I made my first pass just before dark along side the reining champion Brent Jones in the Lawless Racing funny car. I had great .0004 reaction time which was good for the $100 Good Vibrations Best Reaction Time Award. Unfortunately, Brent won the round in spite of my better reaction time.
On Saturday, we were the first of the DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder cars to run and just before the fire up there was a short sprinkle. After a quick delay, we took on Larry DeMott in a similar Blown Alcohol Dragster. I beat Larry on both ends of the track with a 4.78 but our time was not quick enough to go to the final round.
In round two, we stepped it up as we faced Kelly Flansass in the Rocky Mountain Corvette flopper to whom we are tied with in the points battle. At the hit, Kelly had an .0030 of a second reaction time to my .0060. Both cars were side by side in one of the closest races of the round. At the finish it was the funny car even though I had a quicker 4.68 ET to his 4.69. Last year I beat him on a hole shot and this year he returned the favor. Neither of went quick enough to reach the final and we both remained tied for 3rd in points with one points race to go in September.
Thanks to Richard Huffman, Brent Sanford, Richard Lytle and Duane Huffines for all of the help this weekend it was another great weekend under the Big Sky!
The Best of Times on the Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder "Big Sky Swing"
We are having a great time on the DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder circuit racing, selling shirts and even hocking Adam's Rib BBQ sauce. The folks in Spokane and Yakima love the sauce and I've sold a lot of it. The car is running as good as the sauce right now and we are enjoying every minute of it, racing all over the Northwest. We are the I-84 Warriors because we see more of I-84 than anyone would ever want too!
Right now we are tied for third place after three races in the DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Series. I am hoping this weekend during the last race of the “Big Sky Swing” that we can catch up to the points leader Brent Jones or at the very least break the tie with the beautiful Rocky Mountain Thunder Corvette Funny Car for whom we are currently tied with. Third out of the 15 cars in our series isn’t too bad as the competition has really stepped up this year especially the Rocky Mountain Thunder guys. Win loose or draw the teams are all friends but everyone wants to win and we might bring out our little pulley this weekend that's known to break a few parts on occassion. But that's what you need to do when you are racing at over a mile altitude
Last weekend we took our 200 MPH tune up to Spokane for the Nitro Summer Nationals but the high elevation and bad air didn’t help and the best we were able to run was a 7.08 at 194 MPH. But it was a good race for us anyway as the car still ran strong on every single pass in front of several thousand cheering fans! Speaking of fans, a guy was at the Spokane race from Georgia and mentions he comes to our site regularly so I better update this site more.
Speaking of media, there is a great story about our racing series on the popular dragracingonline.com website. There is also a great photo of us in the article. And we were even on the TV news in Yakima for a brief moment. If that wasn’t enough we are currently in a TV commercial advertising this weekend’s race in Butte Montana on the NBC affiliate there. On top of all that, I was also interviewed by OJ the announcer at the Spokane race. OJ has become a great friend of the team and we all enjoy visiting with him.
Once the race in Montana is completed, we will be done with the road trips until September when we will have just one more trip to Yakima for the final points race of the year. The rest of the time we will be doing lots of events and two additional races in our local area. Enclosed are some photos from the last couple of race during our three races in a row “Big Sky Swing”. A big thanks to Duane, Richard and Brent for all their help on this three race marathon!
Big July 4 Weekend of Racing and Displaying
It was a BIG 4th of July weekend in terms of exposure for our sponsors! First, we had a great outing in Yakima at the second Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder race of the season. The car ran great as it has all year and we were in the top half of the field but not quite quick enough to go to the final round. There were 13 cars in the field and three of them are heavy hitters and had three tenths of a second on me. But we didn’t hurt anything and we were even on the local TV news!
On Sunday, the car was returned home to Oregon for Western Days on the 4th in Monmouth and Independence which included the three mile parade that was packed from one end to the other.
After the parade, the dragster was placed at the Western Days festival grounds where they light off the fireworks. We let the kids sit in the car and I signed pictures and sold t-shirts. It got crazy busy the closer we got to the big fireworks show. I’m not sure how many people saw the car but between the parade and the display I would say thousands and thousands! A lot of good will was exchanged through out the day and night with the general public.
We are back on the road again for a couple of Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder races in Spokane and then in Butte Montana for the “Big Sky Swing” but will be back in time for Crazy Days in Dallas and for the next major race in Woodburn called the Night of Fire towards the end of the month. Then it’s our car show the first week of August also called the Night of Fire which is for a little girl with leukemia from Albany.
A Candid Interview with Cap Racing's Rich Bailey
Since we can't get an interview on the Mick Miles show, Flip Jones (FJ) from Acme Marketing, in Paw Paw Michigan was willing to take some time to talk to Rich Bailey (RB) the driver and owner of the Capitol Auto Group Race Team about what it takes to survive in today's relatively unstable world of motorsports.
(FJ) First, congrats on breaking the 200 MPH mark. That had to be a thrill!
(RB) Yes, that's the big one and yes the longer it took the more special it became. Some guys have the means to get it done right away. Not us, it took over 19 years! Unless you win the lotto, breaking 200 MPH is it. Breaking 300 MPH is top fuel territory and I'm certain we'll never get there without winning a hefty lottery. We were always close but never got there and finally we ran 204 and then my team backed it up with 205 on the same weekend. When I hit the chutes there was definitely a difference in the tug.
(FJ) Are their any past goals that rival breaking the 200 mark?
(RB) Yes the first was getting into the 6 second zone. The reason that was important is because it would have never happened without Art Mendoza. He believed in me before we ever knew each other and provided the engine to move up to blown alcohol when I was struggling on my own with an injected engine. The other was when I went to a Toys are Us and picked up a diecast dragster that I had designed right off the shelf. It was a Rhonda Hartman car and I had no idea they were selling them. My dad had recently died and I wish he could have seen that. Something that came out of my brain was being sold nationally at a major retailer. That's great stuff. I did four more that also became die cast cars. I refer to them as my hit records.
(FJ) Looking around your cluttered office I don't see any NHRA Gold man awards.
(RB) Sadly, you probably never will. As much as I love NHRA like a stock car fan loves NASCAR, their series is not conducive to how I run my program. Mostly, NHRA sportsman racing is all take and it has to be to pay their purse and overhead. But at least at a casino money comes back out of the slot machine once in a while to keep you going. Blown alcohol cars only workout financially in the Top Alcohol Dragster class and you need a giant budget to begin with. Also, the Top Dragster class which we could compete in doesn't have the class at the Seattle Northwest Nationals. And where are the fans at the divisional events? It's like SCCA club racing now. That's not the way it used to be.
A few years ago at the last NHRA race of the season in Medford I was told nicely that "I needed to put a golf cart on my Christmas wish list". I said why? we're not golfers. Well, that was the new rule we we're told - No full size trucks to retrieve the car or tow it around the pits. Here we were just barely getting over those Southern Oregon hills at 35 MPH and now we were going to add even more weight to the trailer. Plus, I didn't have an extra one or two grand sitting around for ground transportation. Since then, I have wrote NHRA a couple of times explaining that this is a bad rule because even if I could fit a golf cart in my new trailer which I can't, I'll be over weight and the law is cracking down on racers. I know I got whacked and that's another problem just getting your car to the track legally. By the way, I got no response from NHRA concerning my brilliant point. I guess they think pickups are passe' and everyone now has a $150,000 toter set up.
(FJ) So, how did you fill the void now that you were no longer racing in the NHRA?
(RB) That winter, after we were informed about the golf cart business, I was reading a column in Drag Racing Online where Jeff Burk said that NHRA wasn't the end all to drag racing and there are other venues to compete in. He's got a good point I thought. I had heard of this class based in California called Top Eliminator West. I thought California is a long ways to go but it's also cool so I called the organizer and we hit it off and I started racing with them. There was usually 8 to 10 cars at every race and they had a couple of races in Medford. We also raced at Sacramento and even Sears Point at the Pinks race! We finished eighth or ninth the first year, then we finished fifth. The last year we could have finished second but we lost to Steve Will in a double red light at the last race in Redding and had to settle for fourth. The next year the group disbanded just prior to the start of the season and so we were without a home.
The following year my good friend Derek Snelson became the track manager at Yakima and to make a long story short we joined forces and started our own Pro Comp racing series similar to TEW called DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder. We are in our third season and we have more teams participating this year and I think our racers are happy. In fact, the regulars are like a family to me. We have done well too. We finished second the first year and third last season.
(FJ) Rich, you seem to have your fingers in a lot of pies.
(RB) Yes I do. I design racecar renderings, sponsor proposals, handout cards, t-shirts, event posters, public relations for other teams and websites as part of my ProMotion Motorsports Business. Everything is always the result of a need. Then of course on the flip side, I'm a race team owner, a driver, a race series promoter and a car show promoter. You have to do something in the winter right? How does it continue every year? I have no idea. I just don't watch any TV. My team members and other associates are a big help. And I want to give a lot of kudos to Brent Sanford. He's found himself running the mechanical end of the team again and has really stepped up his game.
(FJ) What's your secrete to attracting and keeping Sponsors?
(RB) First, good communication and long lasting relationships. Have I run a perfect ship? Heavens no. But I'm always wanting to change things up and keep it fresh, you have to if you want to do this long term. That means a new look every couple of years. I always worry I'm never doing enough to keep our sponsors interested enough. I know that's NOT the case, but I also know that if we become complacent or if we slow down, rest on our lorals and then hand the sponsors a dud proposal at the end of the year which outlines zero or few events, no photos of happy potential customers looking at the car and no racing success they will go a different direction. So from the start of January we are like a politician running for next season's re-election.
Racing on it's own can hand you a whole lot of lemons and if you don't know that you haven't talked to enough truthful racers. I've learned to make lemonade under some very difficult situations like when I crashed. We went out and bought the Rocketeer and look where we are today. The car has nothing to do with the movie but we kept using the theme and it's turned out to be a great marketing tool for us.
(FJ) Finally, why are racers both nationally and locally struggling to find sponsors?
(RB) This is nothing new but on a national level it's the economy. But I contend too that it costs more to run a Top Fuel dragster, a funny car or a pro stock then most sponsors are willing to spend. NHRA pro racing is a multi-million dollar investment but I believe that most big businesses looks at it as a half million dollar investment at best and that's about all businesses are willing to spend.
As for regionally, most guys are content to put a swirlly paint job on their car and not go after marketing partners anymore. I had a friend come up to me at the track and say that a lot of the guys out there don't like that I have corporate sponsors. I told him rather than worrying about me and how I do it they need to go out there and get there own. And that means doing all the same stuff I do. It's discouraging that here we have the Winter Rod and Speed Show and getting some of the racers to display their cars is like pulling hen's teeth. Look at the Portland Roadster Show, very few racers display their cars at that event. Look at the thousands of people that go to that show to view the cars close up. Until they start displaying their cars this trend will likely continue. And like anything else you have to keep going and never give up. Displaying your car wil open up a lot of impromptu one-on-one meetings with people wanting to help you. Trust me I know.
Capitol Racing Team Reaches Major Milestone! Breaks 200 MPH Barrier on Back to Back Runs!
It's taken nearly 20 years, but the Capitol team finally made it into the 200 MPH club! This is the big milestone since hitting 300 MPH would require us to move into Top Fuel and the odds of that happening are like winning the lotto which is also what it would take do it. Ever since running that first 6 second pass we hoped that it would some day happen but every season we would get close with a 199 MPH or 199.9 MPH like we did at last year's Fall Classic. So, such a historic run for us was never official, it was always close but no cigar. Or as we would say "ABOUT 200 MPH" when anyone would ask how fast the car goes at one of our displays.
This weekend we went into the Rose Festival Drags at Woodburn Dragstrip loose but confident that the car would run well after such a successful weekend in Yakima two weeks prior. We had no idea what would happen and there were no plans to attempt to break 200 but our friend Garry Fauble had other ideas when he volunteered to come up and help. I just hoped what ever the out come we wouldn't hurt anything since we have three races in a row coming up, one in Yakima and then the "Big Sky Swing" where we hit Spokane and then on to Butte Montana.
Before the first hit on Saturday, we noticed some loose pan bolts which lead us to take the lower pan off and check it. The team work of Brent, Duane Turner and Duane Huffines was sensational as the lower pan was off in no time and the top plan bolts were tightened. We also checked a couple of bearings while the lower pan was off and they looked great. The car was all back together and ready to run by the opening round. Garry made some tuning suggestions and we were ready to rock as the last blown car to run just before the jets.
On that historic run (for us anyway) the car passed the stripe at 204 MPH in 6.97 seconds! Before the first pass we had no idea the car was going to run that fast but I knew it was going to be good. I could tell it was a great run when I hit those chutes and the car reacted and I was tugged back in the seat like never before. When the crew came down and Brent told me the news there was a short celebration just like when I made that first 6 second pass with Art Mendoza and the late Jeff Lauener. In fact, Brent suggested that we dedicate our first 200 MPH run to Jeff so we did. On Sunday, the weather was a little warmer so we leaned it out five steps. The car loved it and it and ran a 5.88 at 205 MPH to back up Saturday's run which proved that it was no a flook.
We had a lot of people come by after the runs both Saturday and Sunday including racers I really respect complimenting us on how good we ran. They know all of the struggles we have had from time to time so they could appreciate what we had just done.
I want to thank ALL of our sponsors especially Capitol for backing us for over 16 years and I want to thank my current crew Brent Sanford, Duane Turner, Richard Lytle and Duane Huffines for all of their hard work this year since it has not been easy. I also want to thank everyone that has helped behind the scenes through out my career but there are too many to list and I know I'll forget someone so you all know who you are. Finally, I want to thank all of our former crew members because if it wasn't for their help, the car would have been parked long ago and we wouldn't be where we are today to celebrate this incredible milestone.
Burgerville Kick Off Event Raises $517 for Family
The Albany Burgerville store, donated 10 percent of their total sales last Saturday from 10-3 to the family of Keelie Curran, the 7 year old with Leukemia and our Night of Fire beneficiary. The total amount raised was $517.00. The event was a kick off for the Night of Fire car show coming up on August 5th at the Peoples Church in Salem.
The car turn out was low due to a thunder storm that rolled through the area and because of many other car shows being conducted at the same time. But once the weather improved quite a few cusomers brought their kids out to look at the cars and a good time was had by all.
A big thanks to everyone that attended and to crew member Richard Lytle and Deb Denton who took photos while displaying her Roush Mustang and to Roger Phillips and Bob Morris for displaying their Hot Rods.
Night of Fire Car Show Beneficiary Selected
We have selected our beneficiary for the Night of Fire Car Show on Friday night, August 5th at the Peoples Church in Salem. Our beneficiary is Keelie Curran. She is a 7 year old girl who has a form of leukemia which is currently in remission after a successful bone marrow transplant. Never the less, the family has gone through a lot and still needs help! If you are local please come to the show. If you have a race car, cruiser, Muscle car or a hot rod, please bring it to the show.
If you are out of state and can donate racing shirts or memorabilia we would love to accept for a giant silent auction. Email us here if you can help or need a mailing address to send items.
Capitol Team Finds Improved Performance in Yakima
Photos by Annette Barton
At our season opening race in Medford we uncovered some mechanical problems that needed to be addressed so I came up with a game plan that worked perfectly. Instead of racing at the Woodburn Season Opener with a car that we knew had problems, we opted instead to display the car at a local event and then race the dragster the following weekend in Yakima. This would give us a chance to race in test mode on an eighth mile track that is a little more forgiving as opposed to Woodburn’s full quarter mile. We have gone to Woodburn before not fully prepared and it's an awful position to be in.
The Woodburn race ended up getting canceled due to the rain so we didn't miss much, although, I was uncomfortable with my decision a few days prior to the race. But looking back at it, it was the right decision to have made even if it had turned out to have been sunny and 80 degrees.
So, getting back to Yakima, I arranged a match race to compliment the jet and funnycar show that was already booked through my friend Derek Snelson whom promotes the Yakima track. Well, sadly my opponent was unable to make the race so we made single runs right after the funny cars ran each of there sessions. This was okay by me as testing the car was our main objective.
On the first run Friday night we leaned the car out hoping that fixed one of the big problems as there was excessive alcohol in the crank case after the Medford event. The car did a wheelstand and got a little out of shape so I clicked it off early. After the run we realized leaning it out didn’t help clear up the problem as there was still alcohol in the motor even after changing the oil.
On Saturday, we worked on the car all day and my friend and fellow racer Brent Jones came over and discovered a remedy for the fuel problem and also made some other adjustments. On the first hit on Saturday night the car responded well and ran a 4.58 at 158 MPH. We then came back for the final run of the night under the lights. It was an exciting night time run and the car went quicker yet as it rang up a 4.52 at 158 MPH in the eight mile. We’re now confident that our problems are fixed so we will next head to Woodburn Dragstrip for the Rose Festival Drags on June 11-12.
A big thanks to everyone that helped us out this weekend and a shout out to my hard working team! Brent Sanford, Duane Turner and Duane Huffines did a great job with great team work and attitudes on display all weekend!
Dragster Displayed at the Keizer Iris Festival but Returns to Racing in Yakima Next Weekend
While the car ran okay last weekend and we didn’t hurt anything, we only got one run in at Medford. On that one pass the poor conditions didn't allow me to properly launch the car at full throttle which may be the result of why the car didn't launch correctly. Or, there may be a bug causing the problem. Regardless, we don't want to test during a major event at Woodburn knowing there may be a problem. In addition, there are a couple of other minor bugs that also need to be addressed before going to Woodburn and Yakima's new improved track is the perfect place for ironing out these problems.
So, Saturday we kept it local and displayed the Capitol Auto Group Dragster at the Keizer Iris Festival near the amusement rides rather than race the car at the Season Opener. Also, I had to leave for three hours to attend the memorial service for Russ Barth which also played into our decision not to attend the Season Opener race. But our sponsors were still covered even if it was a static display.
From now until August we have a race about every other weekend so missing this race will give my crew a free weekend since we have been working on the car the previous three weeks in a row. Thanks to Brent Sanford, Duane Turner and Duane Huffines for all their hard work and dedication. Also, a big thanks to Brent, Richard Lytle, the Elks and Dave Walery for making the event at the Keizer Fest possible.
Cold Weather and Poor Traction Doom Medford Race After the First Round of Competition
After arriving in Medford on Friday, the Capitol Car was on display from 2 to 6 at Sherm's Food For Less.
And the winner of the Blown Alcohol Thunder event in Medford was the weather! After a week of hot 85 degree weather, a cold front naturally came rushing in overnight on Friday dooming the Season Opener at Champion Raceway. And the sad thing was the race still could have been contested but the track management errored on the side of caution as an approaching storm that was supposed to have blown through town after the first round never reached the track.
The afternoon wasn't too bad weather wise and it wasn't until we were called to the staging lanes at 5 PM that it began to sprinkle. After an hour delay the alterds ran first and they had a tough time negotiating the track but they got down it. Next it was our turn and we were given a single followed by the funny cars who were also squirly. Early in the day the blown alcohol drivers decided to go ahead and run eighth mile rather than the quarter in the interest of safety.
When it was our turn, I did an okay burnout and then backed up and got in the beams. Since the track was marginal at best, I pussyfooted it off the line by not getting to high up on the converter. There was a little bit of a hesitation like the transbreak did not work but then the car finally started to move and it made a decent run, putting us in the no. 1 position out of the five cars that showed up. When we got back to the pits were were informed that the track would run out the desel pickup class followed by ther jet car and that would be it for the night. So everyone left with a little bit of money and 20 points for the blown alcohol class.
Russ Barth Passes from Cancer
Sadly, I just heard of the passing of a very good friend and the guy that opened the door to my first sponsorship which was followed by many more. If you follow the steps to where we are now, it all started with Russ Barth taking a chance on me when he was the Promotion Manager for KSLM Radio. Without him there would be no Capitol Auto Group Racing because the path would have never found it's way there.
Russ Barth you were a great man and I will miss you. You did a lot of good things in your life for people that could never return the favor such as helping the dirt poor in Africa with reading glasses and helping those in poor African countries at the hight of the AIDS epidemic. In addition you helped people in need here at home and was a part of the Night of Fire by delivering and setting up the sound system every year.
Those of us blessed enough to have known you, love you and you will never be forgotten for the impact you have made in this world.
Getting Ready for Medford
Capitol Team Steps Up Maintenance in 2016
Duane Turner and Brent Sanford prepare the freshened up block at the machine shop.
The Capitol Team is going all out this season on its maintenance program to minimize the chance for catastrophic engine failure. With the help of our new team member and machinist, Duane Turner along with car chief Brent Sanford, the decision was made to go through the entire engine before the first race of the season in Medford, on May 14th.
We had the choice of a quick fix or doing it the right way. Since we had an extra week, we chose the right way and completely refresh the engine. Our plan is to not rely on the oil filter to spot problems but instead to take the pan off regularly through out the season to prevent potential problems before they occur.
Blown Alcohol Thunder Starts May 14 in Medford
DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series Schedule
May 14 Champion Raceway, Medford
July 1-2 Renegade Raceway, Yakima
The Big Sky Swing:
July 8-9 Spokane County Raceway, Spokane
July 15-16 Lost Creek Raceway, Anaconda Montana
Sept. 16-17 The Fall Championship Race, Yakima
For more information Go to: www.capracing.com/blown_alcohol_thunder.html
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Well...We're back in the Trucking Business!
Some of you might remember the mess I found myself in when I was stopped for an illegal registration and the demand by the officer that I get a CDL as a result of having a truck and trailer combination with a manufacturer's rating of over 26,000 pounds. It was a big hassle and I found myself more concerned with getting my CDL then I was about racing the car.
As a result of all the hassles, we eventually moved from a 43 foot gooseneck to a 30 foot tag trailer so we could continue to transport the race car without the need of a CDL, a log book and a medical card.
I thought moving to the smaller trailer would be the end of my new career in the trucking business until my friend Ed Jones called letting me know that he got pulled over in Montana for not having a USDOT number. Ed's combination truck and trailer weighs close to my current combo and he told me he had no choice but to comply with the law since he was now entered into a national data base at the time he was pulled over. One of the regulations I wasn't familiar with is that in order to have a USDOT number you must have a log book and a medical card just like you would if you applied for a CDL.
So, who needs a USDOT number? Anyone with a truck and trailer combination weighing over 10,001 pounds and participating in interstate commerce. This includes any one competing in events where money can be made even if it's not a lot, and even it's personal cargo such as a race car. Not only are racers cought up in these laws but people involved in showing horses, the rodeo, etc. needs to worry. And, you don't necessarily have to have lettering on the side of the trailer to be stopped but it does increase your odds.
After a long talk with Ed, and being that we treat our racing program and related activities as an advertising business, I bit the bullet and re-applied for a USDOT number and had my medical card physical today. We are about to get the trailer lettered but before we do I wanted to be sure that I passed that physical. Otherwise, adding graphics to the side of the trailer would have made us a bigger target to the wrong cop sitting on the side of the road with nothing to do.
Besides the medical card, you have to go through a lot of hoops when you get a USDOT number. However, a race team can be as professional as you want to make it and if you are blessed enough to have good sponsors, receive money from racing then you are considered a commercial enterprise by law and eventually you will wish you had that DOT number, the log book and the medical card if you are ever pulled over for whatever reason an officer wants to come up with. A friend of mine blew by a weigh station once and the DOT inspector nailed him by Googling the sponsor's name that was on the side of the race car trailer as he drove by. He then called the sposnsor to get his name!
So we're back in the trucking business like a bad penney. But you know what? I'm thankful for it because it means that I get to continue to pursue my dream as a race car driver and I get to go out on the road and race while participating in the interstate commerce of selling t-shirts and Adam's Rib BBQ sauce while getting paid to a little bit to race. If I didn't have those great sponsors then I would be sitting at home and there would be no reason to have a USDOT number so it's worth it to me.
Great Fun Had by All at Cascade High School
While it started out chilly and a little slow, our race team had a great time out at Cascade High School's sober grad fundraiser where they had 200 cars on display! When the sun finally came out and it warmed up, moods changed and everyone loosened up a little bit and started to have some fun. All kinds of people came by to see the car including an entire baseball team.
There was one particular fundraiser called the "Traveling Toilet" where students put a yellow toilet in front of your car and you had to pay 5.00 to remove it and send it to another car of your choice. We were below everyone's radar until late in the show, where James Taylor of Break the Chains Racing sent us that eye sore so I paid 5.00 to get it removed and sent back to the Break the Chain folks. They sent it back to us, so another 5.00 and it went anywhere but the Break the Chain gang.
Race Team Makes Updates as Season Approaches
I need to blog more so here it is! The 2016 Northwest Drag Racing season is here which means some updates for the Capitol Team. This year we are switching to the bushing style lifter. At nearly $1,000 a set these bad boys aren't cheap. But the hope is that if we break one, damage will be minimal since they don't have the needle bearings that spread through the engine which can cause all kinds of damage. And while we are at it the connecting rod and main bearings were checked and they need to be replaced along with the oil pump.
One of the coolest things we did was replace the butterflies from red to blue. It really looks nice and very noticeable. On the safety end, we had to yard out the belts to get them re-certified and replaced one of the pilot chutes.
Next, wss some work in the trailer. Today, the winch was upgraded. We had no choice on this one as the cable got stuck again. The good news was that Harbor Freight took good care of us and we got a much better unit than we had before. A lot of people bad mouth Harbor Freight but the moral to the story is if buy anything of any value make sure you get the extend warranty and you'll be fine. If it wasn't for Harbor Freight and Sears we wouldn't be able to afford to have as many tools as we do.
Speaking of good deals, we got a great stereo system for the trailer from Best Buy. I then got a shelf set up at Ace Hardware and we're off to the races in style. Speaking of style, we got some really nice team jackets that were embroidered by my bruthu Kevin down at Image Actionwear. If you need some custom stitching done they are the folks to call on. Next week, we will have our new hero card printed by Competition Printing of Tempe AZ.
Dragster Displayed at South Albany High School
On Saturday the Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer Dragster was displayed at South Albany High School for their benefit car show which raised funds for an upcoming sober grad party for the senior class. It was a good show as 140 cars showed up and quite a few spectators attended so it was great exposure for all of our sponsors. The dragster won the best engine award which we were not expecting but it was a nice award to receive since we spent some time polishing the engine prior to the show.
Capitol Dragster Wins at Portland Roadster Show
Capitol Rocketeer Dragster won the Dragster Class at the 60th annual Portland Roadster Show! This is the first time we have won the Portland Roadster Show which is especially gratifying to car owner Rich Bailey who has been going to the event since he was a kid and finally won a class at the show after three different years of trying. The Capitol car has won a lot of shows in the past including the former Portland Rod and Custom Show but this is the big one as far as car shows go.
Thousands of people attended the event and our dragster was located on a major isle so everyone going to the next building had to pass the car twice which meant great exposure for all of our sponsors! The award was well deserved as we received a lot of complements at the show and we had the best looking race car display bar none! A big thanks to Duane Huffines and Bobby Landsburg who helped set up and take down the display.
The Night of Fire Returns to the Peoples Church Parking Lot in Salem on August 5th
After a long three year absence the Night of Fire returns to the Peoples Church parking lot on Friday night, August 5th from 3PM till dark. Headlining the show will be Ed Jones and his Jelly Belly Wheelstander. There will also be a dragster fire up. Thanks to the Peoples Church for reaching out to Jim Billings and Rich Bailey so they could bring this spectacular free show back to Salem! More details to come your way soon!
Photo by Mark Sharley
ProMotion Welcomes Back Royal Purple
ProMotion Motorsports welcomes back Royal Purple Synthetic Oil for the 19th straight year. Royal Purple is the only oil and transmission fluid used in the Capitol Auto Group Dragster and in the race team's truck.
Part of the race team's long history of success is point of sale displays at auto parts stores including a promotion to give away t-shirts for anyone that purchases oil while the car is on display. The race car has been displayed for Royal Purple at NAPA, Knecht's, Auto Zone, Car Quest, Advance and O'Reilly stores throughout the Northwest.
Royal Purple can be purchased at nearly every auto part chain stores and at Wal Mart stores. Locally, Stuart's Auto Parts on Portland Road sells a wide variety of Royal Purple products at low competitive prices.
Lights Dim on Festival of Lights Christmas Parade
After 25 great years, some better than others depending on the weather, the organizers of the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade have decided to call it quits. There was a theme chosen for the 2016 parade so this announcement broke by the Keizer Times Newspaper came out of nowhere. The Capitol Auto Group Dragster was a regular in the parade for 14 of the last 25 years.
The parade was getting more expensive to do and the entry fee for participants was considerably higher than some of the smaller parades in neighboring communities which may have had something to do with the decline in participation in 2015. Regardless, Bob and Cheryl Mitchell did a great job organizing the event which will be missed by both young and old from all over the Salem Keizer area.
But there is some good news for Keizer! A new Starbucks is planned giving this bedroom community a total of five stores when you include Keizer Station!
1430 KYKN Returns as Media Partner in 2016
1430 KYKN has returned as the official media partner for ProMotion Motorsports. KYKN is a partner in auto show events produced in-house and a big part of the race team's business to business marketing plan.
KYKN has been a affiliated with Rich Bailey's racing program since the beginning of his career in 1998 when he raced the KSLM Good Time Oldies car, a front engine dragster. Later the oldies station was sold and the brand was switched on a modern day rear engine car called "News Talk 1430 Dragster". The program changed in 2000 when Capitol Auto Group came on board but KYKN remained on every Capitol car since then and has always been considered a part of the racing team family.
1430 KYKN is one of the most listened to radio stations between Portland and Sacramento. Its signal can reach into California at night but listeners can hear it 24-7 from anywhere in the world on the web at http://radio.securenetsystems.net/v5/KYKN . The station carries national shows including Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck in the mornings as well as Gator's Radio Experience, a local show, beginning at 4 PM each afternoon. The station also carries Oregon Ducks Football as well as high school sports on Friday nights and a variety of different shows on the weekends.
DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series Grows into a Solid Multi-State Racing League
After updating our DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series website with new cars and information I have suddenly realized that we have a very good league of race teams, colorful cars and personalities. For those that don't know, The DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series is a little bit Top Alcohol, a little bit Pro Mod and a little bit nostalgia all wrapped up into one killer group of blown alcohol cars and events. Back in the old days they called this class ProComp.
After the crucial make or break sophomore season, the series is really maturing into a solid program and is an affordable option for tracks looking for a feature show. Blown Alcohol Thunder is also a great option for racers with rear engine dragsters and funny car that don't quite qualify for Top Alcohol but are also too "new" to run in the exclusive nostalgia groups.
Starting a Pro Comp racing series was a dream of mine for many years but it was hard to get the cars and the tracks to commit without each other already signed. But thanks to Jim Maher and Derek Snelson, it's become a successful reality. Derek who runs Renegade Raceway in Yakima is my partner in this venture and Jim who owns Good Vibrations, a racing parts mail order parts business in California, is our title sponsor and has been from day one.
The series begins in Medford on May 14 and ends on September 17 at Renegade Raceway in Yakima with the "Big Sky Swing" sandwiched in between. Last year, Brent Jones won the series title with his Lawless Funny car and he looks like the driver to beat again in 2016. But a lot of teams are stepping up so it won't be as easy to finish in the top five as it was last year and with low fuel prices, we expect a few more teams to be traveling to more races.
We hope that you will support our racing series if you live within driving distance of one of our events. We feature all very nice cars and good people that put on a great show for the fans. Come check us out at www.capracing.com/blown_alcohol_thunder.html
DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series Schedule
May 14 Champion Raceway, Medford
July 1-2 Renegade Raceway, Yakima
The Big Sky Swing:
July 8-9 Spokane County Raceway, Spokane
July 15-16 Lost Creek Raceway, Anaconda Montana
Sept. 16-17 The Fall Championship Race, Yakima
Capitol Racing Starts a New Chapter in 2016
So far, 2016 is shaping up to be a great year although just like life itself, circumstances can stop progress on a dime when it comes to racing. I have had many situations in the past where it could have been curtains but I have always been able to find a way to rise above it and keep the team a float.
The new year is progressing fabulously. Our in-house produced Winter Rod and Speed Show Presented by Bugerville was a BIG HIT. We had a great crowd and good cars to match. I have received a lot of great feed back since the conclusion of the event and I can't wait to start the recruiting process all over again in late summer and early fall. Speaking of late Summer, an old Summer Favorite might be coming back but more on that when it becomes official. All I can say is that it'll be hot news!
This past weekend,
we had the dragster at the “Left Coast Sha’Bang” Car Show at the State Fairgrounds in Salem (pictured). This event event also had a good turn out of cars and spectators. The race car was placed near the front door as patrons came in the building so we got all of our sponsors some great exposure as everyone that came in saw the car.
While the dragster was inside, we took a couple of hours to clean and organize the trailer. After the show, we took the car home and removed the differential for an inspection and perhaps replacement of the ring and pinion if needed. We also checked the transmission and that looked fine. This was the first time our newly assembled crew members Duane Huffines and Duane Turner have worked on the car and I must say that I’m very optimistic that this will be one of the best teams I have had the pleasure to work with. I bought some new racing jackets for the crew to start anew and we will have new crew shirts soon. Of course nobody can replace Richard but if he is unable to return the team is in great hands.
Next up is the biggest indoor show we will ever do, the 60th annual Portland Roadster Show. This is the big one and I have been told by the folks running the event that they have a very good display space picked out for us. That show is March 18-20, so between now and then we will get the differential serviced and then back in the car so it’s ready to go in time for the Roadster Show.
Winter Rod and Speed Show Presented by Burgerville
Winter Rod and Speed Show Enjoys Another Great Turn Out of Cars and People!
The 2016 Winter Rod and Speed Show Presented By Burgerville held in Albany, Oregon expanded from a one day show to a two day show. The Friday night experiment of opening the event on Friday night worked so well that we are already planning to do it again next year. In fact, the show was ready to open an hour early and spectators began arrive early. Saturday's crowd was also very good.
In terms of quality, some commented that this year's show was the best Winter Rod and Speed Show ever. The model car contest held independently at the show also enjoyed more entries and interest. For those that missed the Rat Rod show billed as the "Left Coast Sha Bang" in the back building, that event happens in Salem at the State Fairgrounds on Saturday, February 6th from 9 to 5.
Thanks to a super group of people that made the Winter Rod and Speed Show presented by Burgerville a success including Ray Lancaster, Michele Rowell Coffey, Carolyn Wilson , Dave Wilson, Duane Huffines, Duane Turner, Paul Finister, Jason Grassman, Dave Cookman, Ashley Rae, Heidi Lyn, Kenny Youngblood, Pat Coffey, Annette Barton , Laura Morett and Susan Bailey. And thanks to all of our exhibitors, vendors, spectators and sponsors. Your involvement regardless of what capacity is more appreciated then you will ever know!
CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW
EPA Clarifies Position: Cars Used Exclusively for Racing Not Covered in New Law
After the press release that SEMA sent out on Monday suggesting that street cars modified for racing would be banned, the EPA has clarified their position according to Road and Track Magazine. It turns out that the situation isn't nearly as bad as everyone was lead to believe. According to the EPA, beginning in 2018 you can’t modify the exhaust system or anything related to emissions on any street car or a street car you also use for racing. That said, there is zero threat that this law as implemented will be a threat to the future of motorsports. In fact, the EPA spokesman said they have no interest in regulating race cars. Just knowing that is a good thing.
This law is really about monkeying with emission controls and exhaust systems on street cars. But here is where the confusion is, the law includes the same street car that is used for both racing and as a daily driver. For an example, if a guy has an import car which he races at the import drags, he is prohibited from making any emissions modifications on that particular vehicle if he’s also going to use it as a street car.
Of course SEMA is going to be up in arms about this law no matter what since they represent companies that make custom exhaust systems and emission modifications but the press release made the whole situation sound a whole lot worse than it really is.
To read the original SEMA press release go here: https://www.sema.org/news/2016/02/08/epa-seeks-to-prohibit-conversion-of-vehicles-into-racecars
Capitol Racing Welcomes Duane Turner while Richard Lytle Convalesces Due to Health Challanges
Capitol Racing welcomes Duane Turner as a new crew member. Duane who resides in Corvallis, currently races in the nostalgia class and brings a wealth of racing and mechanical experience to the Capitol team. Duane Turner joins Duane Huffines as new teammates to owner driver Rich Bailey and car chief Brent Sanford.
Together both Duane Turner and Duane Huffines replace Richard Lytle who had to quit the team over lingering health issues. Brent Sanford will over see the crew and run the car. In addition Ray Lancaster will be helping with displays at selected area events.
Richard Lytle always has a place on the Capitol team. He has been a trooper through thick and thin for five years even when his health hasn't been the best. Sadly his body is telling him to slow down for a while. We hope his health improves enough so he can return to the race team or pursue other interests.
Duane Turner's racing experience even though it's in a much slower class will help the team immediately. He will learn quick. Besides racing, Duane Turner makes his living as a machinist and a mechanic for a family owned business. Duane Huffines joined the team this past fall and has been doing a lot displays so far in the post racing season. Both Mr. Huffines and Mr. Turner are married to supportive wives.
Capitol Racing Welcomes Back Product Sponsors
NGK Spark Plugs and King Engine Bearings
Both NGK and King Engine Bearings have re-committed for the 2016 season as product sponsors. NGK is the leader in spark plug technology in every racing, motorcycle and automotive category.
King Engine bearings are second to none. They manufacture their bearings in Israel using the best materials and the strictest manufacturing process. Capitol Auto Group Racing has a great long term relationship with both NGK and King Engine Bearings and we are glad to have them back for the 2016 season.
For more information about NGK Spark Plugs go to www.ngksparkplugsusa.com
King Engine Bearings can be purchased from Summit Click Here
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