Drag racer Ron Capps doesn’t let hurricane stop Hawaii appearance

0 Comments

When you drive a car that produces nearly 10,000 horsepower and reaches speeds approaching 330 mph, a hurricane with wind speeds over 100 mph is nothing.

That was the case Sunday for NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps.

The veteran racer makes a yearly goodwill trip to the Hawaiian islands to check out a very robust drag racing scene there, meet with fans and fellow racers and enjoy the normally great weather.

While the weather didn’t exactly cooperate Sunday, with Hurricane Ana threatening the islands, Capps still went ahead with his first-ever appearance on the island of Kauai.

And just like Capps, drag racing fans on the island didn’t let the weather deter them from seeing one of the NHRA’s biggest stars, showing up in force at PS&D Napa Auto & Truck Parts store in Lihue.

“We were not going to cancel the appearance,” store owner Gail Shigematsu told the Garden Island newspaper. “We worked hard for this.

“For several years, we wanted him, but couldn’t get him. Now, he cancelled his Maui appearance and is going to be on the Big Island. We were not going to cancel.”

The local Garden Isle Racing Association (GIRA) had been trying to get Capps to visit Kauai for several years and finally succeeded this year.

In turn, Capps helped the association’s fund-raising efforts, including autographing and auctioning off a the shirt he wore in his 43rd career win at this year’s rain-delayed Brainerd (Minnesota) race.

Because of the weather and scheduling, the final round of the Brainerd race was relocated and held the following week prior to the U.S. Nationals in suburban Indianapolis.

By the time Hurricane Ana neared the Kauai coastline, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm, but still brought heavy rains and a flash flood watch in its wake.

But that didn’t keep the hearty drag racing fans from turning out en masse.

“With this kind of response, hopefully, he’ll see it in his heart to come back and visit again,” Shigematsu said.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski