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


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.

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SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.