Capps geared to fight it out in Vegas

Updated: April 13, 2005, 7:02 PM ET
By Ron Capps | Special to ESPN.com

Ron Capps
Capps
It's going to be a hectic week. We just raced in Houston, Texas, last weekend, where the Brut Dodge team and I had a really close race in the first round against Cruz Pedregon, but got beat. Now we're heading to Sin City and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for our fifth NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series race of the year and the first of two at this track.

The Strip has a little altitude, because it's in the high desert, and it will be a big change for the crew chiefs. It's also one of the best tracks where we spent the most time in preseason testing in January.

The data the crew chiefs collected at the preseason testing will really help this weekend.

It's a great facility that Bruton Smith built. It holds up even in the warmest conditions, which is tough to do for a lot of these tracks on the NHRA circuit. It's also a place that I've won at before, and it seems you have a little more confidence at a track where you've had good results in the past.

We won there in 2001 and Ace (Ed McCulloch) was my crew chief then, too. It's something we're both proud of.

I am often asked which tracks are my favorites, and Las Vegas, Sonoma and Bristol pop up immediately in my head; they're all owned by Bruton Smith. These tracks have everything you could ask for.

The Las Vegas experience is a treat. To be able to go and enjoy everything the town has to offer and also be racing there is awesome. Anybody who hasn't been to that race and goes there the first time is just in awe. You can watch night qualifying and turn around and you can actually see the Las Vegas Strip glowing on the horizon.

Also it's kind of a home track for me. My brother Jon lives in Las Vegas. Our family and our friends always want to come to see us race around the country and when they look at the schedule one place that pops out all the time is Las Vegas, because it's a great destination for a vacation. And if they can slip in watching a drag race, it works out great for them.

The Strip turns into more of a home track for the West Coasters than Pomona does at times, because everybody wants to come to this race.

One thing we're going to do this weekend, which I did a couple of years ago, is go see the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC has one of the biggest fights in its history in Vegas on Saturday night. I've been a big fan of that sport for a long time. We have our tickets, so when qualifying is over we're going to head over to that.

The last time we went, my wife Shelley and I got some great seats. We sat next to George Clooney, Shaq O'Neill, Kevin James (of the TV show "King of Queens"), The Rock, and a lot of other celebrities. We talked, but they weren't much interested in what I did for a living.

We're all excited about going to this fight and there's a chance we might get some fighters to come out to the track for Friday night qualifying.

Open-wheel racers Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy are coming out on Friday also. They live here and they'll drop into our pits for a visit.

It's a good thing there's a race here, and it's my job, or I'd be out there enjoying the Vegas nightlife too much.

Ron Capps drives a Funny Car in the NHRA for Don Schumacher Racing. He is providing a diary to ESPN.com throughout the 2005 season.

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