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Giaffone, Lasoski, and History Making Capps at Talladega

Talladega, AL (April 1, 2003) IRL IndyCar Series driver, Felipe Giaffone joined O'Reilly World of Outlaws driver, Danny Lasoski for driver practice at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for round two of the 2003 True Value IROC series this Saturday, April 5.

Giaffone has never been to Talladega and was very impressed with how well the IROC cars performed on the 2.66-mile, high-banked, tri-oval.

Giaffone said, "I'm really enjoying this track. It is different from Daytona, much wider, smoother and feels like there is more banking. There will be a lot of racing action here and more side-by-side racing and for sure, the last lap will be very exciting."

Giaffone joined fellow participant Lasoski and test drivers, Dick Trickle and Andy Hillenburg for two simulated race runs.

Giaffone continued, "With the two runs we did today the crew members would tell us, 'five to go, four to go, three to go,' which was good for practicing how to get to the finish up front. In one practice race I finished second, and in the other, I finished first, but -- it's just a practice race."


A bit of IROC history was made Tuesday at Talladega Superspeedway as NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps became the first drag racer to take a few laps in an IROC car. Capps, who has oval track racing experience, had preseason discussions with IROC officials, which resulted in an invitation to take a few laps in the IROC cars.

Capps said, "Talladega is awe inspiring to a drag racer, I came here when my boss Don Prudhomme was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame. But, driving through to the inside of the track today and getting a chance to drive an IROC car, with all the history involved is just unbelievable for me."

Capps made a few preliminary tours of the racetrack in a street car with the test drivers and before long, IROC President, Jay Signore gave the signal for Ron to suit up. An accomplished driving school teacher, Andy Hillenburg, who owns and operates Fast Track racing school, had Capps up to full throttle within ten laps.

Capps said, "I'm in the car and the radios are hooked up together and Hillenburg and I are having a conversation at 180 mph about how he wants me to pull up closer to him. I said, 'Andy, are you sure about this?' I'd only been out there about ten-laps. We were going wide open and he had me following him all over the place. We ran down around the apron for a few laps and then he said we were going to explore other parts of the race track and before you know it, he had me running 180 MPH, about a foot away from the wall - If that doesn't get your heart pumped, I don't know what will."

Capps went out for one more session but this time in a four-car draft with Giaffone, Lasoski, and test driver Dick Trickle.

"Man was that unbelievable, said Capps." Capps was last in line drafting with Trickle when suddenly Trickle shot up to the wall between Turns 1 and 2 to pass Giaffone and Lasoski. Capps said, "I started to go with him and then quickly remembered -- I'm not that good yet -- it was exactly like Days of Thunder."

Trickle said, "He (Capps) did an excellent job. We had him up front, behind us, three-wide and he had great car control the entire time . . . very impressive."

Hillenburg said, "Ron did a great job. I was really pleased with his progress. I had him follow me, I followed him, ran some side-by-side stuff - I mean, Ron is a major league racecar driver and has great capability. I think it's great that IROC gave him this chance to come out and try this, it's great that they're taking a look at him."

Capps concluded, "The drag racing community has been going wild since this got out about me testing an IROC car. I've gotten more interview requests about this than I do when I win a race. It's been great here today -- talking to Dave Marcis, Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Andy Hillenburg -- I mean this isn't a school; this is the real deal here at Talladega with IROC. I grew up watching this thing with Petty and Earnhardt -- I can't tell you how thrilled I am. "

True Value IROC practice will resume on Wednesday with WoO champion, Steve Kinser joining Danny Lasoski, IndyCar Series driver Felipe Giaffone, and more testing with NHRA driver, Ron Capps.

Tickets for this Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race and round two of the True Value IROC Series at Talladega are available on-line at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.


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