Wednesday, January 30, 2013

NHRA's Capps Set For Super Bowl Sideline Duty

The offseason may be nearing an end for competitors on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, but veteran Funny Car driver Ron Capps shows no sign of slowing down.

Capps is set make his annual cross-country trip from his home base near San Diego to Portland, Maine, for two days of appearances on behalf of his sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts. He’ll then fly to Atlantic City Friday to host the NAPA Atlantic City Indoor Race for TQ Midgets on Feb. 1-2 at the fabled Boardwalk Hall.
Through it all, though, Capps will be looking ahead to Sunday, when he travels to New Orleans in search of more fun than any Mardi Gras party could provide. A lifelong fan of the San Francisco 49ers – Capps  will be in attendance at Super Bowl XLVII Sunday, but not in the grandstands or a luxury suite.
In fact, the only ones with a better view of the action will be the players, coaches and officials.
The driver of Don Schumacher Racing’s NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car will be working the sidelines for San Francisco radio station KNBR, carrying a parabolic microphone for the flagship station of the 49ers Radio Network. The opportunity arose thanks to his friendship with station-owner Mike Hohler, and Capps was determined to make the best of it.
“Just having the Niners being in the Super Bowl is huge,” said Capps. “But to go to my first Super Bowl and be able to work on the sidelines is going to be unbelievable. I’ve been watching Super Bowl coverage this week, and highlights from other Super Bowls show how the sidelines are packed with media, movie stars and athletes. It will be fun working at the game and being that close to the action.
“It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Capps will fly from Atlantic City Sunday morning and go directly to the Superdome to begin preparations for the big game. While he was able to make sleeping arrangements in a friend’s time-share apartment for Sunday night, he admits, “I’d sleep in a car if I had to.”
Sunday will actually mark Capps’ second stint as a sideline worker at an NFL game. The five-time 2012 NHRA Funny Car winner debuted as a microphone holder when the 49ers beat Arizona, 24-3, near in Monday Night Football action last October, one day after he won the Funny Car title at Las Vegas.
In addition to standing close to the action, Capps said his sideline job offers a unique opportunity to eavesdrop on some of the game’s on-field conversations.
“It is so cool to hear all the chatter and `smack talk’ going on with the players,” he said. “It’s pretty wild. As a 49er fan, this will be a dream come true.”
Even though he makes his living at 320 mph, Capps said there are hazards to the job, as well.
“When guys came toward me trying to make a tackle, I found myself running to get closer to the action,” he recalled. “I was almost risking myself at times, just to get that good sound. I got into the job and tried to be the best microphone holder they ever had, but after the game I started to wonder what I was doing.”
No matter what the outcome of Sunday’s game, Capps said he will remain a committed, professional microphone technician.
“If the Niners win, I promise I won’t throw the microphone. The guys at KNBR put a lot of trust in me, and I take it very seriously.
“But I might have to pay for a new one if I get too caught up in celebrating.”

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