LIHUE — Gail Shigematsu said PS&D Napa Auto & Truck Parts was not going to cancel Sunday’s event just because of the weather.
“We’ve had lots of phone calls from people,” Shigematsu said. “Finally, I got Ron Victorino to go on the radio and let people know that we were not going to cancel the appearance of Ron Capps, National Hot Rod Association driver.”
Tony Ricci of the Garden Isle Racing Association lost little time getting the celebrity racing driver to lend his efforts to the Kauai drag racing scene.
“He was going to present the shirt he wore at Brainerd to one of his friends,” said Shelley Capps, patiently waiting to the side while her husband tended to a long line of fans. “But Tony got him to autograph the shirt and will be using it as a way to help the GIRA youth program.”
Capps, racing to three victories in five final rounds in 2013, visited the Lihue PS&D Napa Auto & Truck Parts for a meet-and-greet and autograph session while on a break from the NHRA racing circuit.
“We worked hard for this,” Shigematsu said. “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.”
Capps, taking time to meet individually with his fans, finished second in the point standings by a record two points in 2012, the fourth time he’s been the championship runner-up. During that year, Capps also attained his career best Estimated Time of 3.964 at Englishtown, running his career best speed of 320.89 mph.
Capps earned his first career win in Seattle in 1995.
Shigematsu was pleased with the response of fans who braved the weather conditions; Kauai was under a tropical storm warning and flash flood watch due to the passage of Hurricane Ana.
“With this kind of response, hopefully, he’ll see it in his heart to come back and visit again,” Shigematsu said. “With the storm approaching, we even moved him indoors so he wouldn’t have to sign things in the high humidity we’ve had.”
Capps’ appearance was marked with specials in the store as well as free hot dogs, pizza and other refreshments.