Carlsbad man shares experience after his race car exploded: Ron Capps walked away without a scratch

Driver's family was in stands when it occurred

CARLSBAD, Calif. - At the first race of the National Hot Rod Association season over the weekend, Carlsbad resident Ron Capps had the ride of his life.

"All I can really remember is the flash and an orange ball of flame," Capps said after his engine exploded when he was traveling at more than 300 mph. "Things were flying by like I was in hyperspace and that's a good thing, then 'kaboom.'"

Capps, who has 20 years under his belt driving funny cars, has had this happen before but this one was more powerful.

"It felt like a stick of dynamite going off," he said.

The NHRA mandates the cars and drivers have a number of safety concerns in place, such as roll cages, protective gear for the driver and an automatic parachute deployment if there is a mishap.  

"Believe me, I wouldn't be here talking to you if that wasn't the case," said Capps. "I would have been seriously hurt or run off the end of the track at 300 mph."  

The car exploded near where Capps' family was sitting. After being helped from his race car, he was shown on the big screen so his family could see he was OK.  

"You know, even after all this, I feel safer in my race car at 300 mph than I do driving my kids to school on the I-5," he said from his Carlsbad living room.

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