// January / Febuary 2017 \\
Ron Capps - 2016 Funny Car Champion
TEXT WHEELS TO 42828
RETAIL PRICE $11.95
COMPLETE AUTO & LIGHT TRUCK REPAIR
FOR ALL YOUR FAMILY & BUSINESS NEEDS
“Serving Our Community for 30 years!”
FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED DIESEL PERFORMANCE
763-413-4944 HAM LAKE, MN www.hooze4x4.com
OWNER Scott Robinson firstname.lastname@example.org 612.730.3719
OFFICE STAFF 763.421.4400
AR/AP // Stacy Robinson VP EVENTS // Sharon Robinson
January / February 2017
OFFICE MANAGER/ SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT
Sadie Robinson email@example.com 763.421.4400
HI PREFORMANCE ENGINEERING
RON CAPPS - FUNNY CAR CHAMPION
GRAPHIC DESIGNER // Chris Weidenbach firstname.lastname@example.org 763.421.4400
p g .0 4
PHOTOGRAPHERS & WRITERS
Mylie Lavold Tom Edwards Billy Boyle Jenna Osterlund Ceaja Philp Steve Casper Michael D. Peterson Bailey Sens
ADVERTISING STAFF SALES // Scott Robinson email@example.com 612.730.3719
SUBSCRIPTIONS $34.99 1 year // Printed Media FREE// eSubscription 763.421.4400 www.wheelofthunder.net All content published herein is owned exclusively by Wheels of Thunder Magazine. Reproduction or futher dissemination of the content herein is strictly prohibited without the express written authorization of Wheels of Thunder magazine.
Biggest Show On Ice & Snow Schedule [Pre-Event]
ISOC Schedule [Pre-Event]
ERX Schedule [Pre-Event]
G N I R E E N I G E EN
C N A M R O F R
Written By < / Andi Johnson & Jenna Osterlund > Photography By < / Andi Johnson >
Over the years many changes have taken place in the powersports industry. Machines and accessories evolve as engineers
and designers strive to continuously improve. The same fact rings true of companies that serve powersport enthusiasts, particularly Hi-Performance Engineering.
HPE was founded in 1981 by former Arctic Cat Racer, Glen Follett, and originally homed in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Glen and his staff helped everyone get the parts and accessories necessary to enjoy outdoor recreation and included a special program for snowmobile racers to support their competition efforts. Fast forward thirty-five years to today and HPE has seen some major changes. Glen has retired and Dustin Berger and Chris Carlson have stepped up in his place. HPE has moved and is now located in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. What remains the same is the dedicated staff helping everyone get the parts and accessories they need and the continued support program for their racers ranging from Maine to Alaska. HPE’s ground roots always have been snowmobiling but they’ve branched out their line to ATV parts and now include quad and dirt bike racers in their program. There are a wide variety of racers that participate with HPE and each one of them have a unique story. Whether they race snowmobiles or quads, new or vintage, ovals or drags, snow, dirt or water, they are all connected by their passion for competition and speed. HPE embraces them all. A few of them shared their stories with us. PAGE 4
FIND US ON FACEBOOK “WHEELS OF THUNDER.NET”
JAN / FEB
What are your experiences with racing? LONERO // Last year I earned a High Points Championship in Super Stock, a second place in Modified, and a third in Open Mod. So far with one of five races underway in 2017 I have a first in Super Stock, Masters, Open Mod, and DNF due to a belt failure in Modified. Fortunately in Modified I finished second, but first in qualifying, so I’m sitting in fifth place. I’m looking forward to following our XMR circuit in Colorado and Wyoming and then I’m off to West Yellowstone to run against the best in the west! Now that I’m older racing has taken on a new meaning to me. In a nutshell I’m most proud of being part of a fantastic group of friends and families that helped bring oval racing back to the Colorado and Wyoming region. BOLLESEN // The boys have had a ton of fun with many memorable moments. They have placed in the top three at ERX year end points and finished first and second in the Pro 206 class of the DMC series which ran concurrent with the USXC cross country circuit. This year we’ve had our ups and downs. We are currently in third and fourth overall in the Junior Novice Class and third and fifth overall in the Transition Class. It’s good, but we need to get more consistent. The boys are trying hard and giving it their best every time they hit the track! They’re looking forward to going to their favorite event – the final invite only ISOC Race in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It is so cool. The weather is great, you park on the airport runway and it’s just an overall fun race. MAKI-ZURN // A highlight would definitely be becoming a World Champion. I won my first title back in 2010 in the 800 Drags and became the first female World Champion in IWA Circuit history. That was my second year of racing. I’ve also won the same title in the class in 2014 and 2015. It’s the largest class of people entering and mainly male-dominated, so I feel pretty good about being a consistent competitor with everyone. I’ve also been able to nail the season points Championship in the class three times and go completely undefeated in 2015. That was a HUGE goal of mine! Last year had its rough patches for me because we were running a new set up in my sled and had some demons to work out. We got it all figured out but I definitely struggled a bit at times. I could not be totally bummed because I was still able to podium finish in both the drags and ovals for 2016. Even with all of that, I still had an amazing season because I got to watch my husband, Shawn Zurn, win the 40th Annual World Championship of Waterx in the Pro Open Oval class and became the season points champ. No one works harder than that guy and it was amazing to see his hard work finally pay off for himself and not just all of us on the team that he does so much for. I’m definitely excited to have seven races on the schedule for this summer. Menomonie, Wisconsin’s Lion’s Club is hosting a brand new race and I’m stocked to be running this new venue! JAN / FEB 2017
OLSON // A highlight for me has to be the race win at MWEDT National last year in Hutchinson, Minnesota. It was my first ever national and it was an emotional moment! The 2016 D23 Minnesota Dirt Track schedule was awesome with thirteen races. After all the years of racing, the time off and coming back to finally win a championship in a district class made it worth it. Hopefully more national events will happen this year. I’m trying to get some cash sponsors now.
How has HPE factored into your racing? LONERO // I have been a long time customer of HPE but I joined their race program five years ago and the support and service has been a key to my success on the track. Most recently I’ve been getting drive/clutching and oil products mostly related to my race sleds, but their complete product line up serves our family’s mountain riding needs just as well. We live in a time where the brick and mortar stores are being challenged with internet sales, and in dealing with internet sales lies the problem of speaking with a service center representative that is aloof and disengaged from the product. At HPE the enthusiasm for their customers and markets they service and attentiveness to service and quality of care in shipping and handling far exceeds any of their peer, not to mention any retail establishment. BOLLESEN // That’s a funny question. I’m actually from Theif River Falls where the original HPE was located and I bought from them there, so I’ve been a customer for about 25 years. I was so happy to learn that they were now down here in the metro area which makes it so convenient for me to do either order things online or just stop by and pick something up on the way home. The best part about HPE is they have everything, it’s literally one-stop shopping. I can stop by and get a Speedwerx clutch spring or get a Fett Brothers chassis tool or pick up a part for the trailer. They not only have parts for the newer sleds but they have a a vast supply of parts for non-current sleds as well. We have been on the HPE Race Support Program for two years now. Honestly, it has been great and we will continue our relationship as long as they keep us! I have picked up so many last-minute parts there that I would have had to wait three days to get otherwise. The staff is really great. They have a small town feel to them an are always willing to help. I would definitely recommend them to other racers, and even if you’re not a racer, stop by and check out the store. They have a ton of items for all recreational vehicles.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK “WHEELS OF THUNDER.NET”
JAN / FEB
MAKI-ZURN // My husband got us involved because he was a loyal customer and then we became sponsored. We get everything at HPE from fuel jugs to sled parts. As long as I can remember I’ve had an HPE sticker somewhere on my sled! It’s so nice to have the people from the company come out to watch us race and show their support! It means a lot. HPE has been wonderful to us and not just during the months we race. It’s nice when your sponsors actually get to know their racers and you’re not just a number. They have been of great help to our racing and snowmobile needs. HPE is fast and efficient, especially when we are in a time crunch between races and practices. i encourage any racer to take the time and fill out an application for their program! OLSON // Hpe was approached to help us with some distract races last year. They attended lots of them and supported us the best they could! I get trailer parts as well as miscellaneous ATV items like plugs and filters. I’m hoping to do some snowmobile racing next winter so the support will help tremendously. The staff has been phenomenal! I can’t say enough good things. HPE is a great local company that strives to work hard for their customer! To check out Hi-Performance Engineering you can go to www.hiperf.com or visit their store at 2415 Pilot Knob Road in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. //
JAN / FEB 2017
Performance Driven! Performance Proven!
Everything about an Ultimax belt is designed to deliver superior performance and dependability. On the track or on the trail, you can depend on Ultimax. Champions choose Ultimax, the same belt available from your local powersports dealer.
Improved design for greater flexibility and cooler running. Designed for machines under 500cc. One year warranty. Made in USA.
Delivers enhanced performance and longer belt life. The advanced design dissipates heat and boosts flexibility. One year warranty. Made in USA.
Peak power and efficiency for screaminâ€™ high-performance. Purpose-built for high horsepower sleds. Specially formulated rubber compound found in no other snowmobile belt. One year warranty. Made in USA. The Ultimax family includes UltiMAX, Ultimax PRO and Ultimax XS snowmobile belts; Ultimax ATV and Ultimax ATV HQ drive belts for ATVs, UTVs and SxSs; and Ultimax MD (Multi-Duty).
Find the right belt for your machine with our easy-to-use Belt Finder:
– FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED SINCE 1991 –
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF SERVICE
WE SERVICE ALL YEARS, MAKES & MODELS OF VEHICLES
TIRES AND ALIGNMENT VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR DEALS & COUPONS Call our shop today at 763-441-6592 to make an appointment or stop by! 17119 Hwy. 10 // Elk River, MN 55330
CLOSE TO MYSTIC LAKE & CANTERBURY DOWNS
1244 CANTERBURY ROAD SHAKOPEE, MN 55379
Arizonas Bar & Grill Indoor pool & 2 spa tubs Nightclub with live bands on Fridays & Saturdays New fitness center
TX-2 RECORDING TACHOMETER Compatible with Most Ignition Systems ON SALE!
3 Version’s Available * Dash Mount—4.0” & 4.5” &
*Record for 1, 5 or 10 Minutes *Remote Button Recording
*Record from RPM threshold. *Runs on AC or DC Voltage
*Replay in Full or 1/3 speed *Optional Shift Light
* Water Resistant
Digatron - DT64-RACE- Competition Series Starting @
Record & Download w/ Alarms
2-Exhaust Gas Temperature’s
U L C EX
T G E SIVE
Drive/Jackshaft RPM, MPH Drive Ratio & Distance Traveled! Only Weighs 7.1 oz.!
Exhaust Gas Technologies Inc. 15642 DuPont Ave. Suite B Chino, CA 91710
Toll Free 1-(800)348-4678 ~ Fax 1-(909)680-3226 email ~ Sales@exhaustgas.com
WE ALSO CARRY:
OPEN YEAR-ROUND SEASONAL PACKAGES FAMILY REUNIONS CORPORATE OUTINGS
Luxury Lakeside LODGE HOMES & CABINS
WEDDINGS & EVENTS FREE WI-FI
1330 Halberstadt Rd
B0-BOEN SNOWMOBILE TRAIL PIT STOP #1
ST. GERMAIN, WI
CALL TODAY 1.800.563.4340 -OR- 715.479.5778
Written By < / Tom Edwards >
2016 FUNNY CAR CHAMPION Ron Capps and I have a few things in common. We both like drag racing, rock ‘n roll and have lived in San Diego County for years. There is something that makes it easy to tell us apart; he has a Funny Car championship. The popular Don Schumacher Racing driver earned having the number 1 on the side of his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T fuel coupe for the 2017 season with a down to the wire finish at the Finals in Pomona. My wife Cathy and I have seen a lot of races at the historic track and Ron’s championship season was strongly supported by the fans. It took him 22 years to become an overnight success. The 2016 season saw Ron reach career highs in final rounds with 10, round wins with 53 and a career high matching 5 wins in his Rahn Tobler tuned race car. The championship was clinched after the completion of Saturday qualifying. Ron finished 71 points ahead of teammate Tommy Johnson, Jr. It was a great way to complete the season for both drivers. Ron has been around drag racing virtually his entire life. As a 6 year old he attended The Last Drag Race at Lions, a well-known southern California track. For the 190 NHRA season he was a crew member on Alan and Blaine Johnson’s Top Alcohol dragster. In 1995 he made his professional driving debut behind the wheel of Roger Primm’s Top Fuel dragster. Career win number 1 came later that year in Seattle. That caught the eye of drag racing legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. Ron ran a 6 race schedule in Top Fuel qualifying 4 times during the 1996 season. PAGE 18
FIND US ON FACEBOOK “WHEELS OF THUNDER.NET”
JAN / FEB
Photography By < / Tom Edwards >
I’m guessing 1997 was a memorable year for him. Having settled into a Funny Car he turned on the win light twice in 3 final rounds to finish an impressive 5th in points. He is the first Funny Car driver to go 315 mph with a 315.45 pass in Houston and was named the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award winner. Ron upped his season win total to 5 in 1998 and won the Funny Car bonus race. He did it again the following season. The 2000 campaign saw him go to 7 final rounds and earn 1 Wally, the trophy named for N.H.R.A. founder Wally Parks presented to race winners. He finished the year in second place for the second time in 3 years. 2002 was a good season for the Don Prudhomme Snake Racing team. Ron won the $100,000 Funny Car bonus race and in Columbus, Ohio he joined Top Fuel teammate Larry Dixon, Jr. in the winners circle. “Strong” is a good way to describe the 2003 season. For the 7th consecutive year he finished in the Funny Car top 10 and established career bests in elapsed time and speed. Ron obviously enjoyed that top speed of his career deal. Continue page 18 JAN / FEB 2017
He did it again the following season at the first Las Vegas race of the season. Cathy and I were in the stands for that run and, no surprise here, it was fun to watch. 37 round wins and 7 finals lead the Funny Car class in 2005 and earned another second place finish. That year marked his transition from driving for The Snake to Don Schumacher Racing. Teammate Gary Scelzi edged him by 8 points for the closest finish in Funny Car history. In 2006 it was another career best year with 8 finals and 5 wins. The first 6 races saw 5 finals, 3 wins and a semi-finals finish. Funny Car drivers couldn’t have been happy to see Ron in the other lane as they pulled up to the Christmas Tree. 2008 saw 2 finals during his first year with NAPA as his primary sponsor. The following season was, you guessed it, another solid year. In 7 finals Ron turned on the win light 5 times and finished in the top 3 again. For the 2010 campaign it was another top 10 finish. You probably see a pattern developing here. 2011 was, say it with me, another top 10 finish. If Ron thought Gary Scezli’s 8 point margin of victory was a tough pill to swallow he was right but in 2012 he finished in second place by (wait for it) 2 points. Once again, Ron Capps was in the closest finish in Funny Car history. Of his 5 wins Cathy and I had fun watching the win at Brainerd International Raceway. 3 wins in 5 finals highlighted his 2013 season and he qualified for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Also that year he had a cameo in the “Snake & Mongoo$e” feature film. I purchased a copy of the CD and cracked up when I saw Snake and Goose also had a small part. That’s only fair. In the film they drove a golf cart, not Funny Cars. The following season it was another
FIND US ON FACEBOOK “WHEELS OF THUNDER.NET”
JAN / FEB
Brainerd victory coupled with an Epping, New Hampshire win. Having lived in New England, I enjoy their sense of humor. The Gator Nationals has an alligator on a set of slicks for their logo. That makes sense. For the New England race, I thought a lobster (or, for those of you that live in New England, Laub-stuh) on a set of slicks for their logo was a perfect fit. The 2015 season would mark the final year with Ron not being fitted for a championship ring. I’m retired and have the opportunity to do photography with a lot of professional athletes. Regardless of the dollar figures on their contracts I can’t tell you how often I have heard some variation of “I want the ring that says champion”. The second winningest driver in Funny Car history, someone with a great knowledge of drag racing history earned his championship ring at the final race of the year that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Funny Car racing. After more than 2 decades of relentless effort, I found that appropriate. What a better place to win it than at the intersection of Wally Parker Blvd. and Parker Ave., the street signs located near the Christmas Tree. //
JAN / FEB 2017
GEAR UP FOR WINTER Our SV1 Snow Vests are designed to offer impact and abrasion protection while riding in the snow. They are fully adjustable for a customized fit. Both vests are equipped with the RECCO Avalanche Rescue System in case things go south and can be worn under or over a snow jacket.
SV1-TRAIL SNOW VEST // Durable Ballistic Nylon and Ballistic Mesh outer shell construction // Removable wind stopper fleece collar // Hi-Vis reflective piping // Ignition kill tether attachment
SV1-RACE SNOW VEST // Durable Ballistic Nylon and Ballistic Mesh outer shell construction // Neck brace compatible // Ignition kill tether attachment // Back panel ready for race number application
763-576-1706 6781 HWY. 10 NW.Ramsey, MN 55303
Screenprint & Embroidery
We DO Custom Print and EmbroiderY for all your racing and business needs to your Satisfaction!
3220 Bridge St #101 St. Francis, MN 55070 763-443-2243 www.ezteezmn .com
T-Shirts Jackets Hats Promotional Items & More / / FOLLOW US //
QUALITY REPRODUCTION PARTS for vintage Arctic Cat snowmobiles 320-248-5577 SAUK RAPIDS, MN
Honest, Competitive & Knowledgeable
Complete Automotive Repair Specialty Professionals in RACLE LIGHTING Products & Services Custom Fabrications Super Chargers Suspension Wheels & Tires NO COMMISSION BASED SALES FAST TURN AROUND TIME COMPETITIVE PRICING WITH UNMATCHED QUALITY FAMILY OWNED & OPERATED
JAN / FEB 2017
3980 Stark Drive NW St. Francis, MN 763-753-8282
ALL-NEW ALL-NEW KODIAK KODIAK 700 700 EPS EPS ® ®
STARTING AT $$6,999** STARTING AT 6,999
THE THE ULTIMATE ULTIMATE WORK/HUNT WORK/HUNT ALL ALL DAY, DAY, EVERYDAY EVERYDAY ATV. ATV.
• Completely new model is new standard in ultra-reliable ATVs delivering class-leading performance, features & value Completely new708cc model is new standard in ultra-reliable performance, value • All-new DOHC engine delivers smooth, best in class ATVs powerdelivering & torque, class-leading optimized for all day work •features Compact&styling ® • All-new DOHC 708cc engine delivers smooth, best in class power & torque, optimized for all day work • Compact styling with heavy-duty front & rear racks & 1,322 lb. towing capacity • Ultramatic Transmission is industry’s most durable automatic ® with & rear downhill racks & 1,322 towing for capacity • Ultramatic Transmission is industry’s mostfor durable CVT heavy-duty and featuresfront all-wheel enginelb.braking optimal control • New class-leading suspension all-dayautomatic comfort CVT and features all-wheel downhill engine braking for optimal control • New class-leading suspension for all-day comfort • New rear sealed wet brake provides strong, reliable stopping power & reduced maintenance • Kodiak 700 available in three • Newmodels rear sealed wet brake provides strong, reliable stopping power & reduced maintenance • Kodiak 700 available in three great great models
*Manufacturer’s suggested retail price shown. Prices may vary due to supply, freight, etc. Actual prices set by the dealer. Product and specifications subject to change without notice. Availability subject to production, stocking, and Demand. MSRP for base Kodiak model. Kodiak 700 EPS SE shown from $8,899. Professional rider depicted on closed course. ATV models shown are recommended for use only by riders 16 years and older. Yamaha recommends that all ATV riders take an approved training course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at *Manufacturer’s price shown. PricesFor mayyour varysafety: due toAlways supply,avoid freight, Actual prices set by dealer. to change without notice. subject to production, stocking, and Demand. MSRPand foralcohol/ base Kodiak Kodiak 700excessive EPS SE shown 1-800-887-2887.suggested ATVs can retail be hazardous to operate. pavedetc. surfaces. Never ride on the public roads.Product Alwaysand wearspecifications a helmet, eyesubject protection and protective clothing.Availability Never carry passengers. Never engage in stunt riding. Riding drugsmodel. don’t mix. Avoid speed. frombe$8,899. Professional depictedterrain. on closed course. ATV models shown are©2015 recommended useCorporation, only by riders 16 years and older. Yamaha recommends that all ATV riders take an approved training course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at And particularly careful rider on difficult Shown with optional accessories. Yamaha for Motor U.S.A. All rights reserved. • YamahaOutdoors.com 1-800-887-2887. ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: Always avoid paved surfaces. Never ride on public roads. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. Never carry passengers. Never engage in stunt riding. Riding and alcohol/ drugs don’t mix. Avoid excessive speed. And be particularly careful on difficult terrain. Shown with optional accessories. ©2015 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. • YamahaOutdoors.com
Hello Wheels of Thunder fans! A belated Happy New Year to all of you! GameON! hopes your 2017 is off and running, accelerator wide open and the wind in your hair! There is SO much to enjoy in the great Midwest outdoors! If you are here that means you know that Wheels of Thunder is the leader when it comes to showcasing our region. Wheels of Thunder is all things WHEELS! Every issue. Every page turn. GameON! TV is grateful for our partnership with Wheels of Thunder! GameON! is your weekly TV Sports & entertainment show that shines the spotlight on the huge popularity of sports in our region. In this issue of Wheels of Thunder, you’ll see, betterrific stories to the most passionate motorsporter than ANY magazine, all the unique stories, fans in the country! pictures and sponsor lowdown right at your fingertips. It’s only found by Wheels of Thunder. Emmy award winning GameON! is now in its 5th broadcast season. From the Vikings to the red hot So, just like our grit and muddy friends at WoT, Wild, the up-and-coming Timberwolves, MLS GameON! loves motor and ALL sports, from bound United FC soccer, the new look Twins and the variety of professional, college & high school so much more. sports to all the outdoor events that dot our regional landscape. Check us out too! GameON! broadcasts in full HD. Get to us by our free APP (for Apple & GameON’s partnership with Wheels of Thunder Android phones), our show website www.Gameis stronger than ever and just like you, we also OnTvMN.com, our facebook site (friend us @ enjoy the most comprehensive race magazine and GameON on facebook), and on twitter #gamewebsite to be found! ontvmn. See you on TV via Twin Cities on FOX’s MY29 and throughout the region on the MidCo Wheels of Thunder magazine “gets it” and gets you the latest info, amazing pictures and all those Sports Network.
PAGE 48 FIND US ON FACEBOOK “WHEELS OF THUNDER”
specializes in drag race cars, roll cages and street cars.
763.227.4349 We have over 30 years of experience and a great passion for building race cars and restoring classics
Drag Races Cars Chassis Upgrade Street Cars Chrome Moly Roll Cages Back Half Rear End Narrowing
1 Off Buffet limited 2 $ 00
LARGE INVENTORY OF USED SNOWMOBILES FOR SALE
• Parts for most makes and models • Buy, sell, trade • Top dollar for snowmobiles & salvage • Cranks and Cylinders (Rebuilt and Used) • Electrical • Engines (Rebuilt and Used) • Hoods • Suspension • Tracks (New and Used) • UPS available daily • Ship parts world wide
BEST BEST IN IN BUSINESS BUSINESS