The inaugural Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage is more than just an opportunity to race for a game-changing $250,000 prize for three-time Funny Car world champion Ron Capps. Set for Feb. 8-10, 2024, at Bradenton Motorsports Park, the PRO Superstar Shootout is also a unique way to collaborate with his fellow drivers and team owners on a first-time event intended to help take the sport of professional drag racing to the next level.
While competing for a fourth title at the end of the 2023 NHRA season, Capps also started working with the Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO) on the development of the PRO Superstar Shootout. As a nitro racing veteran and lifelong fan of all forms of motorsports, Capps has provided input on the event along with other drivers and owners in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock.
“It’s been so crazy to watch everybody jump in,” Capps said. “I’ve gotten to know people on the PRO board involved in this event that I really didn’t know that well beforehand. It’s been a lot of fun to watch Wes Buck and Drag Illustrated and Michelle [Domagala] and everybody from PRO and all these people behind the scenes, plus the collaboration with FloRacing. It’s been very impressive to watch everybody work so hard together when we all race each other on the racetrack.”
The PRO Superstar Shootout was conceived as a thrilling start to the 2024 season. The event schedule will allow teams to test in prime conditions for a few days before going into race mode. Competition will begin with one qualifying session under the lights on Thursday, Feb. 8. Three action-packed rounds of qualifying will follow on Friday, Feb. 9. The eight qualified drivers in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and the 16 qualified drivers in Pro Stock will draw chips to determine the pairings for Saturday eliminations. The Top Fuel and Funny Car winners will walk away with $250,000 each, while the Pro Stock winner will take home $125,000.
“This event has been snowballing since the idea came up,” Capps said. “I’m pretty pumped about it. It’s fun to hear all the ideas. But I think the format will be something that we as fans – even though we’re racers – have always thought, ‘let’s try this’ or ‘let’s try that.’ Now is going to be the chance we get to finally do that.”
As a nitro racer of more than 20 years, Capps is no stranger to competing in one-off, big-money shootouts. But the PRO Superstar Shootout’s $250,000 payday certainly caught his attention, especially since he’s going into just his third season as the owner of Ron Capps Motorsports. But more importantly, as Capps noted, is the way the big prizes have captured the attention of the racing industry as a whole.
“We wanted to make it the largest payout in drag racing history and make it legit,” Capps said. “I think that’s huge. Right away when it was first announced, our sponsor, NAPA Auto Parts, saw the headlines and wanted to know more about it. I think it raised a lot of eyebrows with a lot of companies.”
Capps realizes he has a monumental task ahead of him before he can start thinking about the prize money, though. Thirteen Funny Car drivers were invited to take part in qualifying, with the eight quickest drivers moving on to eliminations. Qualifying won’t mean anything after the first chip draw, and without an eliminations ladder, teams won’t know who they’ll face in the next round until the post-round chip draws.
“You’re gonna have to be ready to learn on the fly who you have next,” Capps said. “A lot of the crew chiefs say they race the racetrack, but a lot of them also race the other crew chiefs. Drivers, we have to race the other driver. Everybody’s different. Whether it’s Pro Stock or the fuel cars, it’s going to be exciting for us on the grounds at Bradenton, but I guarantee for everyone tuned in across the world on FloRacing, it’s going to be even more exciting. They’re going to know as quick as we do, if not sooner sometimes, who our next opponent will be. That’s going to create a lot of excitement, I guarantee it.”
FloRacing, the official livestreaming partner of the PRO Superstar Shootout, will offer exclusive coverage of the event starting on Thursday and running through the final rounds on Saturday. FloRacing’s broadcast will take viewers behind the scenes and into the pits with several teams. The Austin, Texas-based livestreaming platform has rapidly expanded its drag racing offerings in recent years, and Capps is excited to see the brand add the PRO Superstar Shootout to its lineup.
“I’m such a rabid racing fan that I’m constantly on FloRacing watching mostly dirt racing,” Capps said. “Even when I travel, I take a stick with me and tune in. I’m always watching something going on. The streaming part of racing in general has been fun to watch grow and grow over the years.”
All of the factors of this first-ever event combine to make it a must-win race for Capps.
“It would be huge to be able to win the inaugural event, especially since us, the racers, have worked so hard to help put it on,” Capps said. “I think everyone’s going to want to win this first trophy and take home this first check for sure.”
The Scag Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout presented by JHG, also featuring $250,000-to-win Top Fuel and $125,000-to-win Pro Stock, will take place Feb. 8-10 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Fla. Tickets are now on sale at https://bit.ly/scagpro. Fans can also watch the entire race live through FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3t04gHk.