During the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, Terry Capp and his crew chief, Hall of Fame member Bernie Fedderly, were instrumental in bringing Canadian Top Fuel drag cars to the forefront of the North American drag-racing scene. He was honoured four times by making the cover of the NHRA’s National Dragster magazine and the highlight of his career was winning the Top Fuel championship at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 1980.Much ado has been made about Hall-of-Famer Gary Beck, the all conquering Top Fuel hero who lived in Edmonton and was instrumental in making drag racing a truly international sport. But Terry Capp was his equal.Terry started drag racing in 1967 with Fedderly and the two made a formidable team for most of Terry’s career. Their initial entry was a 1951 Anglia B/Gasser that produced more success than is usually expected from a first-car effort, winning the Western Canadian Championship Series that season. In 1968 and 1969, they quickened their pace with a C/Dragster and then switched to the lightening fast A/Fuel Dragster category in 1970. Shortly thereafter, they met up with Wes Van Dusen, who had a Top Fuel dragster but needed extra assistance in campaigning the machine. A three-way partnership was formed. Terry purchased a 426 Hemi from a retired US Funny Car racer and the team went to Saskatchewan International Raceway for a meet and surprised everybody, especially themselves, by hitting a 6.42 second run-225 mph-which set a Canadian record. Terry’s thundering performances proved to be no fluke as he journeyed to the United States to race in division VI at Seattle International Raceway and he came away with an even more impressive 6.40 sec run (236 mph), something (as the Americans said) that Canadians weren’t suppose to do. Beck convinced them to go rear engine in 1972 and they finished in the Top Ten of the NHRA World championship Series, something again they weren’t suppose to do. Many wins and regional championships followed. In 1980, Terry went up against the likes of Beck, Connie Kalitta, Shirley Muldowney and Dick Lahaie at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Qualifying second with a 5.80 sec. ET at 243.24 mph, Terry beat Jeb Allen in the final, posting the quickest side by side race in history, winning with a 5.82 sec. ET at 241.93 mph to a 5.99 sec. ET at 245.23 mph. Terry went into semi-retirement after that, but teamed up with Ron Hodgson. Gordon Jenner, Dale Adams in 1988 to try Top Fuel racing again. They won the AHRA World Finals in Spokane that year and went back to the US Nationals in Indianapolis where Terry qualified ninth, loosing in the second round with a gigantic wheel stand. Over the next decade Terry kept his Top Fuel and Funny Car licenses current by running match races throughout Canada and the US. And then in 2000 he returned to the AHRA World Finals in Spokane, Wash. where after the smoke had cleared, he added another trophy to his collection by posting a time of 5.22 seconds and a 297 mph run, winning the AHRA World Finals. Not bad for a semi-retired driver. Terry Capp says he’s not finished. Before he hangs up the helmet for good, he wants to make a 300 plus mph pass in the 4-second range. He’s had a 5.02 run at 297.97 mph, so that barrier can’t be far off.
Image via Drag Race Alberta