Photo: Ashley Cappetta
When one thinks of NHL hockey fans in the state of Pennsylvania, people donning the apparel of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers likely come to mind. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and one fan of the Washington Capitals took her fandom to the next level by incorporating her family’s passion and business into her love for the Capitals and former Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.
Ashley Cappetta is a second-generation sprint car racer from East Berlin, Pennsylvania who, despite being close to Philadelphia, is a diehard Washington Capitals fan, donning the Capitals’ logo on her racing helmet. One of her favorite Capitals players was goaltender Braden Holtby, who departed the team in free agency prior to the 2020-21 season.
Despite no longer donning a Capitals sweater, Ashley decided to pay homage to the “Holtbeast” by having a helmet created with both a Capitals and Vancouver Canucks theme.
NoVa Caps’ Michael Fleetwood conducted an interview with Ashley to ask her about the helmet, her love for the Capitals, and what it’s like to incorporate her love of hockey into racing.
Dave Dellinger/Ashley Cappetta Racing
Q: First, I have to ask. Where did your love of the Capitals come from and what is it like being a Caps fan just a couple of hours from Philadelphia?
A: My one friend was a huge Caps fan so the first game I went to was game 7 Capitals Vs the Pens. I loved the atmosphere, the team, and instantly loved Holtbys passion and how he structured himself. I like everyone on the team obviously but Holtby always stood out to me the most. I don’t like any PA teams in anything to be honest haha.
Q: Have you ever attended any Capitals games in Philly?
A: Yes I have attended a few.
Q: Your new helmet is absolutely amazing. How many Capitals-themed helmets do you use in any one racing season and do they ever draw any attention from your fellow racers?
A: I have 2 with the newest one I got that has the Capitals and the Canucks on it. I have been using the first one I got which was painted to look like Holtby’s goalie helmet as soon as I got it and still use it. The deal was if the Caps won the Stanley Cup I would get a helmet made.
Q: You mention Braden Holtby as one of your favorite Capitals players. Is he your favorite of all-time or are there others that have been up there on your totem pole of favorite players?
A: He is definitely going to stick with me forever no matter where he goes, unless he becomes a Pen lol totally kidding. I literally cried when he left. But Capitals will always be my favorite team and Holtby will always be my player.
Q: I understand that you are a second-generation racer. Given your love of the Capitals, did giving hockey a shot ever cross your mind or did your love of the Caps come later?
A: Racing was first in my life for many years, I was introduced to hockey as a full-on fan in 2017 and I’ve missed out on SO much but I am now a forever fan for life, and yes it has crossed my mind many times to play hockey.
Q: Going back to the helmet, did you do anything special to commemorate the team’s 2018 Stanley Cup and/or Holtby’s “The Save”?
A: On the back of my first helmet I did it says Stanley Cup Champions 2018 on it. I also have [Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin] Ovi’s 700 club sticker on top of the helmet now as well which I added after he hit 700.
Q: Finally I have to ask your thoughts on the team this season. Not sure how many games you are able to watch, but what do you think of the team this season and their chances in the 2021 playoffs?
A: I definitely think they look a lot better this season. They have a good chance to go forward in the playoffs as long as they stop fighting so much and stay out of the box and just use their heads as they definitely know how to do. They have to play the entire game not just the first part or the last.
Since @Holts170 was always one of my favorite @Capitals player I had to have @ShellShockCo do a helmet with my favorite team and Holtbys new team on the other side. Definitely miss him! pic.twitter.com/rrmMWdiXEx
— Ashley Cappetta (@A_Cappetta89) April 27, 2021
Ashley added that one of her fire suits she wears during races looks like the Capitals’ Alternate jerseys with stars and matching gloves. In addition, her racing tool box is similar in appearance and has a Capitals logo in the corner.
A huge thanks to Ashley Cappetta for her time!
By Michael Fleetwood