Atlanta Ron Capps Runner-up at Atlanta

COMMERCE, Ga., May 7, 2000 - Put another runner-up finish next to Ron Capps' name in NHRA Funny Car competition this year. That makes four in seven races and keeps his U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro team solidly among the top three in the chase for...

COMMERCE, Ga., May 7, 2000 - Put another runner-up finish next to Ron Capps' name in NHRA Funny Car competition this year. That makes four in seven races and keeps his U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro team solidly among the top three in the chase for the coveted Winston Series championship.

For the second consecutive week and third time in 2000, Capps battled John Force in the final round, this time in the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Capps left the starting line first but couldn't hold off Force's closing charge of 4.929 seconds at 289.14 mph to a 5.023 at 291.70.

The outcome moved Capps closer to first-place Jerry Toliver in the point standings - 589 to 528 - and he now trails second-place Force, 559-528.

"You wait for some of those guys ahead of you in points to falter, but they just keep going rounds and we just keep going rounds," said Capps. "We did gain points on the leader, so that's the silver lining, but we are extremely disappointed we lost.

"We really thought we could beat them, but, at the same time, we have to realize this is the consistency it takes to win a championship. If we keep running like we are and getting to the finals, we are going to win some races."

Capps had a .479 reaction time to Force's .541, but the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro spun the tires hard near the finish line and Force past him.

Capps was runner-up to Force at Richmond, Va., last week and at Phoenix in February earlier in the campaign. He finished second to Toliver at Gainesville, Fla., in March.

He started the day from the No. 9 position with a best of 4.991 seconds, then marched through the field until clashing with Force.

A crucial part of the season, back-to-back races at Englishtown, N.J., Dallas and Chicago, begins May 19-21.

"We're looking forward to it," said Capps. "And we're looking forward to getting a win."

Qualified: No. 9, 4.991 seconds at 298.67 mph. First Round: Capps, 5.023 at 291.70 def. Bruce Sarver, 8.064 at 101.71; Quarterfinals: Capps, 4.975 at 296.18 def. Dean Skuza, 5.011 at 295.79; Semifinals: Capps, 4.947 at 296.18 def. Todd Paton, 6.772 at 130.12; Final: John Force, 4.929 at 289.14 def. Capps, 5.023 at 291.70.

Pro Winners: Gary Scelzi, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Pro Stock.

Next Event: Matco Tools Spring Supernationals, May 19-21, Englishtown, N.J. TV: ESPN2, Qualifying, May 20, 7-9 p.m. (EDT); Eliminations, May 21, 4:30-6 p.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Jeg Coughlin , Dean Skuza , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Todd Paton , Jerry Toliver