BRISTOL, Tenn., April 29, 2001- Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro driver Ron Capps notched his first Funny Car win of the season today at the inaugural Mac Tools Nationals at Bristol Dragway. But it may have been more notable for the fact that it was...
BRISTOL, Tenn., April 29, 2001- Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro driver Ron Capps notched his first Funny Car win of the season today at the inaugural Mac Tools Nationals at Bristol Dragway. But it may have been more notable for the fact that it was team-owner Don Prudhomme's 70th combined victory as an owner/driver.
At the last three events on the NHRA Winston championship tour Prudhomme racecars have reached the winner's circle. First came Tommy Johnson's victory last month at Las Vegas, then Larry Dixon's win last week at Gainesville Raceway. Today the 35 year-old Capps duplicated his teammates' accomplishments by defeating Al Hofmann in the title match. The win was made even sweeter since Prudhomme won the last NHRA national event in Top Fuel here in 1967.
"All week back home in California we've been talking about the old Bristol races," explained Capps. "I was two years old when 'Snake' won the last race here. That shows you what kind of legend Don Prudhomme is. It's amazing the people in this area, and how much they remember because it's been unbelievable out in front of our pit area all weekend - fans looking for Snake, looking to get old pictures signed. He's given me a great life so to give him a thrill like this is tremendous."
Capps entered eliminations qualified in the 6 spot. The Skoal Racing Chevrolet knocked out Bob Gilbertson in round one, Tim Wilkerson in round two, and Bruce Sarver in round three before facing Hofmann in the finals.
The title race was all Capps with the green Camaro streaking to the finish line in 5.045 seconds at 288.52 mph to Hofmann's 5.154 elapsed time at 283.79 mph. It was the ninth career win for Capps who moves to third place in the Winston Funny Car standings, just 18 points behind second place Bruce Sarver and 90 points behind the standings' leader John Force.
"We got the new 2001 Camaro a couple of races ago," said Capps, "and I don't think we could have won without it. Force came out with his Roush bodies a couple of years ago and took everything to the next level. General Motors and Chevrolet cranked their program up another notch and did what it takes to produce a winning racecar. We hit the wind tunnel, worked with the Firebirds and the Camaros, and came out with an even better body. There's no two ways about it, today our Chevy Camaro was the best!"
In Pro Stock, Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Cavalier advanced to the second round by defeating Richie Stevens Jr. in round one, but fell to Rickie Smith in round two. Johnson moves back into second place in the Pro Stock points standings.
"This one slipped right through our fingers," said Johnson. "It popped out of fourth gear - I was on an absolutely perfect run. But I think we finally have this new Cavalier figured out. I was having good reaction times all weekend. There was a bad reflection off the dash from the sun in the second round so I was having a little tougher time seeing the tree. I had my worst light of the weekend against Rickie. We should be ready to race the rest of the season with this new Chevy."
Pro Stock was won by Greg Anderson who defeated Jim Yates in the finals. Anderson's Firebird took the win with a holeshot and elapsed time of 6.993 seconds at 196.85 mph. Yates had the better performance number at 6.985 seconds at 197.51 mph but had to settle for runner up.
In Top Fuel, Larry Dixon's Miller Lite/Chevrolet dragster advanced to the semi-finals defeating John Smith in round one and Darrell Russell in round two. In the semifinals Dixon had a red-light foul which allowed eventual race winner Kalitta to advance to the finals.
"I feel lousy right now," said Dixon. You go out there and go red on the starting line - that doesn't make anyone feel good. The consolation prize is that we're the points leaders and we've got another race in five days where I can make it up to the team. We've got a good car. The only way I can explain it is going up, and shooting target practice and you're aiming for the bulls eye every single time. Once in a while you don't even hit the map. Hopefully we've got it out of our system and we can go on."
With wins in Super Stock and Super Gas, Chevrolet was the dominate manufacturer this weekend in the Sportsman categories. Dan Fletcher of Rochester, N.Y,. won Super Stock in the Summit Racing '69 Camaro, and Ricky Hall of Yorktown, Va., took the win in Super Gas in a '68 Camaro.
The next stop on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing tour is the 21st annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway on May 3 -6 in Commerce Ga.
<pre> Pro Stock Race Winner: Greg Anderson (Firebird) 6.993ET/196.85MPH Pro Stock Runner-Up: Jim Yates (Grand Am) 6.985ET/197.51MPH Pro Stock Top Qualifier: Bruce Allen (Grand Am) 6.934ET(track record)/198.47MPH(track record) Pro Stock Top 10: 1. Warren Johnson (Grand Am) 2. Kurt Johnson (Cavalier) 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Cavalier) 4. Jim Yates (Grand Am) 5. Mark Pawuk (Grand Am) 6. Bruce Allen (Grand Am) 7.Brad Jeter (Grand Am) 8. Darrell Alderman (Dodge) 9. Mike Edwards (Cavalier) 10. Ron Krisher
Funny Car Winner: Ron Capps (Camaro) 5.045ET/288.52MPH Funny Car Runner-Up: Al Hofmann (Firebird) 5.154ET/283.79MPH Funny Car Top Qualifier: Gary Densham (Mustang) 4.870ET/303.71MPH Chevrolet Funny Car semifinalists: Ron Capps Funny Car Top 10: 1.John Force (Mustang) 2. Bruce Sarver (Pontiac Firebird) 3. Ron Capps (Chevy Camaro) 4. Whit Bazemore (Pontiac Firebird) 5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Chevy Camaro) 6. Del Worsham (Pontiac Firebird) 7. Dean Skuza (Dodge) 8. Frank Pedregon (Pontiac Firebird) 9. Gary Densham (Mustang) 10. Al Hofmann (Pontiac Firebird)
Top Fuel Winner: Doug Kalitta 4.690ET/300.73MPH Top Fuel Runner-Up: Tony Schumacher 5.056ET/217.14MPH Chevrolet Top Fuel semifinalist: Larry Dixon Top Fuel Top Qualifier: Kenny Bernstein 4.574ET/319.07MPH Top Fuel Top 10: 1. Larry Dixon 2. Mike Dunn 3. Doug Kalitta 4. Kenny Bernstein 5. Darrell Russell 6. Gary Scelzi 7. Tony Schumacher 8. Doug Herbert 9. Andrew Cowin 10. David Grubnic
</pre> Ron Capps Post-Race (Skoal Racing Chevrolet Camaro) - "All week back home in California we've been talking about the old Bristol races. I was two years old when "Snake" won the last race here in 1967. That shows you what kind of legend Don Prudhomme is. It's amazing the people in this area and how much they remember because it's been unbelievable out in front of our pit area - fans looking for Snake, looking to get old pictures signed. He's given me a great life so to give him a thrill like this, I wish I could do this every weekend. It's awesome to get the third consecutive win for Prudhomme Racing. It's a tribute to the depth of our team, it really is. With LaHaie and the Miller Lite guys, bringing Tommy Johnson on, but most important person is Ed McCulloch. He has been the backbone, he's taken on a lot and there's a lot of pressure trying to get the things done that he does. He's held his composure, held this team together and been great. It's hard to do two cars like that, for him to do what he's done I just try to model myself after him every day. We had lane choice all day and a four-second car on every run. You can't ask for a better car than what we had today. I went in a little bit deep in the finals, so that was another four-second run. I probably took about a half-a-tenth away from the tree. You really have to give credit to Ed McCulloch, Tom Delago and Todd Okahara. They are the three that make this two-car team happen. Without them I'd be a nervous wreck. Tommy (Johnson) won with my body in Las Vegas, but we got the new 2001 Camaro a couple of races ago and I don't think we could have won without it. Of course Force came out with his Roush bodies a couple of years ago and took everything to the next level. Instead of getting upset, General Motors and Chevrolet got on it and did what it takes to produce a winning racecar. We hit the wind tunnel and worked with the Firebird and the Camaros and came out with a better body. There's no two ways about it, today our Chevy Camaro was the best!"