Denver: Capps/Johnson Jr. eliminations summary

Capps qualifies third, reaches semifinals; Johnson loses in first round MORRISON, Colo., July 20, 2003 - It's not that Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Skoal Racing team doesn't like visiting Denver, it's just that racing in the Denver's ...

Capps qualifies third, reaches semifinals; Johnson loses in first round

MORRISON, Colo., July 20, 2003 - It's not that Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Skoal Racing team doesn't like visiting Denver, it's just that racing in the Denver's altitude can be very exasperating at times, like it was during the Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway during the weekend.

Johnson qualified fifth (5.080 seconds at 278.35 mph) and advanced to the quarterfinals in the Blue Camaro while Capps started 10th (5.129 at 290.82 mph) and lost to Frank Pedregon in the opening round when the clutch malfunctioned in the Green Camaro.

Despite his engine dropping cylinders, Johnson got to the finish line first against Dale Creasy Jr. in the opening round - 5.420 at 232.31 to 5.542 at 235.35. With crew chief Mike Green adjusting the tune-up for the race against Pedregon, Johnson believed his car would run 5.10.

It came close with a 5.164, but Dean Skuza got the victory with a 5.153. "We didn't get much computer information off our first run because we dropped the cylinders," said Johnson, "but we came close against Skuza. We just didn't get enough good runs to tune from. Unfortunately, nothing you do here relates to anything mechanically you do elsewhere."

Johnson was very fortunate during Saturday's first qualifying run. The left front spindle broke on the burnout. "The left front spindle broke in half when I hit the throttle and I had no steering," he said. "The wheel jerked when it broke and the car turned left when I hit the brakes."

"I was absolutely lucky it happened when it did. It could've been very serious if it happened during the run."

The car slid to a halt as it crossed the centerline, but Johnson came back to run the 5.080 a few hours later.

"We've had some success here and also have struggled up here, which is what we did here this weekend," said Capps. "Our Green car slowed down against Pedregon. We expected to run a 5.10 and felt pretty good going into the round, but something happened in the clutch area that was out of character."

Capps is sixth in NHRA POWERade Series standings with 766 points, followed by Johnson in seventh with 673.

This was the first of three races in a row, and the Carquest Nationals at Seattle follows this weekend, and then the team moves to Sonoma, Calif., Aug. 1-3.

"It's good to have races like that because we don't have to wait long to get back into the car," added Capps.

Qualified: No. 5, Johnson, 5.080 at 278.35 mph; Capps, No. 10, 5.129 seconds at 290.82

First round: Johnson, 5.420 at 232.31 def. Dale Creasy Jr., 5.542 at 235.35; Frank Pedregon, 5.284 at 278.52 def. Capps, 5.352 at 275.79; Quarterfinals: Dean Skuza, 5.153at 284.56 def. Johnson, 5.164 at 289.93

Pro winners: Larry Dixon, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny car; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock.

Funny Car Standings: 1, Tony Pedregon, 1143; 2, Whit Bazemore, 1019; 3, Del Worsham, 839; 4, John Force, 817; 5, Gary Densham, 794; 6, Ron Capps, 766; 7, Tommy Johnson Jr., 673; 8, Frank Pedregon, 598; 9, Johnny Gray, 583; 10, Cruz Pedregon, 557.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tommy Johnson , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Johnny Gray , Tommy Johnson Jr.