Denver: Capps to Semis, Johnson Quarterfinals

Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Report Capps Sets Mile-High Elapsed Time Mark In Run To Semis; Johnson Reaches Quarterfinals At Denver DENVER, July 22, 2001 - Ron Capps and the Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car reeled off four straight ...

Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Report

Capps Sets Mile-High Elapsed Time Mark In Run To Semis;
Johnson Reaches Quarterfinals At Denver

DENVER, July 22, 2001 - Ron Capps and the Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car reeled off four straight four-second runs in this rarified Rocky Mountain air Saturday and Sunday during the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals. Two came during Saturday qualifying and the other pair during Sunday's eliminations on a tricky Bandimere Speedway track.

Had all four times come on Sunday, Capps would've been an easy race winner. But the string that included a track record 4.949 seconds ended in a semifinal loss when the tires lost traction against John Force.

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., driving the Skoal Racing Blue Camaro, and fell victim to tire smoke, then a mechanical problem, in the quarterfinals.

Capps, who followed the 4.949 with a 4.995-second win in the quarterfinals, saw his of winning go up in smoke. It was a close race until the tires began smoking, slowing Capps to a 7.282 at 121.09 while Force won with a 5.156 at 290.57.

"I thought for sure our car was going right down the track again," commented Capps. "We didn't change the tune-up much at all. I was real surprised it got into trouble where it did (on the track)."

Capps was the only one to run in the four-second range on both his Saturday qualifying runs. What's even more surprising is there had been just one four-second run (4.990 in 2000) at this altitude track prior to his year. His qualifying best, 4.970, came on his final pass and could've been better because the blower belt broke about 300 feet before the finish line.

"We felt it was going to run a 4.94 or 4.95 on Saturday, so Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) and Todd (Okuhara, assistant crew chief) went up there and tried to get it to run all the way down the track. We thought the track could take it."

Capps is now locked in a tight battle for second place. He is sixth with 811 points, just 44 behind current runner-up Bruce Sarver. Johnson is seventh at 709.

Johnson was ahead of Gilbertson in their quarterfinal run when the Skoal Racing Blue Camaro's tires lost traction.

"When the tires began spinning, I pedaled (the throttle) once and it went for a little ways, then the engine blew up," said Johnson, who beat Jim Epler in the opening round in a tire-smoking race.

The team now moves to Seattle, site of the Prolong Northwest Open, Friday through Sunday. <pre> Qualified: Johnson, No. 5, 4.961 seconds at 287.96 mph; Capps, No. 6, 4.970 at 287.84 mph

First round: Johnson, 5.497 at 262.08 def. Jim Epler; Capps, 4.949 at 308.07 def. Frank Pedregon

Quarterfinals: Bob Gilbertson def. Johnson; Capps, 4.995 at 305.70 def. Bruce Sarver

Semifinals: John Force def. Capps

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

Next event: Prolong Northwest Nationals, July 27-29, at Seattle

-DPSR-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Larry Dixon , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Ron Capps , John Force , Don Prudhomme