Englishtown: Capps, Johnson eliminations summary

Capps Runner-up at E-town; Johnson to Semis ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 18, 2003 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. gave Skoal Racing team owner Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and a huge contingent of U.S. Tobacco employees from the corporate office ...

Capps Runner-up at E-town; Johnson to Semis

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 18, 2003 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. gave Skoal Racing team owner Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and a huge contingent of U.S. Tobacco employees from the corporate office Greenwich, Ct., something to cheer about Sunday in the K&N Filters SuperNationals at Raceway Park.

Neither driver had done well at this track before but each advanced to the semifinals, where Capps' Green Camaro won the battle of teammates and went on to finish second to Whit Bazemore. It was Capps' second title round of the season. He won at Phoenix in February.

For Johnson, meanwhile, his performance reiterated his belief that the Blue Camaro can compete with the frontrunners.

After Friday's two qualifying rounds were washed out, Capps and Johnson had two chances Saturday. Neither wasted the opportunities. Johnson led way with a 4.817 second, 319.52 mph effort that put him No. 3 overall, his best qualifying in the first eight of 23 races.

Sunday his car ran 4.814 at a career-best 323.35 mph in a first-round win over Bob Gilbertson and followed with a 4.814 at 321.35 in dispatching Tim Wilkerson to set up the race against Capps.

That's when trouble hit. The car lost traction and Capps was able to win with a 4.901 at 310.52 to Johnson's 7.915 at 115.98.

"That was a frustrating loss after we'd run so well until then," said Johnson. "We thought it would run another 4.80, but we had to put a new blower on before that round and it had more boost than the old one and caused the tires to spin.

"The Blue crew is doing something right," he continued. "Things are coming together. It's nice to have a competitive racecar and win rounds on Sunday."

Capps, meanwhile, also thought the Green machine would run 4.80s against Bazemore, "but the tires pulled loose and I had to pedal it to try to get it going," said Capps of his 8.300 at 100.12 run to Bazemore's 4.869 at 306.84. Capps advanced to the semifinals with a rare victory over John Force, who fouled away his chances by two-thousandths of a second.

"All-in-all it wasn't a bad weekend," he continued. "We needed to go some rounds, and we did. Then running TJ in the semis, guaranteeing the UST employees that there would be a Skoal Racing car in the finals, was awesome."

Capps is fifth in NHRA POWERade Series standings with 499 points and Johnson is seventh at 425.

The second of three races in three weeks, the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, is scheduled Friday through Sunday at Topeka, Kan.

-dpr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Tim Wilkerson , Tommy Johnson Jr.