Indianapolis: Ron Capps Sunday summary

Skoal Racing Report Ron Capps wins Shootout, collects $100,000 First-Place check. CLERMONT, Ind., Sept. 1, 2002 - Ron Capps shook off two days of qualifying malaise in exciting fashion at Indianapolis Raceway Park Sunday, winning the special...

Skoal Racing Report

Ron Capps wins Shootout, collects $100,000 First-Place check.

CLERMONT, Ind., Sept. 1, 2002 - Ron Capps shook off two days of qualifying malaise in exciting fashion at Indianapolis Raceway Park Sunday, winning the special Bud Shootout and grabbing the No. 9 starting position for Monday's prestigious U.S. Nationals.

Capps drove the Green Skoal Racing Funny Car to wins over Tony Pedregon, Del Worsham and Dean Skuza en route to his third Shootout victory and $100,000 first-place check in the last five years. And he did it in convincing fashion. An underdog in the opening round of the Shootout, Capps used the second-quickest run of the day, 4.873 seconds at 304.25 mph, to upset Pedregon's 4.958 at 282.90. Pedregon did finish as the U.S. Nationals' No. 1 qualifier, 4.797 at 319.37 mph.

When Capps eliminated Worsham with a 4.959 to a 4.995, then Skuza with a 4.973 at 282.17 mph, Capps boosted his career Shootout money total to $310,000 for team owner Don "The Snake" Prudhomme. That helped erase the disappointment of failing to qualify for the last NHRA POWERade event at Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 18.

"This is unbelievable," said Capps. "Obviously we struggled at our last race, but I learned a long time ago - and I learned from Don Prudhomme - you just don't give up on the people you believe in. When we didn't qualify at Brainerd - and I hate to keep bringing that up - it was a little gut-check for the guys and we knew that our car wanted to run during our Friday and Saturday runs. We just needed to get it to the finish line."

The finale wasn't without its tense moments.

"The car was on fire at half-track, but I stayed in the throttle," Capps recalled. "Then the flames went down and then they went away. It pushed a head gasket out of the motor and that caused the fire. Going into the Shootout, we knew it was going to be a real short day or it would be a really excruciating, grueling, long day. Ace (crew chief Ed 'The Ace' McCulloch), Todd (Okuhara, the assistant crew chief) and the crew did a great job all day."

And it turned out to be very rewarding.

Now Capps and the Green crew must get ready for the Monday's U.S. Nationals competition and, ironically, he meets Skuza, the No. 8 qualifier, in the opening round.

Tommy Johnson Jr., who didn't qualify for the Shootout, had a very consistent effort Sunday. His 4.903 at 310.13 mph left him 12th, and he races No. 5 Scotty Cannon (4.836 at 315.12 mph). "It was a good weekend for us," Johnson said. "We had the third-quickest run in the first session and the fourth-best in the last session. I like our chances during eliminations."

Shootout Results: First round: Capps, 4.873 at 304.25 def. Tony Pedregon, 4.958 at 282.90; Semifinals: Capps, 4.959 at 296.11 def. Del Worsham, 4.995 at 301.33; Finals: Capps, 4.973 at 282.17 def. Dean Skuza, 5.062.

-sr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , Scotty Cannon , Don Prudhomme , Tommy Johnson Jr.