Pomona: Capps, Johnson eliminations summary

Capps, Johnson reach Winternationals semifinals at Pomona. POMONA, Calif., February 9, 2003 - A winter's worth of hard work began showing results Sunday at Pomona Raceway as teammates Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. each drove Skoal Racing...

Capps, Johnson reach Winternationals semifinals at Pomona.

POMONA, Calif., February 9, 2003 - A winter's worth of hard work began showing results Sunday at Pomona Raceway as teammates Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. each drove Skoal Racing Camaros into the semifinals of the K&N Winternationals.

It was the best start for Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Funny Car team in its three-year existence and, they all hope, portends good things for the remaining 22 NHRA POWERade Series events.

How good was the start for the Funny Cars?
Well, Capps and Johnson are tied for third with 72 points.

Johnson opened it with a first-round victory over nemesis John Force, then took advantage of Whit Bazemore when his car smoked the tires in the quarterfinals. Johnson was no match for eventual race winner Tony Pedregon in the semifinals. Pedregon's 4.785-second, 323.50-mph run beat Johnson's 4.889 at 304.12.

"Our Blue Skoal Racing Camaro had ignition problems on that run," said Johnson, "but I don't think it would've made much difference. Tony's car ran very well all weekend. I told our crew that things are looking up. Our car has plenty of potential. We earned our position in the semis; we didn't back into it.

"It was great to start the year with that win over Force. He wore me out last year."

Johnson prevailed with a 4.896 at 318.34 to Force's 4.984 at 310.34.

Capps and the Green Skoal Racing crew had to overcome a setback on the first qualifying day. His time of 4.787 seconds at 318.17 mph was disqualified by faulty clock readings and the car smoked the tires on the next try. A 4.862 run on Saturday put him into the No. 12 berth.

On race day, he and Johnny Gray ran identical times of 4.897 seconds, but Capps was slowing at the finish line. "The engine dropped a cylinder four seconds into the run," Capps pointed out. "We were pulling away from him until that happened. It was a shame, but we leave third in points, and that's a lot better than some of the openers we've had.

Capps used a quicker reaction time to oust Gary Scelzi (5.020 at 287.47 to 4.998 at 316.97) and took out Bob Gilbertson with a 4.887.

Larry Dixon, driver of Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel dragster, had an excellent weekend, winning the $100,000 Bud Shootout and the Winternationals. The dual win brought a $50,000 bonus, driving Dixon's two-day take to $200,000.

The team returns to action at Phoenix, Feb. 21-23.

-dpsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Bob Gilbertson , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Johnny Gray