Reading: Capps, Johnson out early at Maple Grove

MOHNTON, Pa., Oct. 7, 2001 - Mechanical problems struck again in the Skoal Racing camp during the Pep Boys Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway Sunday helping send Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. to first round setbacks. It was one of the few times...

MOHNTON, Pa., Oct. 7, 2001 - Mechanical problems struck again in the Skoal Racing camp during the Pep Boys Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway Sunday helping send Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. to first round setbacks.

It was one of the few times this season that neither driver advanced to the second round.

Capps, who qualified the Green Skoal Racing Camaro with a 4.803-second time on a weekend that featured some of the category's quickest times, didn't get two feet off the starting line before a blower explosion ended his competitive day. He couldn't even coast to the finish line and he had to watch as Scotty Cannon's car smoked the tires to a 7.498 at 199.67 mph.

"We got behind a little bit this weekend," said Capps. "Both our Skoal Racing cars are 4.70 (second) cars. Unfortunately we had some things happen that we can't control and when a part breaks, there's nothing you can do except learn from it. We want to dig down and finish the year as strong as we can."

Johnson's Blue Skoal Racing Camaro also had a blower explosion during qualifying. In the first round against Dean Skuza, the Johnson's engine dropped a cylinder, the car shook and smoked the tires, forcing him to abort the run. Skuza won with a 4.854 at 310.77 mph to Johnson's 9.125 at 97.79.

"We thought it was going to be a great weekend the way it started," Johnson commented. "Friday (qualifying) was great (he had runs of 4.843 and 4.894 seconds), then it went down hill from there. We thought as good as the weather and conditions were we would be ok (against Skuza), but then it dropped a cylinder at the hit of the throttle. We still have two good racecars but we weren't able to capitalize on the good conditions."

Race winner John Force took advantage of the good racing conditions, setting the Funny Car elapsed time record at 4.731 seconds, the quickest run in history.

With three races remaining, Capps is in a three-way race for third place. He's fourth and trails Del Worsham by five points, 1273-1268. Tony Pedregon is fifth at 1259. Johnson is eighth at 985, 18 ahead of Skuza and 68 behind Frank Pedregon.

The next event is the O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Oct. 19-21, at Ennis, Texas.

Qualified: Capps, seventh, 4.803 seconds at 307.30 mph; Johnson, No. 8, 4.843 seconds at 311.04 mph

First round: Scotty Cannon def. Capps; Dean Skuza def. Johnson

Pro winners: Gary Scelzi, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Troy Pedregon, Pro Stock

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Scotty Cannon , Tommy Johnson Jr.