Seattle Race Recap

KENT - Race Recap by Larry Sullivan KENT, Wash. - SUMMIT FastNews - By winning their Professional categories at the 11th annual NHRA Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals Presented by Al's Auto Parts, Joe Amato and Ron Capps ...

KENT - Race Recap

by Larry Sullivan KENT, Wash. - SUMMIT FastNews - By winning their Professional categories at the 11th annual NHRA Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals Presented by Al's Auto Parts, Joe Amato and Ron Capps narrowed their respective points races to less than one round of eliminations, while Warren Johnson extended his already-commanding lead in the Pro Stock championship. Amato took on points leader Cory McClenathan in the Top Fuel final round and won by a car length, posting a 4.857 second elapsed time at 294.88 mph to McClenathan's 4.895 at 299.70. The win was Amato's 3rd in 5 final round appearances in 1998 and the 44th in 88 career final rounds. That narrowed McClenathan's points lead to just 18, with each round of eliminations worth 20 points. But Amato downplayed the narrowness of the lead, saying, "Those are the hardest 18 points in sports, believe me." Amato's human side came through after his win, "We love Seattle, the fans are nice. There's a special little person in a wheelchair who came by just before the finals. When we go back, I'm going to give her the trophy." Asked if he who she was, Amato replied, "No (I've never met her before), she just came by and asked for an autograph. My fiancee (Donna Delbaso, who Amato will wed Friday, August 7) brought her into our hospitality area to give her a drink and we asked her to come back after the final round. She'll be in the winner's circle." Capps defeated points leader John Force in the final round of Funny Car eliminations, posting a 5.136 at 288.27 mph to Force's 5.253 at 274.72. That narrowed the gap between Force and second-place Force to just 11 points. The win was Capps' 3rd in 5 final round appearances in 1998, his 4th in 10 final rounds (8 in Funny Car, 2 in Top Fuel). Chuck Etchells, who led Force by one point coming into this event, lost in the first round and fell back to third. Capps was bubbling after his win, saying "I love this place. I love coming up here." at the start of his post-race interview and "I may just buy a place up here." at the finish. Capps' crew found a fuel pump problem before the final qualifying session, during which Capps went from outside the field to seventh. "The car wasn't driveable, it wasn't even 'pedalable' (is that a word?). Roland (Leong, his crew chief) told me to do what it takes to get down the track. It would smoke the tires, almost hit the wall, all over the place. We replaced the fuel pump for the last round of qualifying and we ran the quickest run of the round." As for beating Force and being so close in the points, "It's fun to race him. With him in a Ford and me in a Chevrolet, it's fun... It's just exciting at this point in the season to be this close in the points race. Whoever wins, it's going to be a great season." He was also open in his admiration for his car owner, Don "Snake" Prudhomme, saying, "He oozes legendness." Johnson faced his son Kurt in the final round of Pro Stock, winning with a 6.967 at 198.45 mph to Kurt's 6.990 at 198.06. The win was Johnson's 6th in 8 final round appearances and his 69th in 110 career final rounds, putting him second on the all-time win list, one win ahead of Force. Warren won on a backup engine, breaking the crank on the engine he qualified with Saturday night. The engine he ran today was his third-best, and Johnson had some more bad news for the rest of his Pro Stock competitors, "We should be on the dyno by Thursday. I expect to find a little more power." In other final rounds -- Pro Stock Truck (Saturday) - Craig Eaton defeated Jerry Haas Federal-Mogul Dragster - Rick Santos defeated Rick Henkelman Federal-Mogul Funny Car - Bucky Austin defeated Steve Sommer Competition Eliminator - Bo Nickens defeated Andy Manna Super Stock - Dan Fletcher defeated Jimmy DeFrank Stock - Bill Heard defeated Dan Fletcher Super Comp - Jim Powers defeated John Spar Super Gas - Doug Bracey defeated Tony Fuller Super Street - Chad Barclay defeated Earl Cunningham Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Ron Capps , John Force , Joe Amato , Rick Santos , Chuck Etchells , Cory McClenathan , Jimmy DeFrank , Bucky Austin , Jerry Haas , Dan Fletcher