Johnson beats Capps in first round; loses to Force in quarterfinals at Seattle KENT, Wash., July 27, 2003 - Tommy Johnson Jr. beat Ron Capps, his Skoal Racing Funny Car teammate in Sunday's first round of the CarQuest Nationals at Pacific ...
Johnson beats Capps in first round; loses to Force in quarterfinals at Seattle
KENT, Wash., July 27, 2003 - Tommy Johnson Jr. beat Ron Capps, his Skoal Racing Funny Car teammate in Sunday's first round of the CarQuest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, but he couldn't knock out John Force in the quarterfinals.
At first glance, Johnson's winning time of 5.010 seconds at 300.46 mph doesn't seem to be anything special but the team was dealing with an unusually rough racing surface that also was slippery. The time turned out to be second-quickest of the round and would've granted Johnson all-important lane choice against Force except the 12-time Funny Car champion had the quickest time (5.004 seconds).
Stuck in the left lane, where Capps had traction trouble against Johnson and shut off his engine, Johnson's Blue Camaro experienced tire spin of its own. Force took the win with a 5.005 at 293.47 mph to a 5.787 at 173.81, and went on to beat Whit Bazemore in the finals.
"We lost lane choice by six-thousandths of a second," lamented Johnson, "and it was absolutely important to have lane choice. Mike Green, my crew chief, made some big changes Sunday morning and the car responded by running the 5.010. All we could do in the left lane against Force was hope he'd make a mistake."
"There's a bump in the left lane and the car started spinning the tires and Force shot ahead of me. We did learn a lot as far as what tune-ups to use on bad tracks," added Johnson. "We also qualified sixth (5.008 at 289.94 mph)."
Capps' Green Camaro also had problems with the left-lane bump. "You go over it just off the (concrete) pad," he said, "and when I did, it pulled the tires loose. I (facetiously) told Ace (crew chief Ed 'Ace' McCulloch) we should see if we could use the return road (to race on to avoid the bumps)."
"This is the only drag racing track I've been on where I used skills I learned testing IROC (International Race of Champions) racecars that turn left and right. We are ready to put this track behind us and move on to Sonoma (Calif.)."
Neither Capps nor Johnson changed positions in NHRA POWERade points. Capps is sixth (798) while Johnson is seventh (727).
The Fram/Autolite Nationals is scheduled at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Aug. 1-3.