Sonoma: Skoal Racing finals summary

Capps' Green Skoal Racing Camaro loses to Force by three-thousandths of second in Fram/Autolite Finals. SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 4, 2002 - Ron Capps was six inches from his second victory of this NHRA POWERade Series season when John Force snatched...

Capps' Green Skoal Racing Camaro loses to Force by three-thousandths of second in Fram/Autolite Finals.

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 4, 2002 - Ron Capps was six inches from his second victory of this NHRA POWERade Series season when John Force snatched it from him in Sunday's Funny Car final of the Fram/Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

While the loss was disappointing, Capps and the Green Skoal Racing Camaro crew were elated with the car's race-day performance. Crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch and assistant crew chief Todd Okuhara tuned the car to its most-consistent outing of the year. All four of Capps's elimination rounds were run in the 4.9-second range. And when the final was concluded, it was Force the winner by a slim three-thousandths of a second - 4.953 seconds at 303.09 mph to 4.956 at 300.46.

"I thought I had him," Capps said after the run. "The car got out there and I never heard him. The car made a great move in the middle of the track and then, right near the end, it stopped pulling as hard. I hit the 'chute and thought we had the win, but I looked over his little guard rail light was on. It was a heartbreaker. The winning margin was as big as a mile.

"Track conditions really changed for the final. We had a lot of clouds come in and the track cooled off. We gave the fans a heck of a race for their money, but it would've been nice to come out on the winning end. On the bright side, we're running well and Ace and Todd were very impressive today. I'm excited about going to Brainerd (Minn. Aug. 16-18) for the next race."

Capps' run of consistency began with Saturday's final qualifying run when he jumped into seventh place with a 4.939-second time. McCulloch and Okuhara continued it Sunday with winning runs of 4.936 seconds against Bruce Sarver; 4.916 against Del Worsham that was the quickest run of the round; and 4.918 against Scotty Cannon in the semifinals.

Tommy Johnson Jr. had another frustrating race day. He left the starting line with a lead (.523-.575) that he didn't relinquish until the Blue Skoal Racing Camaro experienced mechanical problems.

"The manifold broke where the blower bolts on it, and that allowed the blower to tilt up and the blower belt came off," Johnson explained. "We seem to be having different kinds of problems lately."

Johnson qualified 14th, and the 5.054-second, 284.39-mph run came on his first pass down the new track. "All the numbers were there during the weekend, but we just couldn't put together a solid run. We know our car is capable of running better. The whole weekend was a case of missed opportunities."

The runner-up finish boosted Capps' point total to 767 and enabled him to pull within 52 points of sixth-place Cannon. Johnson slipped to 10th with 632 points.

-sr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Scotty Cannon , Tommy Johnson Jr.