Baytown: Tommy Johnson, Ron Capps Sunday report

Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing: Tommy Johnson moves to fourth place following second straight runner-up finish; Capps upset in first round. BAYTOWN, Texas, April 14, 2002 - Tommy Johnson drove the Blue Skoal Racing Funny Car to second place in the...

Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing:
Tommy Johnson moves to fourth place following second straight runner-up finish; Capps upset in first round.

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 14, 2002 - Tommy Johnson drove the Blue Skoal Racing Funny Car to second place in the O'Reilly Spring Nationals Sunday at Houston Raceway Park, etched his name into drag racing's trivia book and moved him into fourth place in NHRA Powerade Series points.

Johnson became the driver who raced against John Force when Force won his milestone 100th NHRA event. Force, the 11-time Funny Car champion, triggered the long-awaited victory celebration with a time of 4.991 seconds at 310.20 mph while Johnson trailed with a tire-hazing 5.170 at 288.77. The time was Johnson's second-quickest of the day.

"We were at a disadvantage going into the final," said Johnson, who was runner-up to Gary Densham a week ago at Las Vegas. "We knew that, so I tried to give it everything I had on the starting line. We tried to step up the tune-up to try and stay with him, but when then the tires started smoking at half track and I knew it was over."

This was Johnson's fourth title round since joining Prudhomme's team last season and the 13th since he began driving Top Fuel dragsters in 1990. He has five wins, three in Funny Car, including one at Las Vegas last year in his Blue Skoal Racing Camaro.

"Two finals in a row . . . we've turned the Blue crew around," Johnson added. "Things have been going pretty good the last two weeks. In the first five races of this season we've been to two finals. That's all we got to last year in 24 races."

Johnson, starting from the No. 11 position, beat Dean Skuza (4.967 seconds), Scotty Cannon (5.286) and Tony Pedregon (5.177) - all of whom had traction trouble, too.

The back-to-back finals have Johnson with 321 points, one behind Gary Densham and 19 behind runner-up Del Worsham's 340. Force now has 423.

THE NEWS FROM Ron Capps' Green Skoal Racing crew wasn't as good. His car's tires began spinning as it approached the finish line and Johnny Gray won a close first-round race - 5.008 to 5.018 seconds.

"We've been trying to grind it out in these races where the weather and the racetracks have been hot," Capps said. "Our incremental numbers said we were on a 4.9 run against Gray when it started hazing the tires. We're going to test Monday to try and find a way to figure out these tracks."

Capps is now sixth with 285 points, 37 points behind Densham's 322.

The team returns to action with races at Bristol, Tenn., April 26-28 and Commerce, Ga., May2-5.

-dpsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Tommy Johnson , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Don Prudhomme