Brainerd Capps sets record; gets to quarters

BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 20, 2000 - The Colonel's Nationals was divided into two different parts for Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team. Capps and Company won the qualifying part (Friday and Saturday) in record-setting...

BRAINERD, Minn., Aug. 20, 2000 - The Colonel's Nationals was divided into two different parts for Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team.

Capps and Company won the qualifying part (Friday and Saturday) in record-setting fashion, establishing a Brainerd International Raceway elapsed time mark of 4.862 seconds Saturday while claiming their sixth career pole position. Capps was very consistent during qualifying, adding runs of 5.027, 4.901 and 4.958 seconds.

On Sunday, however, things changed. The car shook the tires hard in the first round when Capps was on a single run and he shut off to a 9.961 at 81.58 mph. He soloed because Gary Densham's car wouldn't start.

In the quarterfinals, Force and Jim Epler engaged in a tire-smoking battle won by Epler when the engine in the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro expired in a fireball. Epler won with a 6.394 at 215.75 to Capps' 7.015 at 146.04.

"It was ugly," said Capps. "It was a disappointing end to a great weekend. We ran so good but something changed in the car in the first round. Then we had the same thing happen against Epler. The car smoked the tires and I could see that he was having the same problem."

Capps pedaled the throttle several times and grabbed the brake in a vain attempt to beat Epler.

"I was starting to gain momentum on him because the tires hooked up, but then the motor gave up," said Capps.

Capps remained fourth with 939 points, 36 behind Tony Pedregon.

The team plans to test Wednesday at Indianapolis Raceway Park in preparation for the U.S. Nationals, Sept. 1-4, at IRP.

Qualified: No. 1, 4.862 seconds at 310.91 mph.

First round: Capps, 9.961 at 81.58 mph def. Gary Densham, broke; Quarterfinal: Jim Epler def. Capps.

Pro Winners:

Top Fuel - Tony Schumacher
Funny Car - John Force
Pro Stock - Kurt Johnson

Next Event: U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis, Sept. 1-4.

TV Schedule: Big Bud Shootout, Sept. 3, 4-6 p.m.; Qualifying/first round, Sept. 4, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Eliminations, 4-6 p.m. All times EDT

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Densham