Brainerd: Chevrolet finals report

BRAINERD, Minn., August 19, 2001 - Ron Capps and Larry Dixon gave Chevrolet, and team owner Don Prudhomme victories in Funny Car and Top Fuel today at the 20th annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International...

BRAINERD, Minn., August 19, 2001 - Ron Capps and Larry Dixon gave Chevrolet, and team owner Don Prudhomme victories in Funny Car and Top Fuel today at the 20th annual Colonel's Truck Accessories NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. It is the first time since Capps and Dixon accomplished the feat at the '98 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., that Prudhomme-owned racecars have doubled up in the two nitro categories.

For Capps, it was his second win of the year and the second time that he's driven a Camaro to victory at Brainerd International Raceway. His first win at this facility was in '98.

The Skoal Racing Chevy driver came into Sunday eliminations qualified in the No. 7 spot after posting a 4.936 e.t. at 308.14 mph. He defeated Johnny Gray in round one, Tony Pedregon in round two and Bruce Sarver in round three.

Capps' Camaro was quick all day posting a 4.939ET/304.25MPH in the first heat, 4.962ET/ 304.74MPH in the second session and a 5.015ET/304.67MPH in the semifinals.

His final-round opponent was No. 1 qualifier Whit Bazemore, who beat Capps the last time the two met just three weeks ago in the final round of the Northwest Nationals in Seattle. This time though it was the Chevy driver who came out on top in the all-GM final.

Capps' Camaro launched first and bolted to a winning 4.939 second run at 306.53 mph. Bazemore's Pontiac Firebird lost traction at 200 feet and slowed to a 5.991 e.t. at 201.70 mph.

"I've never been more focused than I was in the final round," said Capps. "I kept looking for Bazemore out of the corner of my eye too. I knew he had to be there because he had been running so well all day. But we made it to the finish first and I was so excited. You know, you try and go four rounds on raceday and it's so exciting to win each round. I love it here. I had a good feeling coming into this race. When I got off the plane, and got to the track I just took a deep breathe and said, 'Brainerd.'

   "The team has worked so hard, and we've been waiting and battling to get
back in the finals.  Bazemore had one heck of a car this weekend so we knew
we were going to have to be ready and be on our toes.  We did our job and got
this Camaro to victory lane.  It's the best feeling in the world."

Today's win at BIR marked the 10th career Funny Car victory for Capps, and the 21st time that he's driven a nitro-powered Camaro to a final round. With today's win, he leap frogs over Tony Pedregon and Bruce Sarver into fourth place in the Funny Car standings behind third-place Del Worsham, second-place Whit Bazemore and points-leader John Force.

"I've learned a lot this weekend," said Capps. "Ace (Ed McCulloch) has taught me how to shallow stage, he's talked about the groove with me, and ways to keep lane choice and when you don't need lane choice. So it's been a great weekend overall. I'm so thrilled for the whole team and to give Snake another double-up win."

Not to be outdone, Snake Racing and Team Chevy stablemate Larry Dixon captured his fourth Top Fuel victory of the season, and his second win at BIR (his first win here was in '99) by defeating Darrell Russell in the final round. Dixon began his dominating weekend in the North Star state by winning the top qualifying spot on Saturday with a 4.594 e.t. at 315.64 mph.

Today's eliminator saw Dixon dispatching Tony Schumacher in round one, Doug Herbert in round two and Doug Kalitta in round three. The Dick LaHaie-tuned dragster was a model of elapsed-time consistency running 4.594 seconds against Schumacher, 4.603 seconds against Herbert and 4.608 seconds against Kalitta. In the finals, Russell had the edge at the starting line, but by the 330-foot marker Dixon had caught up with Russell and was pulling away. The winning performance number for Dixon was 4.594 seconds at 314.90 mph. Russell crossed the finish line in 4.709 seconds at 317.42 mph.

"We had a strong weekend," said Dixon. "Yesterday we were four thousandths off from the pole going into the last session. Then we went out and ran that 4.59 and I was pretty darn impressed. We came out today, backed it down a little bit and I was able to drive the car a little easier. The car just went right down the racetrack all day today. It was a great race for us."

It was Dixon's 14th-career victory in 30 final rounds. He moves back into first place in the Top Fuel standings, eight points ahead of second-place Kenny Bernstein.

"You know this points battle is great." said Dixon. "I don't like to think about it too much. You know some races we stumble and he (Kenny Bernstein) wins the race, and today he stumbled and we got the win. You just have to be able to take advantage of it when you can. We're just trying to concentrate on going rounds and winning the race. If you do that you don't have to worry about the points."

Eagle One Chevy Cavalier driver Ron Krisher was shooting for his second Pro Stock victory of the year but came up short in a title-round showdown with Bruce Allen.

Krisher started the day qualified sixth. He defeated Darrell Alderman in round one, Kurt Johnson in round two and Mike Edwards in round three.

In the finals, Krisher took the reaction-time advantage from Allen, but the Reher-Morrison Grand Am crossed the stripe first in 6.962 seconds at 197.28 mph. Krisher's Cavalier followed in 6.985 seconds at 198.17 mph. The margin of victory was a miniscule one-hundredth of a second.

The next stop on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing tour is the 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on August 29 - Sept. 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

-Snake Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Sarver , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Don Prudhomme , Bruce Allen , Mike Edwards