Capps second at Bristol Showdown

BRISTOL, Tenn., July 9, 2000 - Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team came close to claiming another special event drag racing victory Sunday at Bristol Dragway, but a small part in the clutch cancelled any prospective winning ...

BRISTOL, Tenn., July 9, 2000 - Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team came close to claiming another special event drag racing victory Sunday at Bristol Dragway, but a small part in the clutch cancelled any prospective winning celebration.

Capps, the No. 1 qualifier in the field of 12 Funny Cars that raced 12Top Fuel dragsters in the unique Winston Showdown, faltered in the final round against Cory McClenathan's Top Fuel dragster when a clutch seal failed and the air timers deployed at different times on the run.

The result: McClenathan won with a time of 4.852 seconds at 291.32 mph while Capps slowed to a 5.168 at 275.28 mph. Until then, Capps had dominated from the Funny Car side of eliminations. The winner took home a check for $200,000. Capps won $50,000 and augmented that with an additional $10,000 check for being low qualifier.

"The car got out there in the finals against Cory and started spinning the tires and put a couple cylinders out and we just slowed down," Capps said. But when the U.S. Tobacco Co. crew did a routine post-race check, the bad seal was discovered.

"It was too bad because the car left the starting line good, then it started spinning the tires a little, then they started spinning harder and Cory passed me," added Capps.

Until then, Capps was the best Funny Car - and the only one remaining after the third round. His 4.887-second time at 3.01.40 mph was best of the weekend, and his 4.911 performance in Saturday night's first round win over Mike Dunn, was second-quickest. He also had the third best, 4.940 seconds.

    "Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) wanted to be aggressive coming into this race.  He
wanted to qualify No. 1 and go from there," said Capps.  "The crew did a great job all
weekend.  Everything worked the way we wanted except in the final round."

Capps and McClenathan had raced each other four times, all when Capps drove a Top Fuel dragster in 1995-96, and split the decisions. Capps' first NHRA win came at McClenathan's expense in Seattle in 1995.

"We want to use this to build momentum for returning to Winston Series racing next weekend (July 14-16) at Denver," said Capps, who is third in points.

Qualified: No. 1, 4.887 seconds at 301.40 mph.

First round: Capps, 4.911 seconds at 299.53 def. Mike Dunn; Second round: Capps, 4.940 at 297.75 def. Frank Pedregon; Quarterfinals: Capps, 5.065 at 286.13 def. Bob Vandergriff Jr.; Semifinals: Capps, 5.050 at 288.64 def. Tony Schumacher; Finals: Cory McClenathan, 4.852 at 291.32 def. Capps, 5.168 at 275.28

Pro Winners: Funny Car vs. Top Fuel, Cory McClenathan; Pro Stock, Troy Coughlin

Next Event: Mile High Nationals, Denver, July 14-16

TV Schedule: ESPN2, Qualifying, July 15, 10 p.m.-midnight (ET); Eliminations, July 16, 9:30-11:30 p.m. (ET)

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Troy Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Ron Capps , Tony Schumacher , Cory McClenathan , Bob Vandergriff