FUNNY CAR ELIMINATIONS JERRY TOLIVER, IN THE WWF RACING CAMARO Z28 (he drove the Pontiac-bodied car in the first round, then switched to the Camaro), advanced to the final round after defeating Al Hofmann, his WWF Racing teammate Jim Epler and...
FUNNY CAR ELIMINATIONS
JERRY TOLIVER, IN THE WWF RACING CAMARO Z28 (he drove the Pontiac-bodied car in the first round, then switched to the Camaro), advanced to the final round after defeating Al Hofmann, his WWF Racing teammate Jim Epler and Del Worsham before he faced John Force in the final for the sixth time in their careers. Toliver had the edge at the Christmas Tree, with a .493 reaction time to Force's .542, but he couldn't outrun Force's 4.842/318.09 with his 4.934/312.64. Toliver is now 1-1 in final rounds against Force. Toliver beat Force in the final round of the 1999 AAA of Southern California Finals at Pomona, Calif. Force has won the last two meetings, beating Toliver in the semifinals at Phoenix and Atlanta.
TOLIVER: "We thought we had it. We ran a 4.83 in the round before and John ran a 4.94. We figured we had a better hot rod for that round. I left on him, but the Camaro just fell off, and we don't know why. You can't take anything away from those guys. That .84 was good; it was hot. They had the better car today, but it's far from over. We will be there pestering them all the way to the end." WHY DID YOU SWITCH TO THE CAMARO AFTER THE FIRST ROUND? "The Pontiac body got damaged in that round, but I also think the Camaro was a better car for this track. The Pontiac had too much downforce and we were scrubbing off too much power and elapsed time with it. If we had used the Camaro body Friday night (in qualifying), we probably would have been No. 1."
RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, was eliminated in the semifinals by John Force after defeating John Lawson and Tony Pedregon. Capps' Camaro performed a wheelstand after takeoff, causing Ron to veer to the left and graze the wall. While Ron stumbled to a 7.219-second lap at 114.25 mph lap, Force won his 19th round against Capps with a 4.948/316.90 pass. (Capps has won four times against Force).
CAPPS: "I pedaled it. The front end came up pretty good. It came up so hard it got up on the wheelie bar. We run only one wheelie bar, so it kind of pulled the car to one side and I couldn't see much. When it landed it was heading to the wall. I tried to get it so it would be a square hit to the wall. The header became like a shock absorber and took most of the hit. It squashed the header and it just scraped the rear of the Camaro body, but not too badly. After a little fiberglass work it will be all right for Columbus. Our major concern was how hard it came down. But we have a week, we'll take it to our Indy shop, put it on the scales, get the balance right and be good to go." WAS IT SCARY? "It's kind of scary when it goes up that high. You don't know if the wind is going to get under it and blow it backwards. I don't think it was high enough to do that. But stranger things have happened. The main concern was to get the thing back on the ground and get it going again. When it came down I saw Force through the side window. All my direction was focused on getting the Camaro down and not hitting the wall too hard."
Note: Ron has been in four final rounds this season, but has scored no event wins.
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, was defeated in the first round by Dean Skuza: 4.935/306.81 for Skuza; 5.068/30.02 for Whit.
BAZEMORE: "I didn't see Dean until I pedaled it. It started to shake pretty hard, so I got on and off the throttle as quickly as I could. You have to give the car what it wants, and at that point it needed to be pedaled. I wanted to stay in it, but after you give it a moment to settle down if you don't react it will break loose and smoke the tires. After that, I saw him out the window the rest of the way not gaining or losing ground. I believe we probably would have won if we didn't have to pedal it." ON THE SEASON: "This year has just been unbelievable. I've been in this situation before, but never on a team with such high expectations...We have the biggest budget this team has ever had and, quite simply, our performance to date has been unacceptable. It's a frustrating situation for everyone involved. Besides ourselves, we have some tremendous sponsors who have invested in Etchells Racing, and we have to start delivering for them as well, and we will. We're going to keep on fighting until we get back to running at the level we belong. We have Columbus in two weeks, and I promise we will be ready."