Capps Qualifies Third, Reaches Semifinals; Johnson Out in First Round COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 15, 2003 - Ron Capps made the most of his best qualifying effort of the 2003 NHRA POWERade season, parlaying third-place qualifying time into a semifinal...
Capps Qualifies Third, Reaches Semifinals; Johnson Out in First Round
COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 15, 2003 - Ron Capps made the most of his best qualifying effort of the 2003 NHRA POWERade season, parlaying third-place qualifying time into a semifinal finish at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals Sunday at National Trail Raceway.
Tommy Johnson Jr., Capps' teammate on Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car team, qualified fourth but was upset in the opening round of eliminations in the weather-plagued event.
Capps made the most of his first Saturday qualifying run, when the sessions were delayed four hours due to rain. Capps' Green Skoal Racing Camaro stopped the clocks at 4.853 seconds at 311.05 mph.
On race day, Capps defeated Arnie Karp and Gary Scelzi before losing to John Force in the semifinals. Capps' 4.849-second time in the first round was the third-quickest of the day. He then ran a tire-hazing 5.024 to beat Scelzi. Capps left the starting line first against Force - .028 to .058 - but couldn't hold off Force in the last half of the track. Force won with a 4.961 to Capps' 5.147.
"My crew chief, Ed 'Ace' McCulloch and Todd Okuhara, his assistant, have been concentrating on a warm weather tune-up and I could tell the difference," said Capps. "The car drove so much differently. Ace and Todd did a heck of a job with the tune-up."
Johnson, meanwhile, had to battle the elements and mechanical problems during the weekend. "When we finally qualified well in Saturday's final session, it put us fourth overall, but the engine exploded on the run," he said of the performance of his Blue Skoal Racing Funny Car. "So on Sunday I had to pedal the throttle when the tires started to shake. I had a good light, then pedaled it and stopped it from shaking and then got beat and it was time to go home. It was a frustrating weekend all around, but there's not much else you can say."
Only that Capps and Johnson have a few days off before the Sears Craftsman Nationals is on tap, June 27-29, at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.