Commerce: Ron Capps eliminations summary

COMMERCE, Ga., May 4, 2003 - When Ron Capps left Atlanta Dragway Saturday night, his Green Skoal Racing Funny Car crew stayed behind, repairing his fire-damaged race car. The car was ready to run when Capps arrived Sunday for the first round of...

COMMERCE, Ga., May 4, 2003 - When Ron Capps left Atlanta Dragway Saturday night, his Green Skoal Racing Funny Car crew stayed behind, repairing his fire-damaged race car.

The car was ready to run when Capps arrived Sunday for the first round of the Summit Racing Southern Nationals. And it ran well enough to win the first round before he lost to eventual race winner Tony Pedregon in the quarterfinals.

Tommy Johnson Jr., Capps' teammate and driver of the Blue Skoal Racing Camaro, ended an Atlanta Dragway jinx, qualifying for the first time in three years.

Capps experienced another fire during his final qualifying run Saturday afternoon. The throttle hung open past the finish line and he thought and acted quickly to bring the car to a stop with flames licking the car's carbon fiber body.

"The car was running fine at the finish line (4.915 seconds at 307.86 mph) when I hit the 'chutes, but the car didn't slow down because the throttle was open," Capps recalled. "That's a helpless feeling."

He hit the fuel shutoff, causing the engine to blow up in flames and he was able to stop the car before it went into a sand trap at the end of the track.

"The car went over 1500 feet under full throttle," Capps added, more than the usual 1320 feet. "I had full confidence in the entire Green crew. I knew we'd have a good car on Sunday."

Capps ran 4.898 at 314.46 - almost as quick as his No. 7 qualifying time of 4.892 seconds - in beating Scotty Cannon's tire-smoking 11.749, but he couldn't keep pace with Pedregon's 4.873 at 310.84.

Johnson assured himself of a slot in the 16-car field on his first qualifying attempt, running 4.917 at 309.13, and it held up for 11th. He gave Frank Pedregon a close fight, leaving the line first but falling short, 4.910 to 4.929.

Capps is sixth in points with 406 while Johnson stayed seventh at 349.

The next event, the K&N Filters SuperNationals, takes place May 16-19 at Englishtown, N.J.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , Scotty Cannon , Tommy Johnson Jr.