ENNIS, Texas, Oct. 12, 2003 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr., teammates on Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing team, were given an opportunity to knock off the two drivers fighting for the NHRA POWERade Series Funny Car championship in the first round...
ENNIS, Texas, Oct. 12, 2003 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr., teammates on Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing team, were given an opportunity to knock off the two drivers fighting for the NHRA POWERade Series Funny Car championship in the first round of Sunday's O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
And they put up a good fight, but point leader Tony Pedregon beat Capps and Whit Bazemore, Pedregon's only challenger, edged Johnson.
Capps and Johnson Jr. qualified with identical 4.947-second runs on their last attempts Saturday afternoon, with Capps starting one position in front of Johnson (11th and 12th) by running fastest on that attempt, 314.02 mph to 307.16. Bazemore was fifth and Pedregon sixth.
Johnson left the starting line first -- .047 to .058 - and said he didn't see Bazemore's car at any time, "But I have my helmet taped so I don't see too well peripherally," Johnson added. "And I didn't see the win light come on either. Then I thought, 'Did he win? Are you kidding me?'"
Bazemore crossed first at 4.850, 320.28 mph to Johnson's 4.863 at 314.57 mph, his quickest and fastest run of the weekend. The difference was 22-thousandths of a second.
"It was a frustrating weekend and I'm glad our streak of seven races in seven weeks is over," Johnson said.
Capps' effort began with a brilliant .010 reaction time but the run was short-circuited by severe tire shake early on and he coasted through in 9.053 seconds at 92.44 mph to Pedregon's 4.873 at 315.78.
"The engine made more horsepower on the run and the result was it pulled the tires loose and the tires shook real hard," he said.
Capps remained sixth in points with 1062 points. Johnson is 10th at 986.
The team moves to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals, Oct. 24-26.
Qualified: Capps, No. 11, 4.947 seconds at 314.02 mph; Johnson, No. 12, 4.947 seconds at 307.16 mph
First round: Whit Bazemore, 4.850 at 320.28 def. Johnson, 4.863 at 314.57; Tony Pedregon, 4.873 at 315.78 def. Capps, 9.053 at 92.44.
Pro winners: Kenny Bernstein, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock.
Funny Car Standings: 1, Tony Pedregon, 1592; 2, Whit Bazemore, 1478; 3, John Force, 1415; 4, Gary Densham, 1269; 5, Del Worsham, 1221; 6, Ron Capps, 1062; 7, Gary Scelzi, 1013; 8, Dean Skuza, 1007; 9, Tim Wilkerson, 990; 10, Tommy Johnson Jr., 964