ENNIS, Texas, May 28, 2000 - Call this a lost and found weekend for Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team during the Castrol Nationals at the Texas Motorplex. In the beginning, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch was ...
ENNIS, Texas, May 28, 2000 - Call this a lost and found weekend for Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team during the Castrol Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
In the beginning, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch was looking for the right combination. By race day - and after Capps qualified 12th (4.997 at 300.30 mph) - he found it. And how!
Capps stunned first-round opponent Jim Epler and the rest of the Funny Car field with a career-best 4.811-second performance at 310.13 mph. The time was the best this year in the era of the 90-percent nitromethane fuel rule.
Capps followed that with a 4.894 win over Jerry Toliver before losing a close one to his nemesis, John Force, in the semifinals. It was Capps' fourth meeting with Force this year, and his fourth loss. The first three came in finals at Phoenix, Richmond, Va., and Atlanta.
Capps' black U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro was ahead of Force until the final 200 feet. That's when the engine's blower belt came apart and Force won with a 4.915 to 4.942. "The car left pretty hard," Capps recalled. "I didn't even hear Force's car next to me. Then the inside teeth of the blower belt sheared off. When that happened, I saw Force's car out my window. I thought we had him, but that's the way it happens."
Capps remained third in points (with 600). Toliver, the leader all season, dropped to second (644) and Force took the lead (677) following his record-tying 85th career win.
Capps and Co. resume their quest for victory Friday through Sunday at the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill.
Qualified: No. 12, 4.997 seconds at 300.30 mph.
First Round: Capps, 4.811 at 310.13 def. Jim Epler; Quarterfinals: Capps, 4.894 at 303.23 def. Jerry Toliver; Semifinals: Force, 4.915 at 316.67 def. Capps, 4.942 at 297.71.
Pro Winners: Gary Scelzi, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; V. Gaines, Pro Stock.
Next Event: Prestone Route 66 Nationals, Joliet, Ill., June 2-4