Englishtown: Capps makes the semifinals

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., Sept. 9, 2000 - One second Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car were running toward another final-round appearance and the next the car was engulfed in a ball of flames. Such was the case Saturday during ...

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., Sept. 9, 2000 - One second Ron Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car were running toward another final-round appearance and the next the car was engulfed in a ball of flames.

Such was the case Saturday during completion of the Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals at Raceway Park.

The engine gave up and eventual race winner Cruz Pedregon beat Capps in the semifinals. Capps called this "the hottest fire I've had in my career," and he suffered first degree burns on both of his lower legs. "I'm fine," he added.

"I saw Cruz's car ahead of me. When our clutch started to lock up there was a big explosion and a whole bunch of fire that immediately filled up the cockpit. It burned my boots real bad, and that's how I burned my legs. It was unfortunate because we really felt confident we could get to the finals.

"That's the bad news," Capps continued. "The good news is that we passed Tony Pedregon in points; we're back in third place." Capps has 1076 to 1040 for Pedregon.

Capps began the day from the No. 16 qualifying position and promptly defeated top seed Jim Epler - 5.020 seconds at 304.12 mph to 8.338 at 105.10 - before eliminating Scotty Cannon in the quarterfinals with a 4.947 at 307.72. The latter time was second quickest during eliminations behind John Force's 4.940.

Capps and the U.S. Tobacco Co. team will be ready for the Keystone Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at Reading, Pa.

Qualified: No. 16, 7.326 seconds at 264.96 mph.

First round: Capps, 5.020 at 304.12 def. Jim Epler; Quarterfinal: Capps, 4.947 at 307.72 def. Scotty Cannon; Semifinal - Cruz Pedregon def. Capps

Next event: Keystone Nationals, Sept. 15-17, Reading, Pa.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon