FUNNY CAR ELIMINATIONS RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, defeated Al Hofmann, Del Worsham and Scotty Cannon to reach the finals against Jerry Toliver, in the WWF Racing Camaro Z28. This will mark only the second all-Camaro Funny...
FUNNY CAR ELIMINATIONS
RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, defeated Al Hofmann, Del Worsham and Scotty Cannon to reach the finals against Jerry Toliver, in the WWF Racing Camaro Z28. This will mark only the second all-Camaro Funny Car final in NHRA history. The first was in Phoenix in 1998, when Chuck Etchells, in the Kendall Camaro Z28, defeated Ron Capps' Camaro Z28.
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, lost the first round to Kenny Sayers, with a 5.129/286.80 to Sayers' 5.074/306.33.
BAZEMORE: "We went out and at about 300 feet, when we were ahead, everything was fine. We dropped a cylinder at 1.6 seconds. It had ignition problems maybe. It's just one of those things. It's a mechanical problem that cost us the first round. It's incredibly frustrating for the whole team. On the other hand, you know it's racing and you are going to have that. We are in a slump. The thing that is good is that the whole team is very determined to make this right and it's a very, very good team. I'll take this team over any other team out there. Our results don't show the effort that's made at this team. That's what's frustrating, but when that happens you have to keep doing what you are doing, working harder. We will make it right." WHAT NEXT? "We're looking forward to a good first round in Las Vegas. But first we have to go there and qualify. The Camaro runs very strongly; it was quick and consistent in Phoenix testing, we had our career best on Friday qualifying and so the tune-up is there, the performance is there, everything is there; we just have to change our luck. That's what it comes down to. We have a little problem here, and a little problem there. They seemed to rear their heads in the first round and it cost us. We got beat by an underdog. They qualified for this race. Just qualifying for this race is an accomplishment. It was pretty awesome for them. We don't take anyone lightly. If you qualified for this race you were in with a chance of winning. That's how competitive it is."
PRO STOCK TRUCK -- CHEVY S-10
Defending Winston Champion BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, was defeated by David Spitzer in the second round with a 7.821/144.50 pass to Spitzer's 7.582/176.49.
PANELLA: "It pretty much just got out of control. In both runs today. I don't know if we lost what setup that we had or the track changed enough to make us lose our setup. But we were not even close. It went nuts two times in a row. There wasn't much I could do with it either run. The first round it moved around a little bit, it got in the marbles. In the second run it didn't move around, it was just spinning and shaking. I put it in fifth gear and it just started going crazy. There's nothing I could do with it. I wasn't going to scratch it up to try to get the win. It isn't worth it." ON JEFF GRACIA (BOB'S TEAMMATE) REACHING THE SEMIS FOR THE FIRST TIME: "He's driving good, and we're sneaking up on the performance. If we can keep picking up some here and there we might have something for Randy." (Note: Gracia lost to Randy Daniels in the semis.)
BRAD JETER, JERRY HAAS RACE CARS CHEVY S-10, was eliminated in the second round by GREG STANFIELD, in a Bart Price Chevy S-10: 7.584/177.04 for Jeter, 7.619/176.49 for Stanfield.
JETER: "I feel better about everything. We are getting closer. We finally got two good runs under our belt we can tune from. I think it will carry us to the next level. I'm satisfied with how we ran this weekend. We qualified well, everyone worked together, the guys did a great job. We have to get a little luck going our way and hopefully get this thing in the finals real soon. I have got to sharpen up a little more on my lights, the .442 and .453 are not good enough. I think I need to be back in the .420s and .430s. Everyone here is tough; there's no room on the table for error. It's a matter of time before we get into the winner's circle. Greg admitted he got lucky (with the .410 light). I don't care if he got lucky or not I should not have had a .450 at the tree. Regardless of what he did, it's neither here or there. The bottom line is I should have been better at the tree."
PRO STOCK ELIMINATIONS -- CAMARO Z28
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, defeated Mark Pawuk in the first round, then was eliminated by Ron Krisher in the second round: 7.349/159.95 for Kurt, 6.928/198.64 for Krisher.
KURT: "We've been fighting this thing, trying to keep it going straight. We had Don Ness (chassis builder) over here. He was helping us last night, and we got Dad's (Warren Johnson) concept on it. We don't know why this thing is wanting to go left. We have it on the scales right now trying to figure it out. If you have a race car that doesn't want to go straight you're not going to get from point A to point B the quickest or consistently, and consistency is what we need right now. We made a little straighter run this morning. There was maybe a hundredth (of a second) or two left in the Camaro because it definitely wanted to go left and then it wanted to hunt down track. We're going to scale this thing down and see what we can find and look over it during the week, and then we have to go run it, to get the thing to where it's consistently straight -- let the clutch out and take your hands off the wheel. That's what the Jeg's cars are doing out there. They're getting down the track real straight. If you can read the door at 60 foot, that's not good."
CAMARO WINS FUNNY CAR; CHEVY S-10 TAKES PRO STOCK TRUCK TITLE
JERRY TOLIVER, in the WWF Racing Camaro Z28, won his third Funny Car title in four races. His streak began at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Nationals in Pomona, in November, 1999. He won again at the AutoZone Winternationals in February in Pomona and here today.
He defeated RON CAPPS, in the U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, with a 5.071-second pass at 296.50 mph (.506 R/T), while Ron experienced tire shake, crossing the finish line in 6.185 seconds at 155.76 mph (.469 R/T). This win places Toliver in a strong lead over John Force in the Winston Championship: 307 points to Force's 233.
Capps moves into third place behind Force, with 217 points.
This was only the second all-Camaro final in NHRA history. The first was in Phoenix in 1998, when Chuck Etchells, in the Kendall Oil Camaro, defeated Capps' then Copenhagen Camaro Z28.
Ron defeated Al Hofmann, Del Worsham, and Scotty Cannon to reach his 15th final round and second straight. In the quarterfinal win over Worsham he ran his career-best elapsed time, 4.838 seconds. His consistent, quick laps (4.899, 4.838, 4.986) launched him into the final round, where he posted his worst e.t. of the day.
Toliver was also the model of consistency today, defeating Dean Skuza with a 4.951-second pass, Tony Pedregon with a 4.888-second lap, and Todd Paton with a 4.915-second pass. Like Capps, his slowest elapsed time was also in the final round.
CAPPS: "It's tough to be unhappy about being a runner-up with the way things are going right now, especially when you use last year as a reference. It feels good to be in the final and be runner-up. It's a lot better than what we did last year (one runner-up, ninth place in points). We are in the hunt right now. The Camaro is very consistent the way Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) is running it. We broke the blower studs off the manifold in our semifinal win. Ace put on a new blower and manifold and tried to run another low 4.80-second time. But the tires shook and I pedaled the throttle. When I did, the front end came up and all I could see was horizon. I was looking for Toliver out my side window. When he went by, I got out of the throttle and pedaled it to get the front end down."
RANDY DANIELS WINS PRO STOCK TRUCK FROM POLE POSITION
RANDY DANIELS, in the BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, won his fourth (counting the non-points Winston Showdown in 1999) Pro Stock Truck title today, and took home the national record for speed, 179.78 mph. He beat GREG STANFIELD, driving the DBP ENTERPRISES CHEVY S-10, with a 7.517-second pass at 178.21 mph (.487 R/T) to Stanfield's 7.779/148.35 (.422 R/T). Daniels claimed his first No. 1 qualifying spot of his career, 7.494, after not qualifying in the opening event of the year in Pomona.
This was his Daniels' fifth final-round appearance, Stanfield's second consecutive (he was runner-up at the season opener in Pomona). It also moves Stanfield into first in Winston points, 15 points ahead of defending Winston Champion BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA MOTORSPORTS CHEVY S-10, who was ousted in the second round (189-174). Daniels takes over third place with 128 points.
DANIELS: "This is a little bit of Novacaine for Pomona. I feel better right now than if the doctor had given me a shot. It was disappointing to not qualify in Pomona when we knew we had the horsepower. Greg put it on me on the tree. That old Daniels horsepower just ran him down. It was like a V6 versus a V8 in high gear. I watched him until the eighth of a mile. We were neck and neck. He had problems. He started falling back pretty dramatically at the finish line. I knew it was over at 1000 feet. I knew if I kept the shiny side up it was mine."
STANFIELD: "I don't know if it was something on the track. Everything was going good and all of a sudden it went nuts. It got real loose. I don't think it would have done any good if I stood in it. I hit the wall once before, I don't feel like hitting it again. It's not a fun experience."
WHEN DID YOU HIT THE WALL? "Last year testing in an S-10 in Shreveport, La. It blew a head gasket, blew the bottom radiator hose off. The damage wasn't so bad, it was just a quarter panel. Randy is real fast. He's like extremely fast. They work hard, they're good people. We had him a little bit on the tree, it was going to be close."