Capps loses point lead to Densham; broken motor, Del Worsham stops Johnson. GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2003 - Ron Capps saw his NHRA Funny Car lead slip away Sunday during the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, but considering he...
Capps loses point lead to Densham; broken motor, Del Worsham stops Johnson.
GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 16, 2003 - Ron Capps saw his NHRA Funny Car lead slip away Sunday during the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, but considering he fought adversity during much of the weekend, he was happy to be only 11 points behind.
Capps qualified Don Prudhomme's Green Skoal Racing Camaro 14th on his final attempt. He experienced another severe engine explosion in a first-round win and was out-run by Gary Densham in the next round. Densham went on to win the race and supplant Capps at the head of the tightly-bunched Funny Car field.
"We lost the points lead, but not by much," said Capps, who has 235 to Densham's 246, and is three points ahead of third-place Tony Pedregon. "It's exciting to be in a neck-and-neck race like this. Our crew has a lot of confidence. We were on what could've been a 4.86 to 4.87 in the first round when an intake valve broke and the engine blew up.
"That explosion matched the one I had in Dallas last October. The only difference was the car's body stayed on this time. I think this one had a bigger concussion.
"The car made a turned left and I had both hands on the wheel, fighting to keep it off the wall at least until after we crossed the finish line. We need every Powerade point we can get, and those 20 points were big.
"My helmet hit the roll cage when the car hit the wall and rung my bell pretty good."
Tim Wilkerson, Capps' opponent, had traction problems on the run and couldn't catch the Camaro, which coasted across in 5.288 seconds at 211.61 mph to a 6.396 at 135.62.
"The crew did a heck of a job getting the car ready for the second round," Capps added. "They had to virtually rebuild the car."
Tommy Johnson Jr., Capps' Prudhomme Racing teammate, didn't have much racing luck, either. He out-qualified Capps with a 4.860, ninth overall, and was leading Del Worsham in the first round when the engine in the Blue Skoal Racing Camaro expired, enabling Worsham to drive by.
"It was frustrating," Johnson said. "We had a freakish parts breakage that we'd never seen before. I never saw Del's car (Johnson had a .053 reaction to a .104). All-in-all, we think it was a positive weekend for the Blue crew. We had back-to-back 4.86s in qualifying."
Johnson is ninth in points with 136.
Both cars planned to test here Monday.
The next event, the SummitRacing.com Nationals, takes place April 4-6 at Las Vegas.