Houston: Capps, Johnson to quarterfinals

BAYTOWN, Texas, March 25, 2001 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. added quarterfinals finishes to their 2001 NHRA results ledger Sunday during the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. CAPPS, DRIVING the Skoal Racing Green Camaro,...

BAYTOWN, Texas, March 25, 2001 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. added quarterfinals finishes to their 2001 NHRA results ledger Sunday during the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

CAPPS, DRIVING the Skoal Racing Green Camaro, qualified fourth with a 4.852-second, 312.28 mph run. He defeated Jerry Toliver in the first round (4.917 at 306.74 mph to 5.159 at 268.17), but lost all-important lane choice to Gary Densham in the following round.

Densham, who shocked the competition with a career-best 4.829-second win over Scotty Cannon in the opening match, followed with a 4.861 at 303.98. Capps' Camaro spun the tires close to the finish line and slowed to a 5.022 at 274.94 mph.

"Lane choice was important today," said Capps. "It became very apparent during qualifying that the left lane seemed to be a little better. It also became obvious with some of the other times run during the first round that our 4.91 time wasn't quick enough and we lost lane choice.

"My car spun the tires a little bit in the first 60 feet against Toliver and whenever it does that you lose quite a bit of e.t. That wasn't the kind of time Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) was expecting. The car struck the tires harder against Densham."

JOHNSON, DRIVING the Skoal Racing Blue Camaro, qualified seventh (4.881 at 309.70 mph) and eliminated Al Hofmann in the first round. Each car was timed in 4.927 seconds but the win belonged to Johnson because he had a two-hundredths (of a second) head start at the starting line.

Whit Bazemore, Johnson's second-round opponent, stopped the clocks in 4.854-seconds to get the preferred lane in the quarterfinals. Bazemore took that win with a 4.910 at 311.34 while Johnson's car slowed to a 4.973 at 301.27.

"Race day wasn't really as good as we wanted," he said. "We were consistent, but not consistently fast enough. We were a tenth (of a second) off where we need to be.

"We've run pretty decently all year but come race day we've kind of stumbled a little bit . . . not real bad, but we're just not at the level we need to be. It's early in the points race but you don't want to get too far behind early in the season."

Capps is fifth in the standings with 184 points and Johnson is seventh with 163.

The Skoal Racing team returns to action in the Summitracing.com Nationals, April 6-8 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Qualified: Capps, No. 4, 4.852 seconds at 312.28 mph; Johnson, No. 7, 4.881 at 309.70.

First round: Capps, 4.917 at 306.74 def. Jerry Toliver; Johnson, 4.927 at 306.05 def. Al Hofmann

Pro winners: Mike Dunn, Top Fuel; Del Worsham, Funny Car; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock.

Next event: Summitracing.com Nationals, April 6-8, Las Vegas

-GM Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Dunn , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.