RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, became only the second driver in NHRA history to win back-to-back Big Bud Shootout special events. This win followed a day of mishaps, including a major fire in the first round of the Shootout which virtually ...
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, became only the second driver in NHRA history to win back-to-back Big Bud Shootout special events. This win followed a day of mishaps, including a major fire in the first round of the Shootout which virtually destroyed the new gold '99 Camaro body. Ron defeated Tony Pedregon's Mustang in the final with a 5.266-second pass at 256.45 mph to Pedregon's 5.576/192.47, earning $100,000 for his feat. He won that first round against Skuza, and the "Cope Crusaders" went to work to repair the chassis. The spare, repaired '99 Camaro body was ready to go, and with help from the Miller Lite Top Fuel Dragster team, the Vernon Moats Federal-Mogul team, Ron's brother John and a host of fans and friends, the Camaro was back in the staging lanes in time for the second round against Del Worsham. With fingers crossed and some eyes closed among the crowd, Ron launched with a .544 reaction time to Del's .508. As Worsham smoked the tires, Ron clicked it off early to win that round with a 5.403-second pass at 194.07 mph to Worsham's 7.215/116.31.
CAPPS: ON THE ROUND AGAINST SKUZA: "When the Camaro left I thought it was free and clear to get down the track, but it started to shake the tires real bad, real quick. I gave it a quick pedal and at that point you are just trying to get it down the track. I wasn't sure what Skuza was doing next to me. As great a driver as he is I knew he would get after it. We had $100,000 on the line. The throttle kind of hung wide open, I was able to catch it with my foot and pedaled it to try to keep it down. I don't know what happened, don't know what broke, but it went through the lights and it burst into flames. It scared me, it usually starts orange in the fire windows and it flares up and you can keep it down with the fire bottles. This was fast, it was like an inferno, it was burning my left arm and my left foot. I was really surprised. I remember thinking to myself that if it's this hot this quick I could be in trouble. Setting off the fire bottles made it worse, it seemed like. I coulnd't see anymore and I knew I was sliding around in oil. I wanted to get out because it was hot. I knew the Safety Safari was close. Some guys complain how hot they are in their firesuits. I've been in this situation a couple of times and the firesuit saved my butt. It's unfortunate for the new Camaro body. It's such a pretty body, I hate to see it burned up. I have the best guys in the business, they're the Cope Crusaders. There were like 20 guys working on the car. It burned a lot of stuff off." ARE YOU OK? "I'm fine. They took me to the medical center. They wouldn't let me go for a half hour until they stabilized me. I asked them to radio down to the pits to make sure that the crew knew that I was going to make it, so there's no communication problem about getting the car ready. I snuck out before the doctor came back, he wanted to keep me another half hour." ON WINNING AGAINST THE JOHN FORCE TEAM: "It's everything you strive for. You're at the U.S. Nationals, you are in the final round of the Big Bud Shootout and it's Ford vs. Chevrolet, Camaro vs. Mustang, Don Prudhomme Racing vs. John Force Racing. It's every bit of hype you could put together for anything, it was just a great race. As a driver it was a race that stands out because I saw his car from the get-go in front of me. My car just started gaining momentum and we reeled him in. You go from these highs to lows in just four seconds. You say 'I'm going to lose', to 'I'm catching him', to 'Oh No, I don't know if there's enough time to catch him', to 'Oh, my gosh, I'm passing him,' to 'Unbelievable, I just won the Big Bud Shootout.' That all goes through your head in just four seconds. I don't know if my heart can take it anymore with all these fires and abusing these '99 Camaro bodies. Roland (Leong) is confident, Todd (Okuhara) is confident that we found our problem. The Camaro is every bit capable of running a 4.90 like it did in qualifying in the heat of the day, or better."
Capps ended up No. 3 in qualifying for tomorrow's event, 4.902/304.80. He will face Bob Gilbertson in the first round.