FUNNY CAR: CAPPS LEADS CAMARO CONTINGENT AFTER THREE QUALIFYING ROUNDS After three of five rounds of qualifying for the prestigious U.S. Nationals, RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CAMARO Z28, leads the Camaro contingent in third place, with a ...
FUNNY CAR: CAPPS LEADS CAMARO CONTINGENT AFTER THREE QUALIFYING ROUNDS
After three of five rounds of qualifying for the prestigious U.S. Nationals, RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CAMARO Z28, leads the Camaro contingent in third place, with a 4.967-second pass at 306.53 mph posted in today's evening session. Capps ran side-by-side with John Force, who grabbed second place with a slightly quicker 4.967-second lap.
In fifth is SCOTTY CANNON, in the MAD SCIENTIST CAMARO Z28, with a 5.002/297.61.
He's followed by CRISTEN POWELL in seventh, driving the BAZEMORE RACING NITRO-FISH CAMARO Z28. Cristen ran a Pontiac body in last night's qualifying session, then switched to the Camaro body for today's runs. Cristen set a stout lap of 5.032/302.69 in the second round today, which followed a 5.04-second pass earlier today, quelling any doubts of her driving ability.
Meanwhile, WHIT BAZEMORE, in the KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is not yet qualified. Whit has struggled all weekend with tire shake and pedaled it to the finish line in tonight's session to post a 5.755/246.57 lap, good only for 22nd place.
Also not qualifying were BOB GILBERTSON, TRICK TANK CAMARO Z28 (5.428/216.90), and BOB WEICKGENNANT, in a CAMARO Z28, 5.311/288.70.
JIM EPLER, in the WWF RACING 'BIG RED MACHINE' CAMARO Z28, is eighth, 5.046/298.47.
CAPPS: "We don't have lane choice for the Budweiser Shootout. We had a good number on that lap, especially in what's considered not the best lane out here (the right lane). I don't know why, maybe in years past the left lane has had more wins in it. I think they're pretty equal." ON THE GOOD RUN: "The Camaro wanted to do that all weekend. It's a brand-new car we're running here; a brand-new chassis and a brand-new Camaro body that we have had most of the year but it's been upstairs (in the transporter). It doesn't have any runs on it. The body we had been running has had a few fires and we grazed the wall with it in Brainerd. In the earlier pass today I clicked it off early. It was getting weird after half-track. It turns out the fuel shutoff lever is mounted differently and my leg may have been pushing on it; it's real close to my knee. The guys fixed that and we were close to what we though the car would run before. We feel pretty good about going into the Shootout tomorrow. The Camaro is very consistent right now. If we can go three rounds tomorrow we will be looking good."
BAZEMORE: "We're fighting some gremlins over here with this Camaro and I feel bad for Terry (Manzer, crew chief) and the whole team because they work awfully hard and this is a very frustrating experience. But we have been in it before and we just have to work our way out of it. My main priority has changed now. I'm not as concerned about the Budweiser Shootout. We have to qualify for the U.S. Nationals. We've got the first round of the Shootout in the morning and we are not in a very strong position right now." ON CRISTEN DOING SO WELL IN THE BAZEMORE RACING ENTRY: "That's been a ray of sunshine. When the car runs well like it has today you feel really good and it's a different feeling from being a driver. It just feels really good. I can't explain it. On one side, it's very frustrating to not be qualified, but on the other side I'm happy for that team because they're doing a hell of a job. It's a part-time crew, it's cobbled together, it's last minute. We had no intention of running that team, then it came together in the last two weeks. To come out here and make two runs consistently like that is good. Cristen is doing a great job. I talked to her a little bit after the first run about some things I saw and she addressed them and on the second run she looked even better. I'm really impressed by that. I just took it upon myself to talk with her; maybe I shouldn't have. It seemed to work. She's had a bad rap out here and I think she's a good driver. She proved it today. You can never have too much experience in these cars, so the more seat time she gets the better she will be. To come back like she did after not racing for so long and get in a car she's not familiar with is pretty impressive."
POWELL: "It's strange driving for Whit. It's like he's my boss, but I still need to beat him. We haven't raced each other yet, but he said when we pull up to the lane to race him like anyone else. He's so supportive; he comes by all the time. I don't know if I'm happier or he's happier when we run well. We came into the race and we hadn't tested. People questioned why we did that. Then we came out in the first run and we had a 5.16, even shutting off early. Then we ran an .04 and an .03 today -- wow. We're sixth and not too many people are running quicker than that. It's so cool. I'm really tickled with it. (Crew chief) Wayne Dupuy and Chris Cunningham are working on this car. It's just the two of them. Wayne has made this car run really fast in the past and Chris has helped on many teams. Quite a few of the people here have worked together, but not on this car. It's really neat how quickly it's worked out." WHY DID YOU SWITCH BODIES? "We had the Pontiac and we felt like we weren't getting enough downforce. It smoked the tires on the back end in the first run and we put the Camaro on and it really solved our problems."