Indianapolis: Epler, Camaro advance in Bud Shootout

JIM EPLER, WWF RACING 'BIG RED MACHINE' CAMARO Z28, advanced to the final round in the Budweiser Shootout special event today (which also counted for qualifying), after defeating RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, in the first round and Dean...

JIM EPLER, WWF RACING 'BIG RED MACHINE' CAMARO Z28, advanced to the final round in the Budweiser Shootout special event today (which also counted for qualifying), after defeating RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, in the first round and Dean Skuza in the second round. Epler will face John Force in the final for the $100,000 prize.

WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, was ousted in the first round by Dean Skuza. He was pleased, however, with his clean, unproblematic run down the track for the first time this weekend. Unfortunately, his 5.145-second elapsed time at 296.76 mph was not good enough to put him into the Funny Car field. Whit's new team, the BAZEMORE RACING NITRO-FISH CAMARO Z28 entry, had an outstanding pass with CRISTEN POWELL at the wheel. Cristen recorded the fourth quickest elapsed time of the weekend, a 4.981 at 304.60 mph.

RON CAPPS' six-round Budweiser Shootout win streak came to an end when the engine's blower belt broke in the first round. Capps was ahead of Epler when the belt broke and Epler drove to victory with a 5.053-second lap at 295.21 mph. Capps coasted through at 5.732/170.54.

CAPPS: "What a huge disappointment. We felt pretty good about our chances in the first round. We were ahead of him when it happened. The (incremental) times were exactly like ours from yesterday (when Capps posted his weekend-best 4.968 at 300.53 mph), so it could've run another (4).96. Now we're looking forward to tomorrow's race. Ron is No. 4 qualifier, with one qualifying session left.

BAZEMORE: "We went down the track. That's our baseline run, and now we have one round to get into the show. I feel confident we made a lot of progress. We said last night that the Shootout was not a priority, that qualifying for the U.S. Nationals is a priority. I have to say that's true. But, when you wake up on race morning and you have a big race like the Shootout to face that day, it still has a lot of significance. We went up there to win the race and just fell a little short. We made some strides with the car, I think; hopefully we can transform that progress into more performance later today and get in the show."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Dean Skuza , John Force