Indianapolis: U.S. Nationals Sunday Summary

Capps wins $100,000 Budweiser Shootout while McClenathan, Pedregon, Krisher and Savoie take no. 1 qualifying honors at Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. CLERMONT, Ind. -- Ron Capps raced to his third Budweiser Shootout victory Sunday at the Mac Tools...

Capps wins $100,000 Budweiser Shootout while McClenathan, Pedregon, Krisher and Savoie take no. 1 qualifying honors at Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

CLERMONT, Ind. -- Ron Capps raced to his third Budweiser Shootout victory Sunday at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag race.

Cory McClenathan, Tony Pedregon, Ron Krisher and Angelle Savoie will lead their respective pro categories into Monday's 10:30 a.m. eliminations as the No. 1 qualifiers for the $2.5 million race, the 17th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Capps earned the $100,000 payday in the special bonus event for Funny Car competitors by clocking a 4.971 second run at 293.47 mph in his Skoal Chevy Camaro to hold off Dean Skuza's Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T, which trailed with a 5.061 at 282.19. Should Capps win tomorrow's Funny Car eliminations he will claim a $50,000 'double-up' bonus from NHRA, bringing his potential weekend earnings to more than $230,000.

"This is awesome," said Capps, who also won the Budweiser Shootout in 1998 and 1999. "I can't believe we won this race again. The guys really worked hard and we had some tough rounds today. We've been struggling and the car wants to run. When you look at the ladder for the Bud Shootout, gosh, the guys we had to race today. I knew this could be a really quick day or it could be an extremely grueling long race, which it was. The race tomorrow is going to be huge. With Snake doubling-up at this race years ago in the Skoal Bandit car and everything that has happened here over the years, it gives you chills."

Cory McClenathan, a two-time U.S. Nationals winner, captured his first No. 1 qualifying award of the season and 27th of his career in Top Fuel. He drove his special edition Mac Tools dragster to a 4.553 at 322.34 to lead the 16-car order.

"This is huge for us because it is the first time all year that we're the No. 1 qualifier and we do it at Indy in our Stars and Stripes Mac Tools U.S. Nationals dragster," McClenathan said. "Myself, David (Baca) and the whole team worked hard through testing and all of last week to get things done and get the car right. This really makes everyone happy. This puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow, but no round win comes easy."

Doug Kalitta was second with a 4.572 at 311.92 in the Mac Tools dragster. Points leader Larry Dixon claimed the third spot with a 4.597 at 321.73 in the Miller Lite dragster.

Top Fuel legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, an eight-time U.S. Nationals winner, failed to qualify in his non-traditional mono-strut Matco Tools dragster. His 17th place effort, which featured a time of 4.763 seconds and a career-best speed of 318.54 mph, just missed the starting lineup.

"I am really pleased with how the car performed because it proves the design of the car works," said Garlits, 71. "I am disappointed for the fans because a lot of them in the stands would like to see me run on Monday. I think a lot of people thought that the design of the car was wrong and we've been able to prove them wrong. That car is so much fun to drive, I just don't know how much longer I'll do it. I am going to try and get enough sponsorship dollars to go to Dallas because I like that track. The guy that bumped me out, God bless him and I hope he goes all the way on Monday. I can't ever remember coming to Indy and not being in the show."

In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon posted his 14th career No. 1 qualifying position and fourth of the season, taking top honors with a 4.797 at 317.34 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang.

"It was very important for us to make that afternoon run to re-establish ourselves," said Pedregon, who was quickest of all cars in the final session. "I was hoping it would get a little warmer than it actually was today. The conditions we run in tomorrow during the first round will most be likely be cool enough for us to be able to negotiate that. In the second round we might be staring at some warmer conditions and I think we wanted to establish a pass under those conditions. From that perspective, the fact that we were able to run quicker than any other car in that session was a big lift for us and we will not make the same mistake we did in the Budweiser Shootout. I think we just backed it up too much. The only thing that is going to be important tomorrow is our ability and the depth that we have. For the other drivers to beat us they are going to have to outrun us.

Three-time Indy winner John Force will start second based on his qualifying time of 4.800 at 318.84, in his Castrol GTX Mustang. Cruz Pedregon, also a three-time winner at this race, was third in his Advance Auto Parts Pontiac Firebird with a 4.811 at 313.07

Defending winner Whit Bazemore failed to qualify for the event in his Matco Tools Firebird, ending a streak of 45 consecutive elimination starts.

"Everyone knows how fickle these cars can be," said Bazemore, who last posted a DNQ at Reading, Pa. in 2000. "Ever since the first day of qualifying we were lost on the first run and we just never figured it out. It's just so competitive out here and there's so many new guys like Dale Creasy Jr. and Cory Lee who are beginning to make better runs. We didn't have our act together, so we got put out. I really don't want to come out here tomorrow but I am going to. There's so much magic, mystique and history at IRP you just put so much more into it emotionally that the feeling is that much greater when you win or something like this happens. To succeed you have to have a great driver performing well and a great car performing well. We've only been getting one or the other, but never both at the same time."

Krisher earned his seventh No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 12th of his career, driving his Eagle One Chevy Cavalier to a track record performance of 6.819 at 201.31.

Savoie claimed her seventh top qualifying effort of the year and 31st of her career, clocking a 7.152 at 185.64 on her Star Racing Suzuki.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Dale Creasy Jr. , Don Garlits , Cory McClenathan , Cory Lee