Johnson makes quickest run; Capps consistent at U.S. Nationals INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 7, 2003 - Skoal Racing teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps had encouraging performances as the NHRA's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals was completed Sunday after a...
Johnson makes quickest run; Capps consistent at U.S. Nationals
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 7, 2003 - Skoal Racing teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps had encouraging performances as the NHRA's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals was completed Sunday after a one-week rain delay.
Johnson took his quickest Funny Car ride in the Don "The Snake" Prudhomme-owned Blue Camaro while Capps' Green Camaro displayed a very consistent qualifying effort at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Johnson claimed the No. 5 starting position for Sunday's eliminations with his 4.788-second quarter-mile run at 318.92 mph and advanced to the quarterfinals before tire shake and tire smoke led to his loss to Gary Densham.
"That was definitely a good run," Johnson said of his qualifying effort. "Things keep getting better. It's nice to have a competitive car."
He began the day with a 4.905, 307.30 decision over Frank Pedregon's 5.616, 176.17.
Both Johnson and Densham had traction problems. The main difference was Densham was able to recover without losing momentum. Johnson slowed to a 6.358 and Densham won with a 5.734.
"I saw him have problems," noted Johnson, "but our car shook the tires, and then went into smoke. Ever-changing track conditions caught up with us. We had a new car and tune-up that we aren't used to yet."
Capps credited new crew chief Todd Okuhara with the tune-ups that led to times of 4.927 twice, 4.813 and 4.821 seconds over the two weekends of racing. His 4.813 put him seventh overall and sent him against Scotty Cannon in the first round. Cannon beat Capps to the finish line with a 4.903 at 311.34 to a 4.928 at 306.88.
"I have a lot of confidence in Todd," said Capps. "We had one of our most consistent qualifying efforts of the season. He took over and has the car going down the track. That gives me more confidence and he gets more data from the runs, and that's a big deal."
"We were trying to run a mid-4.80 (seconds) against Cannon but, for some reason, the clutch wore more than Todd wanted and Scotty ran well," added Capps.
Johnson and Capps lost in the first round of Saturday's special Budweiser Shootout - Johnson to Whit Bazemore, 4.924, 313.15 to 4.911 at 311.27, and Capps to John Force, 4.899, 313.15 to 4.927 at 308.35. Tony Pedregon won the $100,000 top prize.
Johnson closed in on Capps in points. Capps is sixth with 873 and Johnson seventh at 866.
The Skoal Racing team returns to action Friday through Sunday at Reading, Pa.
Qualified: Johnson, No. 5, 4.788 seconds at 318.92 mph; Capps, No. 7, 4.813 at 319.52
First round: Johnson, 4.9905 at 307.30 def. Frank Pedregon, 5.616 at 175.52; Scotty Cannon, 4.903 at 311.34 def. Capps, 4.928 at 306.88
Pro winners: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Tim Wilkerson, Funny car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock.
Funny Car Standings: 1, Tony Pedregon, 1315; 2, Whit Bazemore, 1258; 3, John Force, 1006; 4, Gary Densham, 1024; 5, Del Worsham, 1007; 6, Ron Capps, 873; 7, Tommy Johnson Jr., 866; 8, Gary Scelzi, 813; 9, Johnny Gray, 792; 10, Cruz Pedregon, 788