Tommy Johnson runner-up at Route 66 Nationals; Capps reaches Quarterfinals JOLIET, Ill., June 1, 2003 - On a weekend when Skoal Racing drivers Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. set personal elapsed time bests, it was Johnson who had the best Lucas...
Tommy Johnson runner-up at Route 66 Nationals; Capps reaches Quarterfinals
JOLIET, Ill., June 1, 2003 - On a weekend when Skoal Racing drivers Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. set personal elapsed time bests, it was Johnson who had the best Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals race day results - a runner-up Funny Car finish.
Johnson, appearing in his 16th final and seventh since he joined Don Prudhomme's team in 2001, defeated Cruz Pedregon in the first round and Tony Pedregon in the quarterfinals. He drove the Blue Camaro past Gary Densham in the semifinals.
Whit Bazemore, his final-round foe, used a starting line advantage to outrun Johnson for the victory - 4.872 seconds at 319.67 mph to Johnson's 4.839 at 316.97.
"I don't know what happened at the starting line," Johnson said of his .151 of a second reaction time. "The opportunity was there to get a win and we missed it. "I should've had a better light."
Johnson did have to pedal the throttle to fight tire smoke and get past both Pedregons, winning with a 5.526 against Cruz and a 5.105 against Tony.
"As a team, we are getting better," said Johnson. "If we continue pulling it together we'll get a win soon. The team as a whole did a great job today."
Weather conditions were different each day here. It went from cool and wet to a tornado advisory Friday night that canceled the second qualifying session. Saturday was cold, overcast and blustery and Sunday was warmer and the track temperatures were higher.
Johnson qualified seventh on the strength of his career-best 4.790-second run Saturday.
Capps, meanwhile, was eighth at 4.819 seconds. However, in the first round, Capps' Green Camaro made its first 4.7-second time a good one, going 4.753 at 322.96 mph - his quickest and fastest - while eliminating Bob Bode. It also was the quickest of the eliminations.
Tire shake and tire smoke, plus a 4.972-second time by John Lawson, ended Capps' day in the opening round.
"That surprised me because we'd run so well in the first round and Ace (crew chief Ed 'Ace' McCulloch) and Todd (Okuhara, assistant crew chief) backed it down so it wouldn't smoke the tires," said Capps. "It was nice to finally run in the 4.70s, but it was too bad that we didn't get more round wins."
Capps stayed fifth in points with 586 while Johnson moved up to sixth, 552.
The team resumes NHRA POWERade Series competition in the Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 13-15, at Columbus, Ohio.