JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 30, 2001 - Tommy Johnson Jr. turned in a quarterfinal finish in the NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway Sunday while teammate Ron Capps was involved in history's quickest side-by-side Funny Car run at Route 66...
JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 30, 2001 - Tommy Johnson Jr. turned in a quarterfinal finish in the NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway Sunday while teammate Ron Capps was involved in history's quickest side-by-side Funny Car run at Route 66 Raceway.
Johnson's Blue Skoal Racing Camaro led the two-car team in qualifying coming in with a 4.817-second, 308.78-mph run to place sixth in what was a very quick Funny Car field. He advanced with a first-round decision over Del Worsham (4.837 to 4.874) but couldn't keep pace with Tony Pedregon in the next round.
Pedregon, who bested Capps' Green Skoal Racing Camaro in the opening round, was timed in 4.840 seconds at 319.07 mph. Johnson gave chase for a while before the car's clutch gave way, forcing him to shut off.
"The clutch setup was a little soft in the first round and we got after it against Pedregon but the clutch didn't like it," Johnson commented. "It just drove through the clutch when I shut it off.
"The Blue Skoal Racing car is headed in the right direction. Before long we'll be have it back in the final round again." Johnson has been to two finals this year, winning at Las Vegas in April and finishing second at St. Louis in June.
Capps' crew experienced clutch and fuel system problems during the weekend and he smoked the tires in the first two qualifying runs. When crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch solved the clutch glitch and Capps qualified 14th (4.856 seconds), the fuel system malfunctioned. McCulloch corrected it in time for the first round.
Capps had his best weekend run (4.813 seconds at 312.06 mph) against Pedregon, whose 4.773 at 322.88 was the winner in the quickest side-by-side.
"We kind of got ourselves in trouble by losing those two rounds but Ace found the problems and we just had two runs to qualify. So all-in-all it was pretty good considering how far behind we get," Capps said. "We knew we could run a low (4.)80 in the first round and that's what we did. It's just unfortunate the guy next to us ran a (4.)77."
Capps is now two points behind third place Del Worsham, 1237-1235, and Johnson remained eighth with 952.
The Skoal Racing team returns to competition in the Pep Boys Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Reading, Pa., the third race of three in a row.
Qualified: Johnson, No. 6, 4.817 seconds at 308.78 mph; Capps, No. 14, 4.856 seconds at 307.23 mph
First round: Johnson, 4.837 at 313.07 def. Del Worsham, 4.874 at 317.94; Tony Pedregon def. Capps; Quarterfinals: Pedregon def. Johnson;
Pro winners: Kenny Bernstein, Top Fuel; Kenny Bernstein, Funny Car; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock