Capps upsets Bazemore, reaches semifinals; Johnson loses in first round MADISON, Ill., June 29, 2003 - Ron Capps rebounded from a No. 12 starting position and drove the Green Skoal Racing Camaro into the semifinals of the Sears Craftsman...
Capps upsets Bazemore, reaches semifinals; Johnson loses in first round
MADISON, Ill., June 29, 2003 - Ron Capps rebounded from a No. 12 starting position and drove the Green Skoal Racing Camaro into the semifinals of the Sears Craftsman Nationals Sunday at Gateway International Raceway.
Tommy Johnson, his teammate on Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing team, was a victim of tire spin on a slippery racing surface in the first round.
Capps made it to the semifinals by running the quickest elapsed times of the first two rounds. He upset No. 5 qualifier Whit Bazemore in the opening round and beat Tim Wilkerson in the next round on the hot track. Eventual race winner Del Worsham ended Capps' night in the semifinals.
"We weren't stellar in qualifying (4.946 at 305.84 mph), but once again Ace (crew chief Ed 'Ace' McCulloch) proved what he could do on Sunday," said Capps. "Not only did we win the first two rounds, we had low elapsed time in each round. The engine dropped a cylinder about half-track against Del and we slowed down."
"We ran well in the heat and we feel good with the way the car is running right now. We're pretty excited. Our car went right down through there against Bazemore (who is No. 2 in points)," added Capps.
Capps had a good lead off the starting line - .036-.065 - and Bazemore couldn't get close after that. Capps ran 4.981 against Wilkerson in the quarterfinals that were contested in the heat of the day. "I think that was my best reaction time of the year," said Capps.
Johnson started 10th and was ready for Frank Pedregon. Johnson's .065 reaction time bettered Pedregon's .121 and put him way ahead, but the Blue Camaro's tires lost traction and Pedregon was able to get by.
"The track conditions were marginal and the tune-up was a crap shoot," Johnson said. "We just missed it."
Johnson was pleased to qualify. He had watched races in 2000 and 2002 after not qualifying. He was, however, runner-up at the track in 2001.
Capps remained fifth in NHRA POWERade Series points with 734 - 66 behind third-place Worsham's 801 - and Johnson stayed seventh at 619.
The second half of the 23-race season gets underway July 18-20 in Denver.