Phoenix: Capps to semi's: Johnson to quarterfinals

Ron Capps and the Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car produced the two quickest elapsed times during NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals eliminations Sunday but a faulty blower belt cut short Capps' title aspirations in the semifinals at...

Ron Capps and the Skoal Racing Green Camaro Funny Car produced the two quickest elapsed times during NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals eliminations Sunday but a faulty blower belt cut short Capps' title aspirations in the semifinals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz.

After qualifying sixth with a 4.849-second time, Capps began the day with a 4.841-second blast to beat Tony Pedregon. He followed with a 4.863 decision over a red-lighting Del Worsham. In the semis against John Force, the belt shredded and a piece of it cut a line running to the engine's magneto retarder, slowing Capps.

"I saw pieces of something flying off the injector when I was backing up after the burnout," Capps said. "We didn't know what it was then but it was the belt eating itself up and it shredded on the run.

"Ace (crew chief Ed "The Ace" McCulloch) had both our cars running strong. We ran 314.24 mph in the first round and that's our fastest speed since (October) 1997 when we ran 315.45. We are excited about the way the cars ran but we were disappointed to lose."

    Capps did climb into third place with 129 points after two of 24 NHRA 
Winston Series events.   Bruce Sarver leads with 208.

Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Skoal Racing Blue Camaro Funny Car were pulling away from Gary Densham in the quarterfinal when the blower snout on the engine broke, sending Densham to the win - 5.045 at 279.21 to 6.715 128.54.

Johnson's opening-round 4.881 at 310.05 beat Frank Pedregon. He also had qualifying times runs of 4.893 and 4.917.

"The blower snout is one of those things that usually doesn't break," Johnson lamented. "It was a good weekend but one where our actual performances never showed (due to mechanical problems). We thought we were going to get the Skoal Racing Blue and Green crews into the finals. I was just getting ready to enjoy the ride (against Densham) when the snout broke. It was pretty disappointing."

Johnson is sixth with 110 points, 19 behind Capps.

Qualified: Capps, No. 6, 4.849 seconds at 310.13 mph; Johnson, No. 9, 4.893 at 311.49.

First round: Capps, 4.841 at 314.14 def. Tony Pedregon; Johnson, 4.881 at 310.05 def. Frank Pedregon; Quarterfinals: Capps, 4.863 at 309.06 def. Del Worsham; Gary Densham def. Johnson; Semifinals: John Force def. Capps.

Pro winners: Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock.

Next event: Mac Tools Gatornationals, March 16-18, Gainesville, Fla.

-PR-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Doug Kalitta , Gary Densham , Tommy Johnson Jr.