Phoenix: Chevrolet finals notes

PHOENIX, February 18, 2001 - Final eliminations for the 17th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals were completed today at Firebird International Raceway. Ron Capps demonstrated the performance potential of his Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro...

PHOENIX, February 18, 2001 - Final eliminations for the 17th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals were completed today at Firebird International Raceway. Ron Capps demonstrated the performance potential of his Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro Z28 by advancing to the semifinal round before losing to eventual race winner John Force.

The Funny Car battle was fierce this weekend with the 16 starting positions making up the quickest field in NHRA history and the first all four-second lineup. There were 10 drivers qualified in the 4.80s and Capps was one of them starting the event from the No. 6 position with a 4.849 seconds.

Capps' Camaro recorded the quickest two laps in eliminations with a 4.841 elapsed time in round one and a 4.863 second run in round two. By winning a pair of heats against Tony Pedregon and Del Worsham, the 35 year-old San Diego resident will leave this event third in the Winston points standings.

"The good thing is that we know this Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro Z28 is a good hot rod," Capps said. "Basically, to be able to run the 4.84 and the 4.86 today was pretty awesome. On the 4.86 I staged a little deeper so that took away from the e.t. All in all it's been a pretty consistent weekend.

"In the semifinal round, I kept seeing stuff flying out of the engine when I was backing up from the burnout. It turns out that it was eating the belt up - there was an alignment problem on that run so when I stepped on the throttle, a piece of the belt took out our mag retarder which didn't allow the mags to do what they're supposed to do. Consequently we had too much horsepower at that point and that caused it to smoke the tires. It's great to go to the semifinals but we're here to win. We can't wait until Gainesville."

Teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. took his Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro to round two before bowing out to Gary Densham, and Kendall Camaro driver Chuck Etchells advanced to round two before losing to John Force.

"You learn from your mistakes," said Johnson. "We broke a blower snout on the front of the supercharger and the belt came off. It's one of those things that you hardly ever break. It's dejecting because the Skoal Racing Camaro was on it's best pass of the weekend and maybe the best pass of the class all together. It's frustrating to run so well and then lose it like that. But this Chevy Camaro went to the second round today and hopefully we can go further when we get to Gainesville."

In Pro Stock, Kurt Johnson's consecutive round winning streak was halted at 13 when he lost in round two to Mark Pawuk. The ACDelco Chevy Cavalier driver came into Phoenix on a three-race winning streak dating back to the O'Reilly Nationals last October in Dallas, Tex. Johnson hadn't lost a round of eliminations since falling to Warren Johnson in round three of the 2000 Matco Tools Supernationals in Houston, Tex. Although exiting the event early, Kurt's Cavalier ran top speed of the meet in qualifying with a track-record 200.74 mph.

"We made some good calls at the right time at the last three races," Johnson said. "But I'm a realist and know that nothing lasts forever. We just couldn't negotiate that bump in the right-hand lane and that hurt us when we lost lane choice by four-thousandth's of a second. We have a month off between now and Gainesville, and Atlanta Dragway is right up the road. We're going to burn up some tires, burn up some gas and go beat on this thing."

In Super Stock , Dan Fletcher of Rochester, N.Y., won in a 1969 Camaro, and Gary Thompson of Santa Rosa, Calif., won Super Street in a 1986 Corvette.

The next stop on the 24-event NHRA Winston championship schedule is the 32nd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals on March 15 - 18, at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.

<pre> Pro Stock Race Winner: Warren Johnson (Pontiac Grand Am) - 6.924ET/199.20MPH

Pro Stock Runner-Up: Brad Jeter (Pontiac Grand Am) - 6.967ET/198.23MPH

Pro Stock Top Qualifier: Mike Edwards (Pontiac Firebird) - 6.886ET(track record)/199.88MPH

Pro Stock Top 10: 1. Warren Johnson (Grand Am) 2. Kurt Johnson (Cavalier) 3. Darrell Alderman (Dodge) 4. Brad Jeter (Grand Am) 5. Mike Edwards (Firebird) 6. Bruce Allen (Grand Am) 7. Jim Yates (Grand Am) 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Cutlass) 9. Mark Pawuk (Grand Am) 10. Ron Krisher (Firebird)

Funny Car Winner: John Force (Ford Mustang) - 4.929ET/285.77MPH

Funny Car Runner-Up: Bruce Sarver (Pontiac Firebird) - 6.956ET/121.91MPH

Chevrolet Funny Car semifinalists: Ron Capps

Funny Car Top Qualifier: Dean Skuza (Dodge RT) - 4.805ET(track record)/308.57MPH

Funny Car Top 10: 1. Bruce Sarver (Firebird) 2. John Force (Mustang) 3. Ron Capps (Camaro) 4. Tony Pedregon (Mustang) 4. Chuck Etchells (Camaro) 6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Camaro) 7. Whit Bazemore (Firebird) 8. Gary Densham (Firebird) 9. Frank Pedregon (Firebird) 10. Scotty Cannon (Firebird)

Top Fuel Winner: Doug Kalitta - 4.628ET/309.84MPH

Top Fuel Runner-Up: Darrell Russell - 7.416ET/111.94MPH

Top Fuel Top Qualifier:  Mike Dunn (GMC/Yankee Dragster) - 4.521(track 
Top Fuel Top 10: 1. Darrell Russell  2. Doug Kalitta  3. Mike Dunn  4. Larry 
Dixon  5. Gary Scelzi  6. Tony Schumacher  7. Kenny Bernstein  8. Bobby 
Baldwin  9. Doug Herbert  10. David Grubnic

-GM Racing-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Chuck Etchells , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Bruce Allen , Dan Fletcher , Mike Edwards , Gary Thompson , Tommy Johnson Jr.