Pomona: Capps reaches semis at Winternationals

Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Report Capps Gets to Semifinals; Johnson Falls Early in NHRA Season-Opening Winternationals POMONA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2002 - Ron Capps had a very consistent Green Skoal Racing Camaro Funny Car for six consecutive runs...

Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Report
Capps Gets to Semifinals; Johnson Falls Early in NHRA Season-Opening Winternationals

POMONA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2002 - Ron Capps had a very consistent Green Skoal Racing Camaro Funny Car for six consecutive runs during the season-opening NHRA Winternationals at Pomona Raceway but still didn't get into the winner's circle.

Tommy Johnson Jr., his teammate, wasn't quite as fortunate. His Blue Skoal Racing crew fought mechanical problems and tire smoke all weekend.

Capps' elapsed times improved on each of his qualifying runs and he wound up fifth at 4.814 seconds. In Sunday's eliminations, Capps added winning runs of 4.825 and 4.832 seconds before squaring off against nemesis John Force in the semifinals. Capps was on another 4.8-second pass when there was bang and the engine's blower belt came off.

Force went on to win the round and the event, edging Del Worsham in a tire-smoking final.

"He was lucky today," said a dejected Capps. "I'm not sure what happened. It was trucking down through there. We were side-by-side. I could hear him next to me and about that time I said 'here we go' and that's when there was a big ka-boom and right after that he came flying by with smoke coming off the rear of his car. That's depressing.

"The encouraging part is we ran so great (this weekend); I'm very excited. This is looking on the bright side," he continued. "This is a great start, but the part that really hurts is that we did what we had to do to step up and run a little quicker. To run a (4).82 and .83, and then be on another run that could've been a high 4.70 or another low 4.80 before something broke is pretty awesome."

Capps used the 4.825 to beat Robert Bode in the first round and the 4.832 to eliminate Gary Scelzi in the quarterfinals. He's third in the Powerade Drag Racing Series standings with 75 points.

Johnson's best weekend run of 5.042 seconds was enough to get him into the starting line-up in the 16th and final position. He lost to Force in the first round. "We definitely wanted to get started on a good note," he commented. "It's just the first race. There are 22 more. Maybe we got our bad race out of the way early."

While the second stop - the Checkers, Kragen, Schuck's Nationals - is scheduled Feb. 22-24 at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., the Skoal Racing team plans to travel to the Phoenix area next weekend for more testing.

Capps Roundup: Qualified: No. 5, 4.814 seconds at 314.68 mph. First round: Capps, 4.825 at 313.95 def. Robert Bode, 11.533 at 71.84; Quarterfinals: Capps, 4.832 at 316.60 def. Gary Scelzi, 8.418 at 115.38; Semifinals: John Force, 4.972 at 295.79 def. Capps, 5.202 at 214.28.

Johnson Roundup: Qualified: No. 16, 5.042 at 296.37 mph. First round: Force, 4.806 at 324.20 def. Johnson, 8.087 at 99.64.

Pro Winners: Top Fuel, Larry Dixon; Funny Car, John Force; Pro Stock, George Marnell.

-dpsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Don Prudhomme , George Marnell , Tommy Johnson Jr.