Reading: Skoal Racing eliminations summary

Capps reaches semifinals, Johnson quarterfinals at rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals. MOHNTON, Pa., Sept. 16, 2002 - It took two days to complete, but Skoal Racing teammates Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. were both satisfied with their ...

Capps reaches semifinals, Johnson quarterfinals at rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals.

MOHNTON, Pa., Sept. 16, 2002 - It took two days to complete, but Skoal Racing teammates Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. were both satisfied with their performances in the rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Capps, driving the Green Skoal Racing Funny Car, advanced to the semifinals and pulled within two rounds of sixth-place Scotty Cannon in the NHRA POWERade Series standings. Johnson, at the controls of the Blue Skoal Racing Camaro, continued assisting his teammate in his climb up the standings by beating Cannon in the opening round for the second straight event.

"We had a heck of a weekend," Capps commented following his semifinal-round loss to Tony Pedregon, adding the mechanical changes made by crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and assistant crew chief Todd Okuhara made a big difference in his car's performance.

"Conditions changed quite a bit from Sunday to Monday and they showed how determined they were," said Capps. "We ran 4.880 in the first round and Ace learned a lot of things about other changes he's made during the day. We broke an idler pulley gear in the semifinals. You can't do anything about parts breakage."

Capps, who eliminated Todd Paton (4.949 at 297.42 to 6.407 at 139.78) in the second round, was on a run estimated to be in the high 4.80-second range when the pulley broke. Pedregon won with a 4.848 at 318.77.

"I'm not sure we could've beaten that 4.84, but Ace and Todd thought we'd run a 4.85 or 4.86," Capps said.

Capps remained in seventh place with 881 points. Cannon has 919.

Johnson used a huge starting line reaction advantage - .466 to .544 - to get the win. His time was 4.954 seconds at 309.77 mph to Cannon's 4.883 at 307.23. "I felt a lot more comfortable and relaxed in the car at this race," said Johnson. "I was determined to get a good (starting) light."

His determination stemmed from his final-round loss two weeks ago in the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. He ran quicker than John Force but lost because Force left the line first. Proving that reaction was no fluke, Johnson had a .480 in the second round against Del Worsham. A mechanical problem slowed Johnson to a 4.969 at 295.21, Worsham winning with a 4.862 at 315.78.

"The engine's rear seal went out and it was leaking oil into the clutch and smoke filled the inside of the car," Johnson added. "I couldn't see very well, but I knew where I was on the track. I kept hoping he'd break, but he didn't."

Johnson is ninth in points with 809, 15 behind Dean Skuza.

The Skoal Racing team returns to competition Friday in the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis.

Qualified: Capps, No. 10, 4.894 seconds at 299.86 mph; Johnson, No. 13, 4.925 at 310.13.

First round: Capps, 4.880 at 310.27 def. Cruz Pedregon, 8.968 at 91.53; Johnson, 4.954 at 309.77 def. Scotty Cannon, 4.883 at 307.23; Quarterfinals: Capps, 4.949 at 297.42 def. Todd Paton, 6.407 at 139.78; Del Worsham, 4.862 at 315.78 def. Johnson, 4.969 at 295.21; Semifinals: Tony Pedregon, 4.840 at 317.87 def. Capps, 7.412 at 111.69.

Pro Winners: Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel; Tony Pedregon, Funny Car; Jim Yates, Pro Stock

-sk-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Doug Kalitta , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon , Todd Paton , Tommy Johnson Jr.