Johnson, Capps lose in opening round at Reading READING, Pa., Oct. 5, 2003 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. encountered the same problem in the same lane during Sunday's opening round of the rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals at Maple Grove ...
Johnson, Capps lose in opening round at Reading
READING, Pa., Oct. 5, 2003 - Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. encountered the same problem in the same lane during Sunday's opening round of the rain-delayed Lucas Oil Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. And the result turned out to be the same, too.
The two members of Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car team lost when they experienced tire shake, Capps against Dean Skuza and Johnson against Del Worsham. It's a malady that has troubled them recently.
"It shook on both our runs here, in qualifying and eliminations," said Capps of his Green Camaro's performance. "I was able to catch it (by pedaling the throttle) both times and ran respectable times considering I was off and on the throttle."
Capps qualified 14th with a 4.943-second, 314.53-mph run, then came back and ran 4.898 at 319.07 against Skuza, who won by 12-thousandths of a second with a 4.888 at 304.25.
"Running 4.80 at almost 320 mph pedaling the throttle shows you how strong our car will be when we get rid of the shake," added Capps. "It was a tricky weekend. We only had one qualifying run (rain wiped out the other one) at a time when we really need to be making more runs so Todd (Okuhara, new crew chief) can get the combination working."
Johnson said his Blue Camaro "didn't leave the line well, then it shook so I pedaled it. The car's front end picked up when I did it and the car was aimed at the centerline. I backed out of the throttle and yanked the steering wheel to the left and got it back in the groove and I got back in it. It took off and I thought I could catch him but it spun the tires again.
"We are frustrated with the shake," added Johnson. "We do get some good runs but we need to put several good ones together. We think the potential is there, and we want to start proving it."
Worsham, who also had traction problems, got to the finish line first with a 5.172 at 278.00 to Johnson's 5.195 at 283.07. Worsham's engine then exploded, taking off the car's carbon fiber body. He was unhurt.
Johnson improved his qualifying time to 4.834 at 314.09 on his Saturday run and started eighth.
Capps boosted his NHRA POWERade Series points total to 1030, good for sixth place and Johnson has 964 in seventh.
They return to competition in the O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Friday through Sunday at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas. It will mark the seventh straight week of racing for Capps, Johnson and the Skoal Racing crews.