Richmond Capps Runner-up in eliminations

DINWIDDIE, Va., April 30, 2000 - "Consistency leads to championships" are the words spoken in the Don "The Snake" Prudhomme racing camp, and consistent is what Ron Capps and his U.S. Tobacco Co. Funny Car team have been early in this NHRA...

DINWIDDIE, Va., April 30, 2000 - "Consistency leads to championships" are the words spoken in the Don "The Snake" Prudhomme racing camp, and consistent is what Ron Capps and his U.S. Tobacco Co. Funny Car team have been early in this NHRA Winston Series season.

Capps left Virginia Motorsports Park Sunday following his third runner-up finish in six 2000 races. He is seven points behind second place John Force (443-436), who beat Capps in the title round of the Moto1.net Nationals and Virginia Motorsports Park. Jerry Toliver, who lost to Capps in the semifinals, leads with 512 points.

"We had a good weekend, but it could've been a great weekend," said Capps. "It's aggravating that we couldn't beat Force, but we did get to the finals again."

The final round was a war of tire-smoking Funny Cars. Capps was in an out of the throttle several times as he tried to beat Force. In the end, however, Force's car had more momentum and he won with a 5.913-second, 236.01-mph run to Capps' 6.165 at 233.76. Force also beat Capps in the finals at Phoenix in February.

"I didn't see him when I left the line, but then my tires started shaking tremendously hard," Capps recalled. "I pedaled the throttle and the tires hooked up. I could see Force's car smoke the tires. I pulled up on him, but then he started to pull away. I didn't want to cross the centerline like I did at Houston (losing in the semifinals to eventual race winner Bob Gilbertson)."

Both cars crossed the finish line with tires smoking.

It was much the same way for Capps in his semifinal match against Toliver, who defeated Capps in the Gainesville, Fla., finale in March. This time, however, Capps had a huge starting line advantage -- .466 to .712 - and won easily with a 6.351 at 216.51 to 6.433 at 211.23. Capps eliminated Gary Densham in the opening round and Jim Epler, Toliver's teammate, in the quarterfinals.

Qualified: No. 6, 4.934 seconds at 299.93 mph. First Round: Capps, 4.998 at 293.41 def. Gary Densham, 9.232 at 88.10; Quarterfinals: Capps, 4.937 at 297.81 def. Jim Epler, 5.001 at 306.05; Semifinals: Capps, 6.351 at 218.51 def. Jerry Toliver, 6.433 at 211.23; Final: John Force, 5.913 at 236.01 def. Capps, 6.165 at 233.76.

Pro Winners: Larry Dixon, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Jeg Coughlin Jr., Pro Stock.

Next Event: Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals, Friday through Sunday, Commerce, Ga. TV: The Nashville Network, 4:30-6 p.m. EDT

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Bob Gilbertson , Jim Epler , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Densham , Jerry Toliver