sears Points: Capps gets to quarterfinals

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 6, 2000 - Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team overcame a faulty fuel pump that hindered their qualifying effort in the Fram Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway. ...

SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 6, 2000 - Ron Capps, crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch and the U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro Funny Car team overcame a faulty fuel pump that hindered their qualifying effort in the Fram Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway. They overcame a markedly slower right lane to record their best run of the weekend in Sunday's first round of eliminations and the loss of data from a broken computer, but they couldn't beat John Force from the right lane in the quarterfinals.

McCulloch, puzzled because he was unable to get the car to run consistently during qualifying, discovered the malfunctioning fuel pump before Capps' last qualifying run Saturday. With the new pump in place, Capps ran 5.211 seconds at 289.45 mph and McCulloch was able to get a baseline for Sunday's opening round against Del Worsham.

Capps turned in the quickest run in the right lane during race day - and third best of the round - with his 5.075 at 303.64 mph to stop Worsham's 5.116 at 303.50. The computer didn't work so McCulloch had to tune the car without it. Capps came back with the second-quickest time of the day from that lane, 5.156 at 296.31 mph, only to trail Force's 5.038 at 303.98 mph at the finish line.

"We were lucky Ace found the trouble with the fuel pump when he did," said Capps. "We were able to use it for the last qualifying session and we had a pretty good run in the first round. It's too bad he couldn't have found it sooner, then we would've qualified better than 10th and maybe we wouldn't have had to race Force until the semifinals or finals.

"The right lane definitely wasn't our lane of choice. The car ran OK in that round but it wasn't what we expected. Because we were in the right lane, Ace had to be careful and he couldn't get as aggressive in the tune-up as he wanted because we didn't want to smoke the tires.

"The fact we got no computer data hurt us too," Capps continued. "It was a very close race against Force. His car was right next to our U.S. Tobacco Co. Camaro at about half-track, then he pulled ahead."

Capps remains fourth in NHRA Winston Series standings with 889, 54 behind Tony Pedregon, who was runner-up to Force Sunday.

The next event, the Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals, is Aug. 18-20 at Brainerd, Minn.

Qualified: No. 10, 5.155 seconds at 298.40 mph.

First round: Capps, 5.075 at 303.64 def. Del Worsham; Quarterfinal: John Force def. Capps.

Pro Winners:

Top Fuel - Doug Kalitta Funny Car - John Force Pro Stock - Kurt Johnson

Next Event: Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals, Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 18-20

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Doug Kalitta