ELIMINATIONS FUNNY CAR: EPLER, GILBERTSON ADVANCE; CAPPS, BAZEMORE OUT IN FIRST ROUND JIM EPLER, WWF RACING CAMARO Z28, advanced to the second round after defeating John Lawson (4.973/301.27 to 5.118/296.76); and BOB GILBERTSON, THINK TANK...
FUNNY CAR: EPLER, GILBERTSON ADVANCE; CAPPS, BAZEMORE OUT IN FIRST ROUND
JIM EPLER, WWF RACING CAMARO Z28, advanced to the second round after defeating John Lawson (4.973/301.27 to 5.118/296.76); and BOB GILBERTSON, THINK TANK CAMARO Z28, eliminated Frank Pedregon on a holeshot advantage (5.110/298.27, .521 R/T for Gilbertson; 5.100/253.56, .551 R/T for Pedregon).
RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, was defeated in the first round -- in only the second time all year he has not advanced past the first round -- by Al Hofmann. Hofmann won on a holeshot advantage with a .483 reaction time to Capps' .509. Hofmann: 4.998/297.02, Capps: 4.995/301.54.
CAPPS: "We were first pair. We had already seen eight pairs of dragsters go down. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) decided to back down the car a little in the middle, and the sun came out. You just don't know. In hindsight we probably made the wrong move. We decided to go down the track and not beat ourselves. Jim Dunn (Hofmann's team owner) is known for making good runs like that; we just happened to get beat. It wasn't a bad run for that run. Right now we are not getting those little breaks that you need to get and hopefully it will change pretty soon. We've had it happen a few times this year where we just needed a lucky break. We will be OK. This is still Ace's first year in Funny Car. He's well behind the other crew chiefs. He's getting used to how the Funny Car works."
DON PRUDHOMME (team owner): "He's not that far behind; it's a very strong car. If the car keeps running like it's run we will have it in the winner's circle. It's a competitive, good car; it's just that, as we racers have been saying for a long time, you have to get things going your way. Here's the guy leading the points, Toliver. He's sitting there with the worst reaction time the whole day by a mile (.736). But he wins the round; he's there on a roll. In drag racing you have really got to have things going your way. It's so close; the cars are just so closely matched, you have to get a break now and then. It will come, it will certainly come. We're better off this year at this point than we were last year. We still have a big year ahead of us."
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, lost to Bruce Sarver in the first round; 4.930/306.46 for Sarver, 5.131/275.84 for Bazemore.
BAZEMORE: "The car left real well. It was running well, we were ahead of him, we had a good reaction time and a good e.t. at 330 feet. Then it had a slow drift to the right. I had the wheel cranked all the way to the left. It didn't come back and then it got a half a car width out of the groove. Right at half track it smoked the tires. When the driver has the wheel cranked and it smokes the tires the car will turn instantly, and the car turned instantly left. I was able to get my foot in it and swerve it around, but that's when he passed us. I think there's a lot of potential here with Terry Manzer. It was literally an impossible weekend for him and the team to come in and in three or four days change the Camaro over to what he knows. And the guys did a great job. I think it's going to work out really well for the team." ON CHANGES TO THE THROTTLE: "We're going to change the throttle position in the car so it's easier for me to feather it a little bit because with my leg injury from a couple of years ago (in a motorcycle accident) I don't have the ankle flexibility that other people have. I want the throttle to be further down. We're going to move the throttle. In a situation similar to what happened today I will be able to feather it a little bit and put weight on the front end and have it correct, maybe before it gets out of the groove. We knew where it was going. I was doing everything I could do to keep it going straight, but the only thing that I could have done differently would have been to pedal it really quickly and that's not something you want to do in that situation on race day. We wouldn't have run a .93 then. The performance is there. We didn't really get a good number this weekend on the board, but all of our early numbers are good, really good. Once we get a couple of little bugs ironed out I think that this Camaro is going to make a lot of power from Terry's tune-up. I'm very hopeful that we will be extremely competitive for the rest of the year."
SECOND ROUND: EPLER AND GILBERTSON ELIMINATED
JIM EPLER was ousted by Al Hofmann in the second round: 4.946/298.47, .489 R/T for Hofmann, 4.971/301.20, .501 R/T for Epler. BOB GILBERTSON lost to Dean Skuza: 4.964/299.86, .487 R/T for Skuza, 8.540/98.55, .502 R/T for Gilbertson.