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NHRA: Capps' Camaro Does Big Wheelie in Memphis

11 October 1998


RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, performed a spectacular wheelstand tonight in the second qualifying round. The Camaro stood straight up on its rear wheels at a 35-degree angle and skated on its rear bodywork for approximately 100 feet, the tires barely skimming the surface. When the car settled, Ron clilmbed out, opened his visor and stood atop the Camaro with arms spread out in a bow to the crowd. He is quite sore, but otherwise unhurt. The chassis, however, is damaged and will be replaced. Ron is No. 5 qualifier, 4.981/301.47, set in today's first session.

CAPPS: "I was so afraid I was going to come down on top of the guardrail. After it came down I knew it broke the front end, and I was going to coast it in. I remember Raymond Beadle when he wrecked, and he got out of the car and raised his arms to the crowd (in Gainesville, Fla., in 1982), I figured I owed the crowd a little bit. I opened my visor and held my arms up. That was the loudest I had ever heard the crowd." WHAT HAPPENED? "It's never felt like it's ever been in jeopardy of going that high. We had it set up to run a high 4.80 and it left the starting line and it was up a little higher than usual at the hit of the throttle. And then all of a sudden it just went straight up quicker than I ever thought it could. I instantly got out of the throttle. I could hear the wind underneath blowing and holding the car up. I couldn't see anything out of the windows except black. It really felt like it would go backwards. The wind was kind of holding it up, it was real quiet. I reached up with my ring finger (on right hand) and I just pulled on the brake a little bit. It stayed up for a while then came back down. I gritted my teeth and made sure I didn't bite my tongue. As it came back down I had the fear that the Camaro had moved, I felt it teeter-tottering when it was straight up. I thought it might land on the guardrail. That would have been ugly. But it came down in the middle of the lane and I brought it to a stop. Then I got out and took a bow. The last thing I wanted to do was to ruin all the hard work the guys had done on the Camaro body. We made some changes in the GM wind tunnel last week, and the guys spent countless hours making the car better. As it is, we are going to have to change chassis." WHY NO WHEELIE BARS? "The Camaro has always been so well balanced that we have never had the bars on. We've had them off for most of the season. It never felt like it was in jeopardy. It was a freak deal. Even on the very good runs the front end never felt it was out of control." ON THE POINTS CHASE AND STRATEGY: "We're not backing down, we're going 110%. Sometimes when these things happen it's just a matter of pushing the envelope too much. You have to back off a little bit. These guys are awesome, they will work all night to get the ther chassis ready, it's always been ready to go if we needed it. They're prepared, they're the best guys in the business. I will put them against anybody. We have the Camaro body that we got back from the wind tunnel in one piece and that's the best thing of all." DID ANYTHING UNUSUAL GO WRONG? "Roland (Leong, crew chief) says everything looked right, the engine revved up pretty high instantly, I could feel it backing out of the burnout. It sounded awesome."

WHIT BAZEMORE, TEAM WINSTON CAMARO Z28, is No. 3 qualifier, 4.955/310.27, set in tonight's session.

BAZEMORE: "It was not a perfect run. But it was good and it is kind of representative of what we expected to do in the first round at Topeka. It's cold, and it's a little damp here. We're excited because we made two good runs now. The Camaro Z28 performed, it's running well, the guys are doing a great job and we've got a good team. Everyone is really motivated and they're want to prove to the drag racing world that we belong. It's a big thing for them, and for me too, for everybody. I'm a couple of weeks away from traveling through Europe all next year, riding a Ducati, checking out the scenerey, drinking a lot of vino. That's not what we want to do. We drag race. We have a lot of good things in the works, it's a matter of all the pieces falling together soon to keep this team the way it is now, in one piece. We're going into the GM wind tunnel with Chevrolet as soon as the season is over, and we're doing everything as if we are racing very aggressively next year. That's our goal and we are prepared to do that. And when all the pieces fall in place, we will be prepared to have a better team than we have now. It's a lot easier to stop doing things than to start doing them when you are behind the 8-ball. We are going to be aggressive over the wineer in improving our team."

CHUCK ETCHELLS, KENDALL/MA MA ROSA'S PIZZA/SUPERWINCH CAMARO Z28, is No. 4 qualifier, 4.980/286.68. KENDALL RE-SIGNS FOR '99 Kendall Motor Oil and Chuck Etchells Racing today announced that they had reached an agreement in which Kendall would remain as primary sponsor of Etchells' Chevy Camaro Z28 Nitro Funny Car for the 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season. This extends one of the longest and most recognized relationships on the drag racing circuit, marking the seventh season that Kendall has been the primary backer of the Etchells Racing "fuel coupe." "I have had a wonderful relationship with Kendall for 14 years," said Etchells, "and they have been my primary sponsor since 1993. It is truly gratifying that they see value in our program and the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series, and are going forward with us."


KURT JOHNSON, AC DELCO CAMARO Z28, is No. 7 qualifier, 6.943/198.67.

LARRY MORGAN, RAYBESTOS CAMARO Z28, is No. 16 qualifier, 6.998/197.62.