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Sat, 5 Nov 2005, 08:23 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Larry Sullivan

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from final, round 4 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 41st annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time/top speed this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Left Lane: David Benjamin Runs 23.956/25.81, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.322/280.89, Was #22
Right Lane: Phil Burkart Runs 8.862/95.62, Now #24; Best prior run: 6.538/134.43, Was #24

4:28 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 73 degrees, relative humidity 29 percent, barometer 29.32 inches, adjusted altitude 1,799 feet, track temperature 88 degrees.

Bob Bode is on the bump spot at 4.845. Conditions are pretty good and the Top Fuel cars made some very good runs, so anything is possible here.

The first pair goes oh-for-two, Benjamin up in smoke immediately, Burkart not long after. That 4.79 he lost in the first session when he clipped the timing reflectors would have easily put him in the field.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.828/311.99, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.874/315.12, Was #18
Right Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 5.005/291.57, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.381/220.62, Was #23

Two good-looking runs , but Creasy's car ran out of steam on the top end. Wilkerson made it in, bumping Bode. That puts Terry Haddock on the bump spot at 4.840 and we are one car away from the quickest field ever.

Left Lane: Jack Wyatt Runs 4.869/304.80, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.847/309.77, Was #18
Right Lane: Grant Downing Runs 4.996/311.13, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.078/246.66, Was #22

It will take a career-best effort by either of these drivers for them to make this quick field. Downing pedaled it about 400 feet out, then ran a career-best speed, but both drivers came up short.

Left Lane: Bob Bode No Time, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.845/259.21, Was #17
Right Lane: Dale Pulde No Time, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.009/302.08, Was #22

Both drivers took a toll on the timing reflectors, Pulde taking out the half-track foam blocks and Bode the finish line.

Left Lane: Terry Haddock Runs 15.629/66.75, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.840/310.48, Was #16
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 4.803/320.13, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.918/286.25, Was #19

Fortunately, the track stocked up on foam blocks and silicon glue this morning...

At the hit,Haddock's car jumped straight up in the air and started to smoke the tires, so all he could do was watch while Gilbertson bumped him from the field, making this the quickest field ever. Tim Wilkerson is on the bump spot at 4.828 and the remaining cars are already in the field.

Left Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 4.843/321.88, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.815/312.21, Was #13
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 5.738/172.76, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.822/323.89, Was #15

Head's car headed straight for the half-track timing reflectors. He shut off and missed them. Bartone made a good run, but failed to improve.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 4.716/323.04, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.761/325.53, Was #8
Right Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 11.340/75.50, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.816/278.23, Was #14

As the field stands right now, Force has his destiny in his own hands, with a first-round match with Ron Capps and a second-round match with Gary Scelzi for the winner of that one. However, there is no guarantee Capps won't move up or that Scelzi will stay #1, so they rolled the dice and Force moved up a few spots on the ladder with a nice run. Pedregon smoked the tires early in the run. That still puts him on the same side of the ladder, but he would have to win the race.

Left Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.730/331.36, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.750/302.35, Was #8
Right Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 7.298/111.45, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.800/323.27, Was #11

Looks like nobody wants that #8 spot - Worsham made a very nice run, with a huge speed, just 0.017 mph slower than the track record. bazemore was up in smoke before half track.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 6.995/123.44, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.735/317.87, Was #7
Right Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.751/329.26, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.795/321.81, Was #10

Densham made his first bad run of the weekend. TJ moved up a spot on the ladder on a nice run.

Left Lane: Eric Medlen Runs 4.748/325.53, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.715/328.06, Was #4
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.774/323.04, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.768/326.63, Was #10

Capps was looking at a first-round match with Gary Densham if he didn't improve, and he didn't. Both drivers made good runs, neither improved.

Left Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.714/324.20, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.710/329.99, Was #2
Right Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.716/330.80, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.745/323.66, Was #8

Nice runs, a pair, and Hight moved up, changing the pairings in the middle of the field once more. Unless Cruz Pedregon shakes up the #1 position, it will be Force against Bazemore, Capps versus Worsham, and Scelzi against Wilkerson in the first round.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.703/330.23, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.696/329.18, Was #1
Right Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.708/328.86, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.714/328.94, Was #3

This was a nice side-by-side show, but Scelzi held on to #1 and the championship-chase first-round pairings remain the same. Cruz moved around Tony to the #2 spot. Force and Capps are now on the bottom side of the ladder and would meet in the semifinals, while Scelzi would go to the finals before facing either of them. However, Medlen and Hight are both on Scelzi's side of the ladder and the two Force teammates could meet in the second round to determine which one gets to block for the boss. It should be an interesting day tomorrow!

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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