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Thu, 1 Nov 2007, 06:12 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Darryl Jackman

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 43nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Right Lane: Grant Downing Runs 4.920/311.56, Now #1

2:22 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 67 degrees, relative humidity 40 percent, barometer 28.95 inches, adjusted altitude 1,887 feet, track temperature 102 degrees.

Downing is first out and leads off the Nitro Funny Cars. Downing has a nice looking run that maybe should have ended at 1000ft. By that point the Firebird's tongue was hanging out and it was followed by a wall of smoke. Just might have nipped a few pistons on that pass.

Left Lane: James Day No Time, Now #2
Right Lane: Mike Neff No Time, Now #4

Now it just doesn't get uglier than this. Day, Don Schumacher's son inlaw, keeps the car running long enough to do a burnout and stage. As soon as he touched the throttle the engine went bang and quit. That was further than Neff got as he was shutoff on the starting line before getting the car staged. Bottom line that neither driver will qualify in this session.

Left Lane: Terry Haddock Runs 8.515/102.52, Now #3
Right Lane: Bob Bode Runs 5.084/265.12, Now #2

Haddock uses all of the left lane and still has to lift early. Bode stayed with his pass but got ever closer to the wall as he got to the finish.

Left Lane: Phil Burkart Runs 4.850/319.98, Now #1
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 4.959/302.08, Now #3

Burkart puts a nice pass on the books in Force's racer and takes over the early qualifying lead. Gilbertson disappeared into the haze on the top end but his numbers came up big. For the moment he's #3.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 4.869/320.36, Now #2
Right Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 9.605/88.63, Now #7

Kalitta kicked the tires loose but it's Toliver that looks like a Rockstar on this run. He just misses the numbers put up by Burkart.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 8.199/113.87, Now #7
Right Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 6.855/127.44, Now #6

Densham strikes the tires early and falls silent before 200ft. Bartone got further down range but his Goodyear's loose traction as well.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.872/300.66, Now #4
Right Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.804/322.19, Now #1

Bernstein is looking to take out his DNQ frustrations from Las Vegas on the field here at Pomona. He takes over the top spot and Wilkerson is now #4.

Left Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 4.781/324.90, Now #1
Right Lane: Ashley Force Runs 9.737/86.35, Now #13

If this is to be Arend's swan song in the CSK Blue car he's certainly trying to make the most of it. He goes to #1 and also sets Top Speed of the event for the moment. Force sawed at the pedal a couple of times but had to give it up as traction never appeared for her Mustang.

Left Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 6.301/143.54, Now #9
Right Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 8.330/98.70, Now #12

Both racers had traction problems in this pairing and both fell silent before half track.

Left Lane: Del Worsham No Time, Now #20
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 7.973/100.40, Now #11

Worsham had problems on the starting line with the red car and his team was finally forced to shut him off. Head got to about 330ft before he struck the tires. Silence reigns supreme on this run.

Left Lane: Mike Ashley Runs 8.905/94.86, Now #16
Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.786/320.89, Now #2

Beckman just misses knocking Arend off the top bar and goes into #2. Ashley rattled the tires and fell silent about 100ft from the starting line.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.845/322.42, Now #4
Right Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.867/287.66, Now #6

Hight makes a sacrifice to the aluminum gods but still gets into the top half of the field. Capps run was a lot cleaner and he goes to the #4 spot.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.813/319.98, Now #4
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.864/311.56, Now #7

That just about marks paid to the championship for T. Pedregon. He only needs to qualify for the race to seal the deal. What are the chances that was his best of the weekend and nine other racers will go quicker? Yeh. Me too. Scelzi isn't rolling over and playing dead as his run puts him #4. That's the end of an up and down session for the Funny Cars. Top Fuel is next.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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