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Sat, 27 Sep 2003, 04:09 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Jonathan Adams

JOLIET, Ill. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Third annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Right Lane: John Lawson Runs 4.901/316.08, Now #1

With the crowd still buzzing from Kalitta's run in Top Fuel, we go to Funny Car. Lawson is the home town favorite from right here in Joliet. Nice run for that team, as he runs his career best speed.

Left Lane: Cory Lee Runs 4.893/285.17, Now #1
Right Lane: Terry Haddock Runs 11.033/79.64, Now #3

Yet another career best e.t., this time for Lee. Haddock was out of it early. Not sure why.

Left Lane: Phil Burkart Runs 4.802/318.02, Now #1
Right Lane: Bob Bode Runs 6.066/177.98, Now #4

And another career best...

Burkart with the best e.t. of his drag racing life. Bode struck the tires just before half track. Remember, these guys only get one more chance to get in the show.

Left Lane: Jack Wyatt Runs 5.582/255.00, Now #4
Right Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 12.837/54.07, Now #7

Wyatt smoked the tires at 330, pedaled it and got down the track. Creasy blew the burst panel at 330.

Left Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 4.880/317.05, Now #3
Right Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 4.817/321.19, Now #2

Pair of very nice runs. Most of the excitement here came in the shutdown area, as Gilbertson's chutes deployed very late. Rather than drive it into the sand, Gilbertson cranked the wheel and slid it sideways, parallel to the sand trap. Very nice piece of driving to avoid damage to his car.

Left Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 6.290/148.90, Now #9
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 5.501/199.29, Now #6

These two had problems almost simultaneously: Just before half track, Pedregon blew the burst panel and Wilkerson started hazing the tires.

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.852/316.08, Now #3
Right Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 5.036/231.71, Now #7

Skuza was ahead at the 1000 foot mark, but then something went wrong and he coasted across the finish line. Pedregon makes a good, straight pass to put himself solidly in the field.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 7.173/180.81, Now #13
Right Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.796/320.66, Now #1

Scelzi set the speed record at this track in June, at 328.06 mph. On this run, he smokes the tires at the hit. Johnson with low e.t. of the round, so far, just eight thousandths off his personal best.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.927/289.69, Now #9
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.776/323.50, Now #1

Worsham ties his career best e.t. with a near-perfect run, and turns in his best mph ever. Capps is about a tenth off the pace.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 4.728/299.13, Now #1
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.746/326.00, Now #2

Densham makes the second quickest pass in Funny Car history, but it might have been quicker--the car made a move toward the centerline and he had to lift early. Force runs his best speed ever, and the eleventh quickest Funny Car e.t. ever.

Left Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.787/320.66, Now #4
Right Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 4.820/324.20, Now #8

Here comes Whit Bazemore in the Animal House Funny Car...toga party anyone?

Good runs for both teams, as they both get into the top half of the field with one session to go.

3:05 p.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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