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Thu, 08 Nov 2012, 18:12 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By David Gerard





POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Left Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 9.073/79.23, Now #2
Right Lane: Josh Crawford Runs 5.013/154.79, Now #1

2:14 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 71 degrees, relative humidity 53 percent, barometer 28.80 inches, adjusted altitude 2,670 feet, track temperature 87 degrees.

It's dark and overcast, but the "wet stuff" has stayed away for a while. Good Bike and Pro Stock sessions.

They leave close together, but Johnson is done right after the 330 lights.

Crawford gets to near the 660 lights before the engine starts to labor hard and he lifts.

Tommy Johnson Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.956 sec., 330ft-3.249, 660ft-6.123/078.14 mph.
Josh Crawford's incremental times: 60ft-0.912 sec., 330ft-2.387, 660ft-3.601/180.65 mph.


Left Lane: Grant Downing Runs 8.158/79.71, Now #2
Right Lane: Paul Lee Runs 10.369/41.92, Now #4

Lee is in Densham's Funny Car again this weekend and is flying the McLeod Racing colors.

Lee gets a big starting line advantage, runs to after the 60 foot lights, and slows. The chutes come out right after that.

Downing had better numbers until after 330 feet, but smokes the tires and slowed.

Left Lane: Terry Haddock Runs 7.139/93.40, Now #2
Right Lane: Bob Bode Runs 7.451/80.82, Now #3

Almost a repeat of the prior pair with Bode getting away first.

We can clearly see the header flames and both cars got a little further before lifting.

Left Lane: Todd Lesenko Runs 5.376/133.83, Now #2
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 8.087/71.80, Now #5

I think I see a pattern here. Good leaves with strong sixty foot numbers and then then shake and lost traction.

Lesenko gets the furthest, so far, but has a lot of smoke from under the body down track.

2:25 p.m. Time out for sprinkles.

Left Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 9.086/73.59, Now #9
Right Lane: Alexis DeJoria Runs 7.976/76.95, Now #5

2:31 p.m. The call goes out to start the engines.

...and again! Pedregon is immediately up in smoke, quickly followed by DeJoria.

Left Lane: Bob Tasca III Runs 8.996/72.79, Now #9
Right Lane: Matt Hagan Runs 8.279/79.89, Now #8

How many ways can you say shake and smoke?

Both cars are done right off the line.

Left Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 4.127/309.27, Now #1
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 7.230/83.75, Now #5

Paul Lee is on the bump spot at 10.369.

The DHL crew learns quickly from the earlier cars' problems and makes the first full pass of the session. It a great looking straight pass to set the mark for the remaining qualifiers. Nice!

Wilkerson is done early.

Jeff Arend's incremental times: 60ft-0.897 sec., 330ft-2.333, 660ft-3.330/259.31 mph.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 8.218/73.17, Now #11
Right Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.096/311.56, Now #1

Tommy Johnson Jr. is on the bump spot at 9.073.

Prock's tune up is stout, but still keeps the tires stuck to the track. Hight drives the Mustang straight and true to the new low ET and fastest speed.

Force's Mustang joins the leave and lift group.

Robert Hight's incremental times: 60ft-0.907 sec., 330ft-2.327, 660ft-3.309/263.56 mph.

Left Lane: Courtney Force Runs 4.032/315.93, Now #1
Right Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.576/184.47, Now #4

Matt Hagan is on the bump spot at 8.279.

Force looks to have a lock on "Rookie of the Year" for 2012. She throws down the gauntlet to the rest of the field with a terrific pass into the new top spot with all of the best incrementals of the session.

Pedregon was on a strong pass too, until the car started to slow a little after the 660 lights. He is still in the current top four!

Courtney Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.888 sec., 330ft-2.307, 660ft-3.260/270.70 mph.
Cruz Pedregon's incremental times: 60ft-0.912 sec., 330ft-2.326, 660ft-3.389/213.77 mph.

Left Lane: Johnny Gray Runs 4.065/312.57, Now #3
Right Lane: Mike Neff Runs 4.062/313.66, Now #2

Grant Downing is on the bump spot at 8.158.

Great side by side passes. Gray id off the line first and has the power for the new #3 spot, but Neff puts a Mustang into the number two spot by just 0.003 seconds.

Johnny Gray's incremental times: 60ft-0.902 sec., 330ft-2.316, 660ft-3.283/266.74 mph.
Mike Neff's incremental times: 60ft-0.896 sec., 330ft-2.317, 660ft-3.284/268.33 mph.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 7.675/71.87, Now #13
Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.117/273.00, Now #5

Last pair of the session.No disrespect to Neff, but one of these two is likely to be our 2012 Champion and the "Little Points" may decide it by the end of qualifying. Alexis DeJoria is on the bump spot at 7.976.

Capps gets a big starting line advantage and then goes into shake and smoke like so many others. He won't gain any points on Beckman this round.

Beckman is running incrementals close to Force right on down the track until right before the 1000 foot light, where the Charger body flies into a bunch of small parts with a huge bang. Beckman is out of the car at the end of the track and OK. There is a lot of dusting and cleaning down track. In Beckman's interview, he said the body just instantly disappeared before the lights.

Ron Capps' incremental times: 60ft-0.886 sec., 330ft-2.641, 660ft-4.896/095.96 mph.
Jack Beckman's incremental times: 60ft-0.889 sec., 330ft-2.302, 660ft-3.282/263.15 mph.

2:54 p.m. Courtney Force is number one at 4.2 and Bob Bode is on the bump spot at 7.451.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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