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Sun, 24 Feb 2013, 14:39 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By David Gerard





CHANDLER, Ariz. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 29th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals:

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   72 Tony Pedregon                          28 Ron Capps                    
E1                   0.079  4.097 299.06     ****WINNER****  0.093  4.061 313.51
 Qualified:            #12  4.169 268.65                        #5  4.081 308.35
11:31 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 56 degrees, relative humidity 21 percent, barometer 28.74 inches, adjusted altitude 1,455 feet, track temperature 81 degrees.

Top Fuel was a mixed bag of great passes and tire smoke. Hopefully we will see some great races hers. Pedregon is 27 - 24 against Capps in prior events.

Great side by side passes a pair. Pedregon gets a healthy lead at the green and pulls slowly further ahead going down the track.

Capps is right behind him at the 660 lights and pulls ahead right at the finish line for the close win. They both run better than the qualified!

Ron Capps' incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.014), 330 ft(-0.018), 660ft(-0.006). MOV: 0.0221 seconds (approximately 10 feet).

Tony Pedregon's incremental times: 60ft-0.896 sec., 330ft-2.314, 660ft-3.291/262.64 mph.
Ron Capps' incremental times: 60ft-0.896 sec., 330ft-2.318, 660ft-3.283/267.64 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    7 Robert Hight                            6 Johnny Gray                  
E1   ****WINNER****  0.111  5.703 150.77                     0.109 No Time      
 Qualified:            #16  4.321 219.58                        #1  4.034 313.80
This is Johnny Gray's' fourth #1 spot and his first since Norwalk last year. He was #1 at this race last year. For Robert Hight, this is only the second time that he has been the #16 qualifier, and the last time was in Norwalk last year when he beat Gray, when Johnny's parachute came out on the burnout. Hight is 8 - 4 against Gray in prior events.

Smoke fest! They leave within 0.002 of each other and Hight has a very small lead at the 60' lights, where their incrementals are just 0.004 apart. It all goes South at that point, as both cars are up in smoke, with Hight first, quickly followed by Gray.

The pedal slapping commensed and they were both on and off the throttles. Both cars started to drift to the right and Gray's Charger smacked the wall at about the 1000 foot mark. Hight was still behind and almost drove across the center line to boot. He gets the win, as Gray's times are DQ'ed.

Robert Hight's incremental times: 60ft-0.897 sec., 330ft-2.656, 660ft-4.239/159.51 mph.
Johnny Gray's incremental times: 60ft-0.901 sec., 330ft-2.547, 660ft-4.162/140.08 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  156 Phil Burkart                         2814 Matt Hagan                   
E1                   0.094  4.389 285.47     ****WINNER****  0.115  4.078 310.27
 Qualified:            #15  4.295 282.95                        #2  4.062 311.20
This is Matt Hagan's best starting spot since he qualified number one at the end of the 2011 season. Hagan is 1 - 0 against Burkart in prior events.

Burkhart has a good lead at the start and gives it a valiant try, but Hagan's Dodge is quickly out in front and pulling steadily ahead for the easy win.

Matt Hagan's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.046), 330 ft(0.160), 660ft(0.226). MOV: 0.2901 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Phil Burkart's incremental times: 60ft-0.954 sec., 330ft-2.495, 660ft-3.539/246.35 mph.
Matt Hagan's incremental times: 60ft-0.887 sec., 330ft-2.314, 660ft-3.292/264.49 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    5 Courtney Force                         22 Todd Lesenko                 
E1                   0.097 11.228  46.83     ****WINNER****  0.084  5.206 191.92
 Qualified:             #3  4.064 315.71                       #14  4.245 300.80
Todd Lesenko beat Matt Hagan in round one before losing to Courtney Force in round two at this event last year. Courtney has now qualified in the top half of the field at nine consecutive races. Force is 3 - 0 against Lesenko in prior events.

Lesenko gets off the line first and gets an easy, but expensive, win. The Charger runs strong to near the top end, where it starts to move around and then goes bang and slow, A win is a win! There is oil in his lane, but no penalties, as this is his first of the year.

Force's Mustang is wild with power and strikes the tires immediately. She pumps the pedal to no avail and the car darts back and forth before she gives it up.

Todd Lesenko's incremental times: 60ft-0.925 sec., 330ft-2.423, 660ft-3.909/155.33 mph.

11:52 a.m. The sweepers are rolling.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   10 Jeff Arend                              4 Cruz Pedregon                
E1                   0.122 12.595  66.51     ****WINNER****  0.097  4.094 289.76
 Qualified:            #13  4.173 302.48                        #4  4.067 308.00
11:56 a.m. Clean up is complete and the engines have started. Pedregon is 10 - 8 against Arend in prior events. You can hardly tell the USD crew from the NHRA crew on the starting lone. Lots of Yellow and Black shirts.

Arend is done at the green, as the tires are shaking and spinning immediately.

Pedregon makes another strong pass right on down the track to take the easy win. He will race Capps in round two, but without lane choice.

Cruz Pedregon's incremental times: 60ft-0.894 sec., 330ft-2.316, 660ft-3.293/264.80 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  771 Alexis DeJoria                          9 John Force                   
E1                   0.091  4.164 305.22     ****WINNER****  0.115  4.047 316.82
 Qualified:            #11  4.157 303.09                        #6  4.100 312.64
Force is 4 - 2 against DeJoria in prior events. John Force's eight wins here are second only to his eleven at Brainerd, but he has only gone past the first round once in his last six starts here.

Force makes it look easy, running the second quickest pass of the race.

DeJoria is away first and stay out in front until about 100 feet and then has to watch the Mustang drive on by and pull steadily away.

John Force's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.011), 330 ft(0.028), 660ft(0.061). MOV: 0.0934 seconds (approximately 42 feet).

Alexis DeJoria's incremental times: 60ft-0.922 sec., 330ft-2.374, 660ft-3.362/259.96 mph.
John Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.909 sec., 330ft-2.322, 660ft-3.277/270.70 mph.

Force will have lane choice over Lesenko in round two.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    1 Jack Beckman                           77 Bob Tasca III                
E1                   0.109  6.342 111.57     ****WINNER****  0.113  4.336 221.78
 Qualified:            #10  4.139 262.49                        #7  4.100 307.37
Beckman is 9 - 3 against Tasca III in prior events. With three wins here, Jack Beckman is second of the FC list, behind John Force who has eight wins. Jack is a very good 15 - 3 overall in Phoenix.

Beckman smokes the tires before sixty feet in the tough left lane and slows.

Tasca is right in Force's groove until near the top end, where the back of the car steps out and he has to lift.

He gives up lane choice to Hagan later.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  750 Del Worsham                             8 Tim Wilkerson                
E1                   0.154  5.295 165.07     ****WINNER****  0.107  4.252 245.94
 Qualified:             #9  4.126 302.96                        #8  4.110 305.01
Tim Wilkerson and Del Worsham have met 30 times and each has won 15 times. Almost half of their meetings (13) have come in the first round where Del holds a slight 7- 6 edge. Del is a two-time FC winner at this event.

Wilkerson gets a big lead off the line and gets a free pass to round two, as Worsham's tires are shaking right after the 60 foot lights. He pumps the throttle and then gives it up.

Wilkerson's engine isn't happy down track and the mustang slows a little. He will will still get lane choice over Hight in round two,

Tim Wilkerson's incremental times: 60ft-0.906 sec., 330ft-2.329, 660ft-3.349/248.61 mph.

12:10 p.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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