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Sun, 16 Jun 2013, 13:35 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan





BRISTOL, Tenn. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 13th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers:

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    4 Cruz Pedregon                           8 Tim Wilkerson                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.072  4.183 298.27                     0.075  5.007 160.59
 Qualified:            #13  4.177 293.47                        #4  4.061 315.56
Weather conditions: air temperature 82 degrees, relative humidity 52 percent, barometer 28.53 inches, adjusted altitude 3,898 feet, track temperature 110 degrees.

Pedregon holds a 14-10 record against Wilkerson, but Wilkerson holds a 6-4 record when they met in the first round. This is only the second time this year that Cruz Pedregon has been in the bottom half of the field and the other time was in Charlotte when he was also 13th. Cruz actually made a better run yesterday during qualifying, but he took out the finish line timing block and that run was thrown out.

It was dead-even to 330 feet, then Wilkerson lost traction and Pedregon pulled away for the win.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    7 Robert Hight                          750 Del Worsham                  
E1                   0.084  4.746 191.84     ****WINNER****  0.119  4.449 227.57
 Qualified:            #16  6.849  90.78                        #1  4.008 314.83
This is the 21st time Worsham and Hight have faced each other, Hight holding a 12-8 advantage overall and 6-2 in round 1. However, many of those wins came when Worsham was in the family flopper. His curent ride is the quickest so far this weekend, while Hight never did make a full pass during qualifying. On the other hand, this is only the fourth time Hight has qualified 16th and the third time this year he has been at the bottom of the field. However, he is 3-0 from the 16th qualifying position in prior races. This is the 6th time in his Funny Car career that Del Worsham has qualified #1 and that is in 422 races in the class. He qualified #1 in Top Fuel seven times in his championship year of 2011 in twenty two races. By the way, the top qualifier has never won in Funny Car in Bristol.

Worsham did a better job of pedaling on the top end and that made the difference. Hight had the lead until both lost traction as they neared the 660-foot marker. Then both pedaled more than once to get the rest of the way.

Del Worsham's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.061), 330 ft(-0.057), 660ft(0.117). MOV: 0.2624 seconds (approximately 74 feet).


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   72 Tony Pedregon                        2814 Matt Hagan                   
E1                   0.082  4.238 294.37     ****WINNER****  0.067  4.161 310.13
 Qualified:            #14  4.414 215.34                        #3  4.049 317.05
Hagan is 10-6 against Pedregon, 9-2 in the first round.

Both drivers made full passes, but Hagan led all the way and pulled away when Pedregon's car fell off the pace on the top end, running low ET of the round so far.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    1 Jack Beckman                          256 Blake Alexander              
E1                   0.110  4.513 202.33     ****WINNER****  0.046  4.242 283.67
 Qualified:             #2  4.012 317.05                       #15  6.150 108.28
This is the first time Beckman and Alexander have faced each other on race day. Lane choice so far appears to be a tossup - Hagan taking the right lane, Beckman the left.

This has to be considered an upset. Beckman was late, then dropped a cylinder, then smoked the tires. Alexander didn't have any obvious problems on the run, but his car did wag its tail a bit in the early going.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
 3111 Chad Head                              28 Ron Capps                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.137  4.880 225.48                     0.079 10.767  84.08
 Qualified:            #12  4.136 301.54                        #5  4.066 310.84
This the first time Capps and Head have met in competition.

This was strange. Capps launched and the butterflies went closed as the engine went silent. Head appeared to have an easy win, then his car got very close to the wall and he had to yank it back to avoid wall contact and a disqualification. That scrubbed off a lot of ET and speed.

Head will face Cruz Pedregon in round 2 and Pedregon will choose the lanes.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    5 Courtney Force                          9 John Force                   
E1                   0.088  4.132 311.13     ****WINNER****  0.092  4.125 309.49
 Qualified:            #11  4.129 306.95                        #6  4.071 301.54
This is the fifth time John has faced daughter Courtney and the fourth time this year. John has a 1-3 (W-L) record against Courtney and the fourth time he's raced Courtney in round one, with a 1-2 record. It is the ninth time John has faced one of his daughters in round one. He is 3-2 in five round one races against Ashley, making him 4-4 overall. One of John's matches against Ashley was also on Father's Day and on that occasion she said she planned to give her dad a present, "the rest of the day off."

They were thousandths apart at the green and they ran the two best ETs of the day so far, but John's quicker ET made up for Courtney's better reaction time and a little bit more. They were close, but John led all the way.

John Force's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.012), 330 ft(0.005), 660ft(0.003). MOV: 0.0031 seconds (approximately 17 inches).

He will face Hagan in round 2, Force with lane choice and Hagan with the third-quickest run so far.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    6 Johnny Gray                            77 Bob Tasca III                
E1                   0.076  4.583 189.95     ****WINNER****  0.093  4.151 307.30
 Qualified:            #10  4.127 298.73                        #7  4.082 310.70
Gray holds a 6-1 record against Tasca, but that narrows to 2-1 in prior first-round matchups.

Gray left first and lead all the way to about 500 feet, then he started hazing the tires and Tasca took the lead and stayed there. The win is important for Tasca because he is 11th in points, but only 9 points behind John Force. Since Force won, Tasca also had to win to stay that close.

Tasca will have lane choice against Alexander in round two.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   10 Jeff Arend                            771 Alexis DeJoria               
E1                   0.104  4.505 211.83     ****WINNER****  0.085  4.298 292.84
 Qualified:             #9  4.109 302.69                        #8  4.096 312.42
Dejoria and Arend are 1-1 against each other in prior races. Arend won the only other time they met in round one, at last year's U.S. Nationals. This is Jeff Arend's third time as the #9 qualifier this year and that is his best starting spot of the season. It is also DeJoria's third #8 qualifier of the year and that is also her best starting spot of the season.

There was a delay while Tasca's car was towed off the track - something locked up and the car would not move. Meanwhile, the track is now up to 114 degrees and it will undoubtedly be a lot higher than that by the time round two begins.

DeJoria was first at the green, but Arend made that up in the first 60 feet and led almost to the 660-foot marker. Then he started hazing the tires and DeJoria as able to get around him for the win. Her car had a dead cylinder on the right side throughout the run.

Alexis DeJoria's margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.010), 330 ft(-0.071), 660ft(0.002). MOV: 0.2261 seconds (approximately 70 feet).

She will have lane choice against Worsham in round two.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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