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Fri, 21 Sep 2001, 04:07 PM

MEMPHIS - Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Dave Rowe

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Funny Car at the 14th annual AutoZone NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:

Right Lane: Vinny Arcadi Runs 5.272/284.69, Now #1

4:08 PM Arcadi makes a move to the right, back to the left and almost crosses the centerline, but hangs on for a good run.

Left Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 11.616/85.49, Now #3
Right Lane: John Lawson Runs 5.108/292.52, Now #1

Creasy hits the throttle and goes up in smoke. Lawson gets a little out of the groove but hangs on for a decent run.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 6.146/183.92, Now #3
Right Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 10.541/73.84, Now #4

Dueling tire smoke, first Toliver and then Wilkerson. Toliver gives up on his run, coasting through the lights. Wilkerson pedaled a couple of times and finally got the tires to stick a little past halftrack.

Left Lane: Al Hofmann Runs 5.117/284.27, Now #2
Right Lane: Chuck Etchells Runs 6.717/141.92, Now #5

Etchells was right with Hoffman until halftrack, then the slicks break loose and he has to abort the run.

Left Lane: Johnny Gray Runs 5.210/216.62, Now #3
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 7.027/123.54, Now #7

Gray was on a good run until the 1000 foot mark. The engine explodes and the right side of the body comes apart, blowing fiberglass all over the track. Gray brings the burning car to a stop and climbs out the escape hatch. Gilbertson goes up in smoke about 300 feet out and aborts his run.

Left Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 5.119/281.83, Now #3
Right Lane: Jim Epler Runs 5.126/291.57, Now #4

Both cars stay in the groove and make decent passes.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 7.060/123.17, Now #11
Right Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 5.139/284.39, Now #5

Densham goes up in smoke about 300 feet out and aborts the run. Good, straight run for Skuza, he gets in the fifth spot for now.

Left Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 5.651/169.51, Now #9
Right Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 5.040/291.63, Now #1

Johnson has the same problems everyone else seems to be having with the left lane. The transition from concrete to asphalt is about 400 feet out and the tires break loose at that point. Pedregon has a little tire smoke around the thousand foot mark, but still makes a good run to get in the top spot for now.

Left Lane: Bruce Sarver Runs 9.407/100.22, Now #15
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.944/286.80, Now #1

Sarver had a decent .904 sixty foot time, Pedregon a .909. Sarver gets about 300 feet out and the engine goes silent, not sure what happened. Pedregon goes right down the groove and jumps into the top spot for now.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.931/297.55, Now #1
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 6.022/158.37, Now #12

Worsham gets about three hundred feet out, the tires start smoking and he backs off the throttle. Capps makes it past the transition with no problems and takes over the top spot.

Left Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 6.063/152.85, Now #14
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.959/301.87, Now #3

Two of the better sixty foot times this round, a .901 for Bazemore and .888 for Force. Bazemore was right with Force until about halftrack, then the blower pops the burst panel. Force went right down the groove and gets in the third spot. That ends this session of Funny car, Top Fuel is up next.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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