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Fri, Nov 13, 09:35 PM

Track and National Records Fall
by Larry Sullivan

Scelzi, Kopp Clinch Titles

POMONA, Calif. - The second day of qualifying for the 34th annual NHRA Winston Finals continued to rewrite the Pomona Raceway record book and took a couple of nibbles at national records. Gary Scelzi and Larry Kopp clinched their 1998 Winston titles as Scelzi, Cruz Pedregon, Warren Johnson, Angelle Seeling, and John Lingenfelter hold down the top spots on their respective eliminations ladders.

Scelzi erased both ends of the track record with a stunning 4.548 second, 323.85 mph qualifying run in gathering darkness Friday, putting him securely in the sixteen-car field and clinching the 1998 Winston title (though it won't be official until Saturday afternoon) . The run also established Scelzi as a heavy favorite to win Saturday's Big Bud Shootout, where he will face Larry Dixon in the first round.

Pedregon moved to the top of the Funny Car ladder with a 4.947 second elapsed time at "only" 284.62 mph, his engine suffering damage as he neared the end of his run. Tim Wilkerson moved into second, clocked at 4.968 seconds and 293.63 mph.

Johnson remained atop the Pro Stock field based on the 6.891 second, 201.02 mph qualifying run he made Thursday, resetting both track records. The rest of the Pro Stock field got tighter, with Jeg Coughlin now on the bump spot at 6.980 seconds.

Seeling improved her elapsed time to 7.268 seconds, at 187.65 mph, resetting the track elapsed time record for the second run in a row, while Matt Hines moved into the second position with a 7.338 second, 189.27 mph effort. Hines' speed not only set a track record, it was the fastest speed ever recorded for a Pro Stock Bike.

Lingenfelter will lead the Pro Stock Truck contingent into their final day of eliminations Saturday on the strength of his 7.617 second, 178.28 mph qualifying run in the first of two sessions Friday. Both are track records, and his speed is also a national record. Randy Daniels qualified second, at 7.622 seconds, 176.67 mph.

Larry Kopp clinched the 1998 Winston Pro Stock Truck title by qualifying fifth on the ladder.

All categories, except Pro Stock Truck, will have two more qualifying sessions Saturday, while the truck ladder is now set for Saturday's eliminations.

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