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Sun, 10 Nov 2002, 03:05 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Dave Gerard

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 38th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

   8 Cory Lee            4.920 309.84  Q    9 Terry Haddock       5.121 263.62
 *****WINNER***** 0.508  5.582 193.35  E1                  0.540  7.500 120.98

11:30 AM The Funny Car point's battle is one of the last that is still in contention. I'm sure that everyone is aware of all of the possibilities between John Force and Tony Pedregon for the number one spot, but several other top 10 positions will be decided today. The other Team Force member, Gary Densham, is in a closer point battle with Team CSK's leader, Del Worsham, having a 27-point lead. Ron Capps has a 7-point lead over Scotty Cannon for sixth place and Johnny Gray leads Bruce Sarver by 7 point for tenth place. Interestingly, Capps will race Worsham in first round and Force will race Cannon!

The weather for the first round hasn't changed much from the start of Top Fuel with a temperature of 70 degrees, 52% humidity, and 30.11 inches and steady on the barometer. Lot's of upsets in Top Fuel means that this is still anyone's race.

Lee is away first with Haddock right behind. Haddock's day is over when the blower belt leaves the engine. Lee is on a good pass until about the 1000ft mark, when he loses the burst panel.

  15 Tommy Johnson Jr.   9.078   NS    Q    2 Dean Skuza          4.833 302.69
 *****WINNER***** 0.467  4.949 314.53  E1                  0.468  7.287 120.51

Both cars leave together and Skuza takes a early lead, shakes the tires, pedals, and goes up in smoke. He fishtails down the track, but Johnson is long gone.

   1 John Force          4.762 324.05  Q   16 Scotty Cannon       9.078   NS
 *****WINNER***** 0.453  4.862 315.93  E1                  0.496  5.328 204.98

Another shot from the Force Team to the Funny Car competitors. Cannon's current career as a Funny Car driver comes to an end after a valiant attempt to stay with Force. He has problems near the 1000ft mark and has to give up the chase. Force is almost perfect from start to finish. He'll have lane choice over Lee in the next round.

   5 Ron Capps           4.873 313.80  Q   12 Del Worsham         6.106 181.13
 *****WINNER***** 0.461  5.333 250.69  E1                  0.483  7.790 139.27

Capps is away first and runs well to almost 1000ft, where he spins the tires through the lights. Worsham is up in smoke right off the line and will have to wait for Densham in the next pair to determine the number three spot for 2002.

   3 Gary Densham        4.849 313.51  Q   14 Johnny Gray         8.736 115.28
                  0.506 14.548  43.59  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.487  6.116 274.55

The smoke gods strike both lanes early and give the nod to Gray in the pedal contest. The CSK team will stay in the number three position for 2002.

   4 Bruce Sarver        4.859 308.71  Q   13 Tony Pedregon       7.328 285.59
                  0.499  5.043 246.21  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.446  4.917 314.90

Pedregon keeps his hopes alive with a clean and safe run. Sarver looked to be ahead by mid-track, but loses the blower belt.

Pedregon will have lane choice over Capps in the next round.

   6 Tim Wilkerson       4.873 310.55  Q   11 Frank Pedregon      5.878 160.69
 *****WINNER***** 0.513  4.949 307.30  E1                  0.473  8.903  90.54

Pedregon is away first and leads until the engine goes silent around the 330ft mark. Wilkerson makes a clean run and will have lane choice over Gray in the next round.

   7 Whit Bazemore       4.905 309.20  Q   10 Cruz Pedregon       5.212 231.64
                  0.484  5.348 254.14  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.465  4.988 302.01

The last pair of the round comes to the line. Pedregon makes a near perfect run and leaves a tire smoking Bazemore after running together until almost mid-track. He will give up lane choice to Johnson.

Lots of surprises so far, but no delays in the program.

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