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Sun, 18 Sep 2005, 11:57 AM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Jim Samuel

MOHNTON, Pa. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 21st annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals:

 7000 Robert Hight                           28 Ron Capps                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.069  4.779 325.92                     0.062  4.880 299.66
 Qualified:             #8  4.822 314.17                        #9  4.824 316.23
11:25 a.m. - Weather conditions: air temperature 71 degrees, relative humidity 51 percent, barometer 29.93 inches, adjusted altitude 980 feet, track temperature 94 degrees.

This is Hight's 19th start and the 18th time he's started in the top half of the field. Capps was the runner-up here in 1999 and 2000. This is only the second time they've raced each other, with Hight winning their first race in Atlanta earlier this year.

Capps was out of the gate first and led this race at mid-track, but then his car started smoking the tires and Hight got by him to take the win.

  503 Tommy Johnson Jr.                     206 Bob Gilbertson               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.088  4.822 319.29                     0.122  4.999 284.87
 Qualified:             #3  4.794 324.59                       #14  4.865 288.58
Johnson won here in 1999 and has five wins and two losses against Gilbertson in their past meetings. Johnson led this race from start to finish and was leading the race at mid track when Gilbertson's car blew an engine and left pieces on the track.

   73 Frank Pedregon                        180 Mike Ashley                  
E1   ****WINNER****  0.147  4.833 316.97                     0.088  5.189 226.16
 Qualified:             #4  4.800 298.60                       #13  4.864 318.39
Ashley s the 30th driver that Pedregon has faced in NHRA Funny Car competition. It's Ashley's first NHRA Funny Car start.

Ashley got off the starting line first and was 0.053 seconds ahead at mid track. But then Ashley's car got loose and started hopping in his lane. That Pedregon the chance he needed to get by Ashley and get the win. The burst panel on Pedregon's car came loose when he launched and sat in a dislodged position as Pedregon's car went down the track. It finally came off as Pedregon crossed the finish line.

    5 Eric Medlen                             7 Tim Wilkerson                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.105  4.807 322.88                     0.113  4.988 274.89
 Qualified:             #2  4.787 317.12                       #15  4.887 313.58
Medlen has five wins and four losses against Wilkerson in their nine previous races. This is the sixth time that Wilkerson has started from the 1 number 15 spot in the order. In four of the five previous times, he went out in the first round and he won the race on the one other time.

Make that five first round losses from Wilkerson when he started from the number 15 position. Wilkerson trailed Medlen from the start and lost any chance of getting the win when he spun the tires at mid track.

    3 Gary Scelzi                             4 Gary Densham                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.092  4.785 312.42                     0.106  8.074 100.32
 Qualified:             #1  4.766 322.11                       #16  4.887 312.21
This is Scelzi's fourth #1 start of the year and the 40th of his career. He's the defending champion here. Densham is making his 283rd start.

Densham Shook the tires and shut his car off at 330 feet. Scelzi got the win but missed earning lane choice over Hight by 0.006 seconds.

    8 Tony Pedregon                          10 Phil Burkart                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.072  4.850 316.90                     0.048 10.018  86.05
 Qualified:             #5  4.801 318.84                       #12  4.852 310.48
Pedregon has four wins and two losses against Burkart. He was the runner up here in 1996 and maple Grove is on of the few tracks at which he has never won. This is Burkart's 65th start and his fourth year here at the Grove.

Burkart smoked the tires early on and shut it down. Pedregon got the win but gave up lane choice to his brother Frank in the next round.

    1 John Force                            427 Tony Bartone                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.121  4.788 320.05                     0.225  5.212 225.30
 Qualified:             #6  4.804 322.11                       #11  4.834 316.90
Force has made it to the final round 11 times out of the previous 20 times he's raced here. He has six wins and no losses against Bartone. Bartone has been in the finals here five times but all were in the alcohol classes.

Force staged very quickly here...getting staged before Bartone even pre staged. Force got out of the gates first and led this one from start to finish. He'll have lane choice over Johnson in the next round.

    6 Whit Bazemore                           2 Del Worsham                  
E1   ****WINNER****  0.092  4.912 312.86                     0.032  7.765 130.14
 Qualified:             #7  4.813 320.13                       #10  4.829 317.94
Bazemore is starting at Maple Grove for the 15th time in his career. It's the 293rd start of his career. He was the runner-up here in 2001 and 2002. Worsham has a 26-23 record against Bazemore in their previous races.

Worsham smoked the tires as soon as he launched. He pedaled it and got back into the run but by then it was too late because Bazemore was long gone. Bazemore will race Medlen in th next round and Medlen will have lane choice.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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