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Sat, 14 Oct 2006, 05:41 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Larry Sullivan

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Notes from final, round 4 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time/top speed this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Left Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 5.099/236.34, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.039/264.80, Was #18
Right Lane: Phil Burkart Runs 4.882/306.12, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.983/286.98, Was #17

4:59 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 66 degrees, relative humidity 29 percent, barometer 29.89 inches, adjusted altitude 595 feet, track temperature 92 degrees.

The scenario is simple - there are nineteen cars here, there are sixteen slots on the ladder. Cruz Pedregon is on the bump spot at 4.935. Paul Lee should be out first, but could not answer the call, so he's out and these two are the ones Cruz needs to keep an eye on.

Bummer for Frankie, his chute shook out at half track and he towed it the rest of the way on an otherwise good-looking run, coming up short. Meanwhile, Burkart stepped up and into the field on a nice-looking run, bumping Cruz. Now Tony Bartone is on the bump spot at 4.919.

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.833/307.16, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.935/292.08, Was #17
Right Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 10.488/89.05, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.919/295.08, Was #16

bartone lost traction about 200 feet out and all he could do was watch Cruz bump him from the field. Cruz not only bumped in, he went all the way to the top half of the field, but the shuffling isn't over yet. There are still about 15 cars in line, already in the field, to challenge for position. That puts Scott Kalitta in the sixteenth spot, at 4.890.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 4.886/299.60, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.852/307.44, Was #11
Right Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 4.770/310.77, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.890/304.67, Was #14

From the bump spot to fourth position in one smooth pass, Kalitta made a very nice run to what looks like sure lane choice in round one. Densham wasn't far back at half track, then his car started moving all over the lane on the top end.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 8.931/83.98, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.844/302.08, Was #12
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 5.070/281.30, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.883/299.60, Was #16

Scelzi lost traction before half track. Wilkerson lost traction beyond half track.

Left Lane: Mike Ashley Runs 12.991/71.59, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.838/302.01, Was #11
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.848/283.73, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.867/302.21, Was #14

Ashley lost traction immediately. Capps was on a good pass for about 1,100 feet, then the car nosed over and raw fuel came out the headers - but he moved away from a possible first-round matchup with John Force in the pairings (for now, anyway).

Left Lane: Jim Head Runs 12.570/70.29, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.784/307.09, Was #5
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.815/309.42, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.837/306.33, Was #10

Head lost traction after about 100 feet. Worsham made a nice run to move into the top half of the field.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 4.790/306.46, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.765/315.78, Was #3
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.788/312.28, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.831/304.53, Was #9

Two good-looking runs, both cars moving around a bit on the top end. Force stayed third, Pedregon m oved into the top half of the field.

Left Lane: Eric Medlen Runs 4.728/311.49, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.757/310.41, Was #2
Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 5.139/257.14, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.831/304.87, Was #9

Nice run by medlen to move ahead of teammate Hight in the order. beckman started losing ground almost immediately and there was a flash of flame under his car around the 1,000-foot marker.

With Force third and Capps 13th, Force now leads Capps by six points and they are on opposite sides of the ladder.

Left Lane: Robert Hight Runs 9.186/93.88, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.751/311.05, Was #2
Right Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.793/308.92, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.788/300.66, Was #7

Hight was up in smoke in the first 200 feet. TJ made a good run, but failed to improve and the field is set.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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