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Sun, 15 Oct 2006, 12:35 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals:

    8 Del Worsham                           711 Jack Beckman
E1                   0.058  6.204 200.59     ****WINNER****  0.119  4.876 289.26
 Qualified:             #8  4.815 309.42                        #9  4.831 304.87
11:54 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 60 degrees, relative humidity 38 percent, barometer 30.13 inches, adjusted altitude -142 feet, track temperature 74 degrees.

Worsham is facing his 68th different opponent, Beckman making his third start in Funny Car. This is Beckman's 15th race, including Top Fuel. It is Worsham's 302nd start.

Worsham treed Beckman, then lost traction and Beckman collected his first round win in Funny Car with a clean, straight run.

  388 Jim Head                                1 Gary Scelzi
E1   ****WINNER****  0.113  5.282 205.13                     0.087  7.478 109.26
 Qualified:             #5  4.784 307.09                       #12  4.844 302.08
Scelzi was away first, but lost traction after 100 feet or so while Head streaked away. As Scelzi coasted down the track, Head's car had a "big boomer" before the 1,000-foot marker, the hatch in the hood sailing high in the air. However, he was close enough and fast enough to easily coast home a winner.

  319 Scott Kalitta                          28 Ron Capps
E1   ****WINNER****  0.097  4.808 301.67                     0.080  4.891 299.73
 Qualified:             #4  4.770 310.77                       #13  4.848 283.73
After an oil cleanup (Head had a freebie coming), these two squared off. This is Scott Kalitta's 522nd round of competition, with a round win record of 274-247. This is the 30th time he's qualified fourth in his career, more times than he's qualified in any of the other 15 ladder positions. Capps holds a 5-3 record against Kalitta and has qualified 13th nine times in his career, twice in the last five races.

Capps left first, but Kalitta's team has found something (maybe several somethings) and he ran Capps down before half track. Scott Kalitta's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.022), 330 ft(-0.017), 660ft(0.032), 1,000ft(0.058). MOV: 0.0662 seconds (approximately 29 feet). That hurts Capps' championship chase, now he'll have to wait for the two Force cars to run to see how badly. Kalitta will have lane choice against head in round two.

This is Head's 303rd start and a match between two drivers with both Top Fuel and Funny Car credentials. This is Head's best start since Englishtown, but Scelzi enjoys a 7-1 career record against Head.

    4 Eric Medlen                           347 Tim Wilkerson
E1   ****WINNER****  0.042  4.831 286.68                     0.117 13.356  80.83
 Qualified:             #1  4.728 311.49                       #16  4.883 299.60
This is Medlen's eighth #1 qualifier, the third this year. It is Wilkerson 's 207th race and the ninth time he's qualified in the #16 slot. He is still looking for his first round win from the bump spot. In prior races, Medlen has a 7-5 record against Wilkerson.

No upset this time, Wilkerson was up in smoke early and Medlen went right down the middle for the win. He will have lane choice against Beckman next round.

    5 Robert Hight                          156 Phil Burkart
E1   ****WINNER****  0.095  4.760 307.30                     0.058  5.542 210.97
 Qualified:             #2  4.751 311.05                       #15  4.882 306.12
Hight has qualified for 44 races in a row, 22 of them in one of the top two spots. He holds a 5-3 record against Burkart, but one of Burkart's round wins against Hight came just two weeks ago, at Maple Grove.

Lightning didn't strike twice, Burkart started falling back well before half track and Hight advances with low ET of the round so far.

    3 John Force                            782 Gary Densham
E1   ****WINNER****  0.104  4.828 303.43                     0.087  4.861 301.13
 Qualified:             #3  4.765 315.78                       #14  4.852 307.44
Force qualified for his 390th consecutive race here and holds a 30-7 record against Densham, one of eight opponents Force has defeated at least 30 times. This is the 30th time Densham has qualified in the 14th spot, his most frequent position on the ladder.

Densham treed Force, but Force evened things up at 330 feet and then pulled ahead for the win. John Force's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.015), 330 ft(0.000), 660ft(0.006), 1,000ft(0.009). MOV: 0.0165 seconds (approximately 7 feet).

    7 Tony Pedregon                         180 Mike Ashley
E1                   0.075  4.865 296.70     ****WINNER****  0.093  4.842 299.26
 Qualified:             #6  4.788 312.28                       #11  4.838 302.01
These two have met twice before, each with one win. This is Pedregon's 599th round of competition, with a career mark of 372-226. Ashley is making his 20th start.

Another close race, Pedregon with the better light, Ashley making up the difference in the first 60 feet. Pedregon was closing fast on the top end, but his car made a hard move out toward the wall and he came up short, barely missing the wall. Mike Ashley's incremental margins: 60ft(0.008), 330 ft(0.026), 660ft(0.015), 1,000ft(0.009). MOV: 0.0052 seconds (approximately 2 feet).Ashley faces Force next round, Force has lane choice.

  503 Tommy Johnson Jr.                      10 Cruz Pedregon
E1                   0.074  4.874 299.33     ****WINNER****  0.080  4.841 301.67
 Qualified:             #7  4.788 300.66                       #10  4.833 307.16
The record between these two is almost even, TJ with a 6-5 edge in prior races. This is Johnson's 269th race, Pedregon's 283rd. THis is Pedregon's 560th round of competition with a lifetime mark of 324-235.

Yet another close race, Cruz with a slightly better light and a slightly better run. Cruz Pedregon's incremental margins: 60ft(0.015), 330 ft(0.001), 660ft(0.003), 1,000ft(0.016). MOV: 0.0277 seconds (approximately 12 feet). Cruz faces Hight in round two, Hight has lane choice.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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