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Sun, 11 Feb 2007, 04:58 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Darryl Jackman





POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 47th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals:

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  180 Mike Ashley                           347 Tim Wilkerson
E1   ****WINNER****  0.092  4.755 328.70                     0.098  5.993 158.82
 Qualified:            #12  4.778 331.61                        #5  4.723 326.95
1:25 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 66 degrees, relative humidity 48 percent, barometer 29.03 inches, adjusted altitude 1,738 feet, track temperature 79 degrees.

This is Wilkerson's best start in 30 races. Ashley has qualified for 23 straight events and is 1-0 against Wilk. The Top Fuel cars had a few upsets so lets see what happens with the short nitro cars. Pretty even at the hit but Wilkerson has to give the pedal a slap or two before half track. Ashley makes his best hit of the weekend.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  170 Jeff Arend                            711 Jack Beckman
E1   ****WINNER****  0.075  5.256 235.15                     0.116  9.543  88.55
 Qualified:            #11  4.759 299.86                        #6  4.734 324.28
This is Beckman's 18th Pro start and Arend is making his debut in the CSK Blue racer. I guess you could say that Beckman is making his first in the MTS sponsored Dodge. Beckman rattles the tires loose and can only watch as Arend sort of stumbles and wanders off into the distance. Not pretty for Arend but his first round win of the weekend.

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   10 Cruz Pedregon                           1 John Force
E1   ****WINNER****  0.076  4.736 321.65                     0.093  5.055 225.11
 Qualified:            #13  4.784 317.27                        #4  4.709 326.40
As we all know from yesterday's hoopla this is John's 393 straight start and certainly marks the first time a father and daughter have qualified for a Nitro Funny Car program at an NHRA national event. J. Force is 46-2 against Cruz Pedregon. Cruz won here in 1989 in a Top Alky Dragster and again in 1990 in a Top Alky Funny car. The Nitro Funny win came in 1995. That was what happened earlier, but reality was C. Pedregon unloads on J. Force and runs his best of the weekend. Beating John also earns him lane choice over Ashley next round.

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    2 Robert Hight                         7321 Ashley Force
E1   ****WINNER****  0.087  5.367 190.24                     0.108  8.195 102.11
 Qualified:             #2  4.693 326.79                       #15  4.790 312.42
Hight is qualified for his 47th straight event and the defending champ here. The last defending champ to repeat here was Al Segrini in 198-85. Just like J. Force, what can we say about A. Force that hasn't already been hyped to death. First race, first round, first etc. The deal here was that Force's ride had more problems than Hight. Force was on and off the pedal and Hight was coasting from 1000ft on.

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    7 Gary Scelzi                           388 Jim Head
E1   ****WINNER****  0.076  4.748 329.42                     0.101  9.372  80.56
 Qualified:             #1  4.692 333.49                       #16  4.795 316.01
This is the 43rd time that Scelzi has qualified #1 at an NHRA national event. He won this event in Top Alcohol Dragster in 1986, and Top Fuel in 1997 and 2000. He's 7-2 against Head. Head is qualified #16 for the 23rd time in his 306 race career. Scelzi took a clear lead at the hit and after Head's engine went dead he had a ringside seat to watch 'Wild Thing' streak into round two.

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   28 Ron Capps                             206 Bob Gilbertson
E1   ****WINNER****  0.072  4.728 331.61                     0.098  7.191 124.76
 Qualified:             #3  4.709 331.45                       #14  4.788 312.86
Capps won the Winters in 98 and was runner-up in 2006. He's 14-5 against Gilbertson, who's making his 133rd start. Ok. What do we want Capps and team to do next? Only the first run of the weekend was under 330 mph and every run in the 4.7s. Gilbertson fired but fell silent before 330. Capps has lane choice over Arend next round.

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  319 Scott Kalitta                           5 Tony Pedregon
E1                   0.106 No Time           ****WINNER****  0.053  4.771 319.82
 Qualified:             #7  4.741 317.05                       #10  4.749 317.42
Kalitta is 2-2 against T. Pedregon and he won here in 2005in the Top Fuel car. Tony won here in 1999 and 2003. Pedregon took a big lead and perhaps that was just as well. At half track Kalitta's car darted to the center line and NASA is still tracking the marker. It's due to reenter on Tuesday. His 6.904/123.76 will be DQd. Pedregon also earned lane choice over Hight next round.

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    4 Eric Medlen                           503 Tommy Johnson Jr.
E1   ****WINNER****  0.062  4.745 321.81                     0.067  5.739 176.47
 Qualified:             #8  4.744 325.22                        #9  4.748 324.98
This is Medlen's 72nd straight start and 60th event from the top half of the field. TJ is 6-6 for his career against Medlen and this is his 248 straight start. Even at the start but the right lane isn't yielding a lot of results today. Johnson falls silent and Medlen gets the win. Medlen will claim lane choice over Scelzi by .003 when they meet next round.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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