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Sun, 25 Feb 2007, 02:14 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Darryl Jackman

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 23rd annual Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals presented by Castrol:

 7321 Ashley Force                          206 Bob Gilbertson
E1                   0.098 No Time           ****WINNER****  0.084 No Time
 Qualified:             #6  4.730 319.82                       #11  4.797 300.20
11:40 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 61 degrees, relative humidity 21 percent, barometer 28.95 inches, adjusted altitude 1,443 feet, track temperature 86 degrees.

It's A.Force out to face Gilbertson in round 1. The easy stat is that this is the second start for A. Force as a Pro and she becomes the 24th different driver that has faced Gilbertson. Fairly even start for the pair but Force took the lead by 330. She was pulling away and was on her way to her first round win until the Mustang made a hard move to the center line. She took out the 1000ft marker and did the same to the finish line cone. Since she got there first Gilbertson got no time for his run but did get the win.

  180 Mike Ashley                           347 Tim Wilkerson
E1                         No Time           ****WINNER****  0.218  5.013 260.36
 Qualified:             #5  4.727 326.48                       #12  4.810 314.09
Ashley is 2-0 Wilkerson but has a career eliminations record of 11-23. This is Wilkerson's 186th start. This is a wacky first round. Ashley made the burnout and then kept right on rolling. Wilkerson made his run and started dropping cylinders early in the run and added more as he went down course. It sounds like Ashley's problem was a broken clutch linkage.

    5 Tony Pedregon                         319 Scott Kalitta
E1   ****WINNER****  0.107  4.701 326.71                     0.095  7.767 106.51
 Qualified:             #2  4.659 324.44                       #15  4.847 323.43
Pedregon is 3-2 against Kalitta and this is the 31st time he's qualified he's qualified #2. He was the runner-up here in 2004. Kalitta is 277-251 for his Pro career and this is his 270th start. He also has a leg up on the national ET record. The pair left together and were side by side until 330. Kalitta struck the tires but Pedregon had all eight flaming this time. His time will back the new ET record of 4.659 seconds.

    2 Robert Hight                          170 Jeff Arend
E1   ****WINNER****  0.098  5.104 221.82                     0.059  5.506 214.04
 Qualified:             #1  4.636 327.74                       #16  4.864 307.16
This is the 16th time in Hight's career that he's qualified #1. He's qualified for the last 48 straight events and 26 of those have been as either the #1 or #2 starter. He's 4-0 against Arend. This is the 3rd time Arend has qualified on the bump. Another wacky pair! Arend took a good lead at the hit and looked to be in control. He rattled the tires and had to pedal so here comes Hight. Hight lost traction and had to pedal but got back under power to nip Arend at the finish.

    7 Gary Scelzi                           782 Gary Densham
E1                   0.091  5.760 215.07     ****WINNER****  0.105  5.737 231.56
 Qualified:             #3  4.697 330.07                       #14  4.841 316.08
Scelzi is 7-5 against Densham and won this event in 1997 in Top Fuel. This is the 308th start for Densham. Scelzi is away first and was pulling away until he struck the tires. The car drifted to the wall and he had to lift. Densham also pedaled the car but stayed in the middle of the lane. When he got back on the pedal the car stuck and he caught Scelzi at about 1300ft. Densham also gets lane choice due to the timing problems for Gilbertson.

   28 Ron Capps                               1 John Force
E1   ****WINNER****  0.094  4.837 305.22                     0.084  4.862 303.09
 Qualified:             #4  4.699 330.07                       #13  4.818 297.88
Capps won this event in 2003 and has three runner-ups here. Force is 38-16 against Capps and he has 967 round wins going into eliminations. Capps has problems getting the starter off of the blower and didn't start his very short burnout until Force was almost back to the starting line. In the end it made no difference as Capps took the very close win: Ron Capps' MOV: 0.0154 seconds (approximately 7 feet). This is the first time since 1989 that Force has opened the season with two round one losses. Capps also has lance choice over Wilkerson.

  503 Tommy Johnson Jr.                     388 Jim Head
E1                   0.083  7.514 118.16     ****WINNER****  0.093  4.777 326.87
 Qualified:             #7  4.733 330.88                       #10  4.762 325.61
Johnson is 6-2 against Head and so far this weekend he also has top speed. He also happens to be the defending champ at this race. Head was runner-up here in Funny Car in 1986. He got to the same position in Top Fuel in 1998. Johnson took a slight lead at the hit but Head had caught him by 60ft. The Impala rattled the tires hard and TJ had to lift. That was all Head needed to seal the win and run his personal best best speed. No matter how good that run was T.Pedregon has lane choice in round 2.

    4 Eric Medlen                           711 Jack Beckman
E1   ****WINNER****  0.105  5.814 207.05                     0.110  6.866 136.55
 Qualified:             #8  4.740 321.81                        #9  4.748 323.04
Medlen has been in 71 straight events come Sunday and he's 1-0 against Beckman. This is Beckman's 19th Pro start and he's 0-3 against the Force team for his career. Another tire smoking decision from this pair. Medlen and Beckman wer side by side but at 100ft Beckman lost traction. At 110ft Medlen lost traction. At that point they traded tire smoke until one of them actually finished the run. First to the line was Medlen, who gets to race Hight without lane choice. What a first round that was!

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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