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Sun, 2 Sep 2007, 01:20 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #4
By David Gerard

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 4 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. 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: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.888/284.93, Now #18; Best prior run: 6.051/153.16, Was #19
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.898/294.82, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.882/264.23, Was #17

12:30 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 81 degrees, relative humidity 43 percent, barometer 29.25 inches, adjusted altitude 2,493 feet, track temperature 116 degrees. The first four pairs down the track will be the first round of the Skoal Showdown.Jon Capps is on the bump spot at 4.826.

Johnson finally gets a full pull to tune to for the final session. Force matches Johnsons time at 60 feet and pulled ahead by the 300 foot mark. The engine started to eat itself up and then bangs the blower after mid-track. Johnson said that his engine started to struggle and shut itself off before the lights.

Left Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 5.270/209.65, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.786/321.04, Was #8
Right Lane: Mike Ashley Runs 4.880/317.19, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.779/327.35, Was #6

They leave with identical RT's and Ashley gets the advantage by sixty feet. They run side by side until near the 1000 foot lights, where Pedregon's engine starts to expire. Neither car will improve.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.880/312.93, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.773/324.98, Was #5
Right Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 5.019/303.78, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.799/322.50, Was #10

Scelzi gets off the line first and then has to watch the back of Capps car rocketing on down the track. Scelzi engine is very unhappy after mid-track and can't match his prior performance. He stops on the track and we have a brief delay while they retrieve the Dodge.

Left Lane: Robert Hight Runs 5.415/194.24, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.764/323.89, Was #4
Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.930/314.46, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.759/325.85, Was #3

Height is on a strong pass and pulls steadily in front of Beckman until mid-track. "Stuff" starts to come out underneath the Mustang body and he slows. Beckman makes a clean run, but doesn't improve.

Left Lane: Jim Head Runs 4.895/309.63, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.804/324.12, Was #13
Right Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 11.334/77.19, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.797/320.81, Was #9

Toliver is up in smoke at the hit and Head doesn't improve.

Left Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 4.883/309.42, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.805/319.75, Was #14
Right Lane: Bob Bode Runs 10.223/73.04, Now #22; Best prior run: 12.431/76.97, Was #22

Bode in smoke this time and Kalitta stays in the current #14 position.

Left Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 4.863/312.86, Now #17; Best prior run: 5.056/290.26, Was #19
Right Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 8.306/106.19, Now #20; Best prior run: 6.181/151.17, Was #20

Nice pass for Gilbertson with the best numbers of the session, but he will have to wait for the final session to qualify. Pedregon's car is a little lazy at the hit and then smokes the tires. He slaps it hard and the front wheel come way up in the air. He has to give it up as a lost cause and slows.

Left Lane: Ashley Force Runs 5.081/225.07, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.754/309.70, Was #2
Right Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 4.932/302.41, Now #20; Best prior run: 6.583/129.97, Was #21

Team Force is three for three this round, with great early times and problems down track. Bartone finally gets a full pull and will at least have something to use for tuning in the final session. The clean up guys have do a little work at the turn out.

Left Lane: Jon Capps Runs 4.905/317.12, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.826/311.49, Was #16
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 5.951/158.56, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.785/323.66, Was #7

Capps position in the field on Sunday is a tribute to the Paul Smith tune up. Worsham has the power until mid-track and the car gets loose and he lifts. Capps keeps the pipes dry and makes another four second pass. He stay #16.

1:034 p.m. MOre clean up on the top end.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 4.896/316.01, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.800/320.28, Was #11
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.988/272.23, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.825/313.95, Was #15

1:05 p.m. Just a brief delay... Nice pass, Gary! The Torco/Racebrick's Monte Carlo is strong off the line and motors on down the track smartly for the conditions. Wilkerson was right behind him through mid-track and then starts loosing cylinders.

Left Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 12.125/76.87, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.754/327.51, Was #1
Right Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 9.763/87.39, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.803/320.28, Was #12

Last pair of the session. Arend's run was over at the hit, with tirs spinning and shaking. Bernstein tests the lights and failes with unimportant red light. He makes a hard leave and then smokes the tires before the 330 lights.

1:12 p.m. Jon Capps is on the bump spot at 4.826.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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