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Sun, 2 Sep 2007, 05:08 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By David Gerard

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 5 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 7.468/120.68, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.888/284.93, Was #19
Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.973/314.02, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.759/325.85, Was #3

3:57 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 90 degrees, relative humidity 28 percent, barometer 29.20 inches, adjusted altitude 3,062 feet, track temperature 121 degrees.The first two pairs will be the second round of the Skoal Showdown. Jon Capps is on the bump spot at 4.826.

Johnson's car is too agressive off the line and is up in smoke before the 330 lights. Beckman's launch was softer and he ran well until down track where dropped cylinders and spinning tires slowed him down

Left Lane: Mike Ashley Runs 4.943/316.75, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.779/327.35, Was #6
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.893/318.77, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.773/324.98, Was #5

Great side by side pass. Ashley was out in front until after the sixty foot lights. Capps just drove on by and pulled away between the 330 and 660 lights. Nice passes in these conditions.

Left Lane: Bob Bode Runs 5.032/280.95, Now #21; Best prior run: 10.223/73.04, Was #22
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 11.583/91.84, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.863/312.86, Was #17

Gilbertson is up in smoke right off the line and slows. Bode had a great pass in progress until the Funny Car lit up near the top end. A BIG Boomer with LOTS of fire inside the car and then continuing underneath the body as the car when on down the track. Looks like they needed a longer fuze! He's OK, but the engine has seen better days.

4:05 p.m. Lots of traffic on the top end with all of the safety equipment out on the track doing the dusting and cleaning thing...

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.960/300.33, Now #21; Best prior run: 6.181/151.17, Was #22
Right Lane: Jon Capps Runs 11.855/68.71, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.826/311.49, Was #16

4:17 p.m. That took a while...Capps has to be nervous with all the cars that have the potential to bump him out yet to run.The conditions are tough, but possible. Pedregon finally gets his base line run one round too late. He has good numbers down low, but starts to drop cylinders after mid-track. It's over for Capps before the 330 lights when the tires go up in smoke. He won't improve.

Left Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 10.805/76.09, Now #20; Best prior run: 4.932/302.41, Was #20
Right Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 6.101/152.88, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.805/319.75, Was #14

Bartone leaves hard and starts to smoke the tires after the 330 lights. Kalitta gets further down track before the Go Fast goes away. He still had good numbers at mid-track, but not likely to get him in the field.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 4.856/318.99, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.882/264.23, Was #18
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 4.974/291.89, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.804/324.12, Was #13

Force's Mustang runs hard off the line and strong down the track. He makes his best run of the weekend but comes -0.030 short of matching the #16 ET. Best ET and speed of the session, so far and he won't make the field. This is only the third time in John Force's career that he hasn't qualified at the U.S.Nationals; First in 1979 and again in 1984.

Head runs a strong four ninety in the other lane, while slowing on the top end.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.930/318.47, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.825/313.95, Was #15
Right Lane: Gary Densham Runs 4.950/305.42, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.800/320.28, Was #11

Nice side by side pass for these two. Wilkerson has run better than five seconds in the last four sessions, but Densham's runs were all better than him.

Left Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 7.091/119.62, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.803/320.28, Was #12
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 5.096/279.15, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.786/321.04, Was #8

Pedregon has a nice pass going until the engine started to drop cylinders near the top end. He dumps the laundry early and slows. Bernstein had better numbers to the 660 and then smoked the tires.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.920/315.05, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.799/322.50, Was #10
Right Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.919/302.82, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.764/323.89, Was #4

Height has a strong pass going until near the 1000 foot mark and a lot of red header flames spell trouble for the engine. Lot of smoke in the lights. Scelzi gets the red Charger from start to finish without any drama. Not a bad run for the conditions.

4:37 p.m. The Safety Safari rolls again in the right lane.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 10.032/86.20, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.797/320.81, Was #9
Right Lane: Ashley Force Runs 4.884/293.86, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.754/309.70, Was #2

Nice run for Force and again the engine needed a longer fuze. She runs very close to her dad's numbers all the way down the track and slows after the 1000 foot lights. Toliver had a strong leave and then smoked the tires before the 330 mark.

Left Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.868/319.52, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.785/323.66, Was #7
Right Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 5.548/181.64, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.754/327.51, Was #1

We get the red and blue Checker, Schuck's and Kragen Impala's side by side for the last pair. Worsham has the combination for this session and pulls steadily away from Arend until just before mid-track, when the red car's tires started to spin and smoke. Worsham runs the second quickest ET of the session and the highest speed.

4:49 p.m. Jon Capps keeps the bump spot at 4.826 and Jeff Arend stays on top with a 4.754. His previous best qualifying position was at Englishtown, NJ in 2005.

Max Naylor and Jeff Arend qualifying Number One at Indy is the biggest surprise since Ron Hutter and Sush Matsubura in 1972.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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