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Sun, 4 Nov 2007, 03:00 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, 43nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

  782 Gary Densham                          711 Jack Beckman                 
E1                   0.088  7.076 123.67     ****WINNER****  0.057  4.797 324.90
 Qualified:            #15  4.829 318.92                        #2  4.786 320.89
11:32 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 77 degrees, relative humidity 29 percent, barometer 29.02 inches, adjusted altitude 2,435 feet, track temperature 95 degrees.

Pretty exciting first round of Top Fuel. Could that be an omen for the Floppers? We'll see. Beckman was the runner-up at this event last year. He also set the Funny Car speed record during that event before being defeated by J. Force. Densham ran his first ever Final event in 1979 and this marks his 28th appearance. Densham strikes the tires early in the run and the rest belonged to Beckman. Another booming speed for the MTS Dodge.

  427 Tony Bartone                          347 Tim Wilkerson                
E1                   0.108  4.931 318.47     ****WINNER****  0.102  4.762 321.50
 Qualified:            #13  4.826 321.42                        #4  4.796 324.83
Tim Wilkerson is making his 200th start and holds a 1-1 record against Bartone. Bartone has won this event three times in two different classes, Nitro and Alcohol Funny Car. Wilkerson seems to have found something as he unloads low ET of the weekend for Funny Cars on Bartone.

  750 Del Worsham                          7321 Ashley Force                 
E1                   0.096  7.037 132.24     ****WINNER****  0.096  4.843 296.31
 Qualified:            #12  4.821 318.02                        #5  4.802 317.42
This is Ashley Force's 18th start in her rookie year. She won here in 2004 in the Alcohol Dragster class. Worsham has won here in 2001 and 2003. He's 2-2 against A. Force this season. Worsham strikes the tires at the hit and A. Force gets her round one win. The only bad news for her is she gets a real hot ?Wilkerson in the next round and he has lane choice.

    5 Tony Pedregon                         170 Jeff Arend                   
E1                   0.100  4.853 319.98     ****WINNER****  0.084  4.849 318.02
 Qualified:            #16  4.842 314.02                        #1  4.781 324.90
This is Arend's 72nd Funny Car start, and his last for the CSK team. He has not announced his plans for the 2008 season at this point and would love to close out this chapter of his career with a win. This is also his second ever #1 qualifier. Tony Pedregon has won this event in both 1997 and 2005. The only bad news for him is that for his career he's 0-4 when starting from the bump. Pedregon has an 86 point lead over Scelzi as the first round begins he can clinch the title if he beats Arend and Scelzi or Hight don't win the event and set the national ET record.

Arend makes the most of the deal and takes out Pedregon. T. Ped can only sit back and watch what happens from here.

    2 Robert Hight                            7 Gary Scelzi                  
E1   ****WINNER****  0.025  4.902 307.09                     0.074  5.632 176.90
 Qualified:            #14  4.827 316.45                        #3  4.788 326.87
Scelzi and Hight have about all their eggs in the same basket as far as the championship goes and one will be completely done in just a few seconds. This is also a rematch of the 2007 Winternationals final round that was won by Scelzi. Not this time. Hight gets the lead at the start and never looks back. Scelzi appeared to have engine problems at about 900ft as the pipes were wet in the big red car. Hight still has a ton of things to do to win the championship but it's still possible.

  729 Jerry Toliver                         404 Kenny Bernstein              
E1   ****WINNER****  0.074  4.871 322.34                     0.051  4.915 316.75
 Qualified:            #11  4.820 326.24                        #6  4.804 322.19
Kenny Bernstein competed in his first ever Finals in 1978 and here he is facing Toliver in the first round. Toliver, the winner here in 1999, becomes the 145th driver to try and put KB in the trailer. That's a bit of an upset as Toliver in the Rockstar Toyota gets the best of the Monster Man. Toliver gets to work his magic against Hight next round and he will get lane choice this time.

 7701 Mike Neff                             180 Mike Ashley                  
E1                   0.081  4.938 284.56     ****WINNER****  0.080  4.802 328.62
 Qualified:            #10  4.819 322.27                        #7  4.807 318.62
Neff becomes the 21st different driver that Ashley has faced in his career. Neff of course is making only his second start. Really an even start but it's Ashley with just a bit more power on the top end. Neff's car was soft down low and he never could catch Ashley. Ashley's car had a flash underneath but the race directer says play on! Beckman has lane choice over Ashley in two.

    8 Phil Burkart                           28 Ron Capps                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.052  4.861 317.57                     0.110  4.822 323.35
 Qualified:             #9  4.813 318.77                        #8  4.812 323.50
Capps is 8-6 against Burkart, who's making his 93rd start. I'm guessing that he never would of thought that he'd be doing that in John Force's hot rod. Keep Capps away from sharp things! He's really late and Burkart pulls off a win that didn't look likely at 60ft. Burkart gives a round win back to Coil and Force for all those times he beat up on them. Arend will get lane choice over Burkart in the second round. Phil Burkart's MOV: 0.0193 seconds (approximately 9 feet).

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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