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Sat, 13 Sep 2008, 05:32 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Jason Murray

CONCORD, N.C. - Notes from final, round 4 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Inaugural NHRA Carolinas 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: Matt Hagan Runs 4.198/294.05, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.073/150.53, Was #22
Right Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.205/296.18, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.695/181.08, Was #21

Weather conditions: air temperature 89 degrees, relative humidity 53 percent, barometer 29.30 inches, adjusted altitude 3,635 feet, track temperature 126 degrees.

4:35 p.m. We had a couple of great runs in Top Fuel, there are few Funny Car teams that are looking to move up into the show. As we start this session Tony Pedregon is on the bump with a 4.134. A great side-by side race but neither will be able to put their machines into the big show.

Matt Hagan's incremental times: 60ft-0.927 sec., 330ft-2.371, 660ft-3.371/255.68mph.
Tommy Johnson Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.932 sec., 330ft-2.397, 660ft-3.389/259.41mph.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 6.372/105.39, Now #21; Best prior run: 4.240/295.66, Was #20
Right Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 4.156/296.83, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.457/204.23, Was #22

Both teams here are looking to make a move up the ladder, the only problem is applying the horsepower to the track. Toliver starts hazing the tires about 400ft, Bartone is on a great run but puts a few holes out right at the finish-line which really hurt his ET.

Jerry Toliver's incremental times: 60ft-0.931 sec., 330ft-2.492, 660ft-4.295/117.62mph.
Tony Bartone's incremental times: 60ft-0.922 sec., 330ft-2.362, 660ft-3.345/262.59mph.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.191/291.01, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.121/300.60, Was #13
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 5.031/162.76, Now #22; Best prior run: 4.430/266.74, Was #22

Wilkerson is in the show. Gilbertson is trying to bump out Tony Pedregon. Gilbertson is the local boy in Funny Car as he is from Charlotte. Wilkerson makes a very nice run but he won't improve. Gilbertson looked good early but the engine started to fail about half track, and then it all goes to smoke. NHRA are rolling the trucks in Gilbertson lane.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.158/300.06, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.117/299.73, Was #10
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.162/297.29, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.157/299.33, Was #18

It all comes down to this, Force is not in the show, it's all up to him in this run. Someone that is in the Countdown for the championship will not be racing on Sunday, here at the first race in the Countdown to 1. Force makes a very good run, but he will not race on Sunday. This is the first time since the final race in the 1981 season and the first race in 1982 that John Force has not qualified in back-to-back races. Force will leave zMax Dragway in a up hill battle for the championship.

Ron Capps' incremental times: 60ft-0.908 sec., 330ft-2.351, 660ft-3.344/258.37mph.
John Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.904 sec., 330ft-2.345, 660ft-3.340/256.26mph.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 4.181/292.01, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.108/296.18, Was #9
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.153/301.00, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.134/299.40, Was #16

Everybody left to run will be with us on Sunday. Tony lays down a really nice run here in the heat of the day. Densham is no slouch in the other lane.

Gary Densham's incremental times: 60ft-0.911 sec., 330ft-2.363, 660ft-3.358/257.24mph.
Tony Pedregon's incremental times: 60ft-0.913 sec., 330ft-2.351, 660ft-3.343/260.46mph.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.359/219.26, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.100/304.53, Was #7
Right Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 6.765/104.14, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.131/304.19, Was #15

Arend was looking good but then his car got out of the groove and strikes the tires, Troxel was trucking along then the pipes on her machine went wet.

Left Lane: Jim Head Runs 4.470/218.19, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.089/303.57, Was #6
Right Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.162/297.68, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.123/301.67, Was #14

Head is always a contender when he comes to the races. Scelzi makes very good run and puts up solid numbers. Head though looked good until about 900ft and then BOOM!. NHRA is rolling all the equipment to clean this one up.

Jim Head's incremental times: 60ft-0.933 sec., 330ft-2.410, 660ft-3.468/239.06mph.
Gary Scelzi's incremental times: 60ft-0.920 sec., 330ft-2.354, 660ft-3.344/258.67mph.

Left Lane: Ashley Force Runs 4.167/299.93, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.075/307.02, Was #4
Right Lane: Bob Tasca III Runs 4.796/171.53, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.119/299.66, Was #12

About 6 minutes of cleanup. As we are right now Ashley will be facing off against Wilkerson in the first round if nothing changes in the qualifying order. Force makes a very nice run and she keeps her foot in it all the way. Tasca was good early but hazes the tires at around 500ft.

Ashley Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.920 sec., 330ft-2.358, 660ft-3.353/256.94mph.

Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.129/301.87, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.118/300.86, Was #11

Worsham has decided not to run this session, which will give Beckman a single. Beckman puts down the quickest run of the session, he will go into tomorrow knowing he can run really well in the heat of the day.

Jack Beckman's incremental times: 60ft-0.908 sec., 330ft-2.337, 660ft-3.320/260.81mph.

Left Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.161/298.27, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.072/300.33, Was #2
Right Lane: Mike Neff Runs 4.157/300.26, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.104/304.46, Was #8

The four remaining cars just watch Beckman run the quickest run of the session in front of them, they now know where the bar has been set. Both make very nice looking runs for this session.

Robert Hight's incremental times: 60ft-0.917 sec., 330ft-2.351, 660ft-3.344/257.78mph.
Mike Neff's incremental times: 60ft-0.918 sec., 330ft-2.355, 660ft-3.346/260.06mph.

Left Lane: Frank Hawley Runs 14.704/38.63, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.072/307.16, Was #1
Right Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.138/300.00, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.087/303.43, Was #5

Our final pair of the session. Hawley is only 1 for 3 this weekend getting down the track. The last time Hawley qualified #1 was Denver in 1983. Hawley breaks off the line, Cruz makes a great run and he will go into Sunday in the 5th spot. Hawley stays #1 and for that he gets to race the defending world champ in Tony Pedregon. We get word that Hawley broke and oiled the track down.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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