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Sun, 28 Sep 2008, 12:58 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Dave Rowe

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 21st annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals presented by Pennzoil:

  347 Tim Wilkerson                         507 Melanie Troxel               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.115  4.186 295.21                     0.104  4.672 238.30
 Qualified:            #11  4.154 300.40                        #6  4.117 302.28
11:28 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 83 degrees, relative humidity 42 percent, barometer 29.80 inches, adjusted altitude 2,340 feet, track temperature 103 degrees.

This is the first time Wilkerson and Troxel have faced each other in eliminations. Troxel won here in Top Fuel in '07. Wilkerson was the runner-up here in '04.

Troxel got out in front off the line, started pulling away, then struck the tires about 300 feet out and had to give up on the run. Wilkerson drove around Troxel just past the 330 foot mark, then started mixing up cylinders about 900 feet out.Tim Wilkerson's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.018), 330 ft(-0.015), 660ft(0.272). MOV: 0.4752 seconds (more than 100 feet).

    5 Jack Beckman                            1 Tony Pedregon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.070  4.173 292.39                     0.069  4.186 293.92
 Qualified:             #5  4.113 291.89                       #12  4.158 292.77
This is a big matchup, numbers two and three in the points chase. Beckman was the runner-up here last year. Pedregon won this race in '02.

They leave the line together, then Pedregon gets the early advantage at the 60 foot mark. Beckman starts to make up ground quickly, pulling out in front at the 330. About 800 feet out, both cars get out of the groove, Beckman moving to the left, Pedregon to the right, then Beckman hangs on and takes the close win.

Jack Beckman's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.015), 330 ft(0.012), 660ft(0.017). MOV: 0.0126 seconds (approximately 5 feet).

 1777 Bob Tasca III                          10 Ashley Force                 
E1                   0.085  4.219 292.08     ****WINNER****  0.089  4.128 298.47
 Qualified:            #16  4.197 291.95                        #1  4.079 298.87
Another good race, Force and Tasca come off the line together. Force starts to pull away and extends her lead all the way down the track.

  729 Jerry Toliver                          71 Cruz Pedregon                
E1                   0.102  4.143 298.21     ****WINNER****  0.083  4.131 297.94
 Qualified:             #2  4.093 301.40                       #15  4.194 288.89
Cruz Pedregon was the runner-up here at this race in both '97 and '98. He is 70 points back in the countdown and really needs this win.

This was another good one. Pedregon gets out of the gate first and starts to pull away. Toliver makes up a little ground early then falls back again. Cruz goes on to take the win with the second quickest run of the round so far.

   33 Tommy Johnson Jr.                       7 John Force                   
E1                   0.086  4.416 241.20     ****WINNER****  0.085  4.157 298.27
 Qualified:            #14  4.167 296.50                        #3  4.105 300.26
John Force has five wins and one runner-up at this race. Johnson has won here twice, in Top Fuel in '94 and in Funny Car in '99.

Johnson and Force leave together, then Force starts to pull away. Johnson steadily loses ground, then hazes the tires about 500 feet out and has to give up on the run.

  170 Jeff Arend                           7701 Mike Neff                    
E1                   0.139  4.156 297.94     ****WINNER****  0.078  4.171 297.22
 Qualified:            #13  4.162 295.79                        #4  4.113 297.42
Arend is 1 - 0 against Neff in prior events. Neff gets a big jump out of the gate. Arend starts to make up ground, a .907 60 foot time to Neff's .932, but he never gets any closer and Neff goes on to take the hole-shot win.

   28 Ron Capps                               2 Robert Hight                 
E1                   0.105  4.175 292.20     ****WINNER****  0.069  4.125 297.48
 Qualified:            #10  4.146 291.76                        #7  4.122 285.95
Hight has qualified number one here for the last three years. Capps won this race in '00. Hight started out this morning 49 points behind the leader in the points chase.

Hight makes an impressive run, getting out of the gate first, then makes the quickest pass of the session so far and pulls away for the win.

    3 Gary Scelzi                           782 Gary Densham                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.092  4.193 293.73                     0.129  4.160 292.14
 Qualified:             #8  4.131 295.08                        #9  4.138 291.45
Scelzi has won this race twice, in '00 in Top Fuel and '07 in Funny Car. Densham won his first race here in '01. Scelzi is 8 - 7 against Densham in prior events.

Scelzi gets off the line first, then Densham makes up the difference quickly. They were glued together from the 330 foot mark to the finish line, Scelzi just inching ahead just before they go through the lights.

Gary Scelzi's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.005), 330 ft(-0.001), 660ft(-0.001). MOV: 0.0041 seconds (approximately 21 inches).

In the next round it will be Ashley Force with lane choice over Scelzi, Neff vs. Beckman, Hight vs. Cruz Pedregon, and John Force with lane choice over Wilkerson.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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