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Sun, 7 Sep 2003, 01:13 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Rick Green

CLERMONT, Ind. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals:

    9 Dean Skuza                              2 Tony Pedregon
E1   ****WINNER****  0.082  4.941 261.72                     0.070  5.499 226.62
 Qualified:             #6  4.805 311.41                       #11  4.823 318.02
Current weather conditions: 73 degrees, 52 percent relative humidity, the barometer 30.12 inches, with a track temperature of 104 degrees under sunny skies.

Skuza has 10 starts here at Indy with a semifinal as a best finish. Skuza has the Meatloaf body on it after burning up the other body yesterday. Tony Pedregon holds 23 to 8 advantage over Skuza in head to head to match ups. Pedregon is looking to collect the $50,000 bonus if he can win the event today.

Pedregon with the starting line advantage and then he strikes the tires around 400 feet and Skuza drives around him. Then Skuza dropped some cylinders at 1000 feet and got loose, but held on for the win.

No double up here for Pedregon

    4 Gary Densham                          340 Bob Bode
E1   ****WINNER****  0.090  4.812 321.58                     0.107  4.948 304.94
 Qualified:             #4  4.786 320.97                       #13  4.853 283.25
Densham has only two round wins at Indy. This is Bode's first Indy start.

Densham is out of the gate first and then skates around a little around half track, but holds on for the win. Bode was straight down the groove just didn't have enough for him.

    1 John Force                              3 Del Worsham
E1   ****WINNER****  0.059  4.969 296.89                     0.080  7.428 151.66
 Qualified:             #1  4.759 307.72                       #16  4.873 305.91
This is Force's 22nd start in Indy and his first start was in 1980. He has a 35 to 12 advantage over Worsham in head to head meetings. The last time Worsham qualified 16th was this year in St. Louis and he went on to win the race.

Force with a starting line advantage and then just drove away when Worsham was up in smoke as soon as he hits the throttle. He pedaled it one time but was back up in smoke and then lifted.

   20 Gary Scelzi                           347 Tim Wilkerson
E1                   0.102  4.968 299.80     ****WINNER****  0.076  4.829 321.27
 Qualified:             #2  4.764 325.53                       #15  4.860 319.52
Scelzi has been to the finals in Top Alcohol Dragster in 1986 and won in Top Fuel in 1998. Wilkerson was runner-up in 1997.

Wilkerson with the starting line advantage and then keep the candles lit and the Goodyears stuck all the way through the 1320 to take the win light. This is a career best mph pass here for Wilkerson. Scelzi had hole out as soon as he hit the throttle and never did get it to pick back up.

    5 Whit Bazemore                          71 Cruz Pedregon
E1                   0.069  4.886 316.67     ****WINNER****  0.061  4.887 313.88
 Qualified:             #3  4.767 323.74                       #14  4.859 317.87
Bazemore is a two-time winner here, but had the disappointing DNQ last year. Cruz has won Indy three times and hold a 16-15 advantage over Bazemore.

Cruz with a slight starting line advantage and that was all he needed to hold on to take the hole shot win. Cruz Pedregon's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.004), 330 ft(0.017), 660ft(0.009), 1,000ft(-0.028). MOV: 0.0075 seconds (approximately 3 feet).

  503 Tommy Johnson Jr.                      73 Frank Pedregon
E1   ****WINNER****  0.075  4.905 307.30                     0.105  5.616 176.17
 Qualified:             #5  4.788 318.92                       #12  4.843 313.80
Johnson Jr has raced here in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and he first raced at Indy in 1991. Frank Pedregon has a 6-2 advantage over Johnson Jr in head to head match ups.

Johnson Jr with a starting line advantage and great looking pass until around 1200 feet when the engine started eating itself up. Frank Pedregon was mixing up cylinders and early and lost traction around 300 feet and pedal it but couldn't get it to hook up.

   28 Ron Capps                              21 Scotty Cannon
E1                   0.072  4.928 306.88     ****WINNER****  0.059  4.903 311.34
 Qualified:             #7  4.813 319.52                       #10  4.822 316.60
This is eighth consecutive Indy start for Capps and he has a 6 to 2 advantage over Cannon. Cannon has not won a round here since 1999.

Cannon is out of the gate first and never looked back to take the win by about a car length.

  156 Phil Burkart                           10 Johnny Gray
E1                   0.093  4.879 314.61     ****WINNER****  0.054  4.914 304.39
 Qualified:             #8  4.813 317.42                        #9  4.821 321.27
Burkart is having a career best weekend resetting his best twice this weekend.

Gray with a big starting line advantage and the power to hold off the hard charging Burkart by about two feet for the hole shot win.

Gray will give up lane choice to Force, Densham will have lane choice over Johnson Jr, Wilkerson will get to pick over Cannon, and Cruz Pedregon will have his choice over Skuza in the next round.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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