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Fri, 12 Nov 2010, 07:54 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #2
By Larry Sullivan

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 2 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, 46th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals 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: James Day No Time, Now #20; No Prior Run

3:41 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 75 degrees, relative humidity 22 percent, barometer 29.09 inches, adjusted altitude 2,337 feet, track temperature 88 degrees.

This was Day's first attempted trip down the track this weekend and it ended quickly with a big BOOM that lifted the body and sent the relief hatch sailing high in the air. A trail of fluid ran across the track after the car stopped, but it dried quickly, either fire extinguisher fluid or fuel.

Left Lane: Grant Downing Runs 5.243/142.57, Now #8; Best prior run: 9.843/59.54, Was #19

Downing's first qualifying attempt, yesterday, ended in tire shake that deployed his chutes.

This one looked good for about 400 feet, then the car started losing traction and he clicked it off.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson No Time, Now #19; Best prior run: 8.724/82.51, Was #18
Right Lane: Bob Bode Runs 4.153/293.66, Now #3; Best prior run: 9.276/84.65, Was #19

Bode made a very good run and moved way into the field. Wilkerson's car dropped a cylinder (or two) early and then the engine went BANG with a big fireball under the car and a visible trail of oil as he fought to bring the car to a halt, with visible flames and heavy black smoke from under the car. Wilkerson got out quickly and the Safety Safari got the fire under control, but the body was toasted and the crew will have a lot of work to do to get ready for tomorrow. Under the Pomona oildown rules, Wilkerson loses the run, a 4.290 at 273.33 mph.

Bob Bode's incremental times: 60ft-0.898 sec., 330ft-2.337, 660ft-3.335/256.94 mph.

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 4.128/298.67, Now #1; Best prior run: 7.136/85.85, Was #17
Right Lane: Terry Haddock No Time, Now #18; Best prior run: 8.401/84.16, Was #18

Haddock dropped a cylinder or two on the left side and 'went bowling for cones," taking out the 660-foot timing blocks (both of them). Pedregon made a nice run to take over the #1 spot on the qualifying list.

Cruz Pedregon's incremental times: 60ft-0.900 sec., 330ft-2.330, 660ft-3.324/259.01 mph.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 6.438/98.77, Now #16; Best prior run: 7.119/86.47, Was #17
Right Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 7.673/79.99, Now #17; Best prior run: 6.521/96.73, Was #16

Oh-for-two. Arend's candles went out quickly, could not see why, and Capps lost traction a couple hundred feet out.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 5.343/147.05, Now #12; Best prior run: 6.311/119.44, Was #15
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.114/307.93, Now #1; Best prior run: 6.275/101.87, Was #14

Densham pedaled twice before giving it up as a bad idea. Meanwhile, Worsham went right down the groove and right to the head of the list.

Del Worsham's incremental times: 60ft-0.897 sec., 330ft-2.327, 660ft-3.318/261.17 mph.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 5.585/134.94, Now #15; Best prior run: 5.660/139.95, Was #14
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.179/296.57, Now #8; Best prior run: 5.795/116.33, Was #15

Densham's run put him on the bump spot for the provisional 12-car field.

Troxel's run looked a lot like Densham's, the car losing traction, the driver pedaling, the car losing traction again, the driver pedaling again, then the header flames going out. Meanwhile, pedregon managed to get to the other end without any serious problems, bumping Densham. Now Grant Downing is on the bump spot at 5.243.

Left Lane: Bob Tasca III Runs 5.381/134.00, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.190/290.38, Was #9
Right Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.080/312.35, Now #1; Best prior run: 5.560/125.06, Was #14

Tasca was in this one for about 400 feet, then the header flames went out. Meanwhile, Hight made his best run in awhile, right down the groove, and he went to the top of the list.

Robert Hight's incremental times: 60ft-0.898 sec., 330ft-2.320, 660ft-3.296/264.80 mph.

Left Lane: Paul Lee Runs 8.787/49.56, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.167/304.39, Was #7
Right Lane: Ashley Force Hood Runs 4.076/309.98, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.982/163.83, Was #12

There was a flash of flame under Lee's car about 100 feet out and the chutes deployed automatically. Force Hood made a pretty run, just a few ticks better than Hight's, and she replaced him at the head of the class.

Ashley Force Hood's incremental times: 60ft-0.890 sec., 330ft-2.306, 660ft-3.285/262.28 mph.

Left Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.981/155.40, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.144/302.82, Was #6
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 9.174/73.61, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.751/172.01, Was #12

Head's car headed for the wall immediately and he had to lift. Beckman got a bit further, started spinning the tires, and he also lifted. Head is on the bump spot, but safe because the only two cars left in the lanes are already qualified.

Left Lane: Matt Hagan Runs 9.397/69.74, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.139/293.86, Was #5
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.085/310.34, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.170/297.68, Was #9

Final pair. Hagan is currently 40 points ahead of Force and wins the tie-breaker, so Force would have to go three rounds farther than Hagan Sunday if he can't nibble into that lead.

Hagan was up in smoke early in the run, Force went right down the groove...but he's only third-quickest of the round, so he only gains one point to cut Hagan's lead back to 39 points. Now it's two round on Sunday...but there are two more qualifying sessions and either of them could still make some big gains before it's over.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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