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Sat, 16 Mar 2013, 17:22 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Michael L. Jex

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Notes from final, round 4 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 44th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals 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: Chad Head Runs 5.683/123.35, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.637/127.79, Was #17
Right Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 5.318/191.95, Now #17; Best prior run: 6.237/123.61, Was #18

4:58 p.m. Track temp is starting to come down - it's 109 degrees for the start of this final session of Funny Car. Jeff Arend currently holds the 16th spot with a 4.463.

These are the only two cars not in the field - We'll likely see some pedaling if traction is lacking. Head didn't was not able to pedal after losing traction in the middle, Creasy pedaled at least a couple of times, but it was not enough to get into the field.

Left Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 4.399/249.81, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.463/262.69, Was #16
Right Lane: Paul Lee Runs 5.553/133.65, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.461/258.37, Was #15

Arend didn't have a very good burnout, but other than dancing around then lifting a little before the finish, it didn't appear to affect him much. He bumps Lee down a spot, so it's Lee that will face the number one qualifier.

Turns out Arend's throttle stop was not working at the start, the reason for the burnout drama.

Left Lane: Blake Alexander Runs 4.115/304.60, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.257/293.92, Was #14
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.815/169.34, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.131/304.67, Was #10

New career best by a thousandth in ET, and a new career best speed to boot for Alexander. Blake Alexander's incremental times: 60ft-0.901 sec., 330ft-2.331, 660ft-3.313/261.47 mph.

Left Lane: Bob Tasca III Runs 4.587/194.52, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.204/302.35, Was #14
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 6.518/95.15, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.120/290.57, Was #8

Pedregon shook and then the two chutes come out about halfway - Tasca lost traction shortly after.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 4.089/312.06, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.137/308.14, Was #13
Right Lane: Robert Hight Runs 4.931/159.31, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.117/308.21, Was #7

The champ continues to improve - whatever changes they made last night are paying off handsomely. Hight hazed the tires just past the halfway point. John Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.913 sec., 330ft-2.336, 660ft-3.305/266.06 mph.

Left Lane: Courtney Force Runs 6.237/106.71, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.132/309.98, Was #13
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 5.295/138.53, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.115/304.94, Was #6

Courtney drifted over toward the wall, lost traction and got off the loud pedal. Capps was off the throttle at just about the same time.

Left Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 5.277/138.40, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.122/302.55, Was #11
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.105/305.49, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.110/309.98, Was #5

Beckman's's Valvoline machine danced around till he started to smoke the tires and he lifted, Worsham made a nice blast in the other lane, but remains in the 5th spot on the ladder.

Left Lane: Alexis DeJoria Runs 4.595/178.95, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.121/306.53, Was #10
Right Lane: Matt Hagan Runs 6.457/99.44, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.084/308.99, Was #3

More tire smoke for both teams... The safety safari truck follows DeJoria down the left lane shutdown area, but drove back out the next gate at the end of the track.

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon No Time, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.047/296.05, Was #1
Right Lane: Johnny Gray Runs 7.786/76.08, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.071/313.22, Was #2

That was different. Pedregon's car didn't move out of the beams, but was still running. He shut it off and climbed out of the car. This is his 51st career #1 qualifying result this weekend, he'll face Paul Lee in round one tomorrow.

Gray hazed, then smoked the tires down track. 5:29 p.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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