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Sun, 23 Feb 2014, 13:59 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By David Gerard

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 30th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals:

    3 Jack Beckman                            2 Matt Hagan                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.091  4.057 312.71                     0.093  4.135 306.53
 Qualified:             #6  4.055 314.09                       #11  4.091 309.63
11:22 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 69 degrees, relative humidity 27 percent, barometer 28.79 inches, adjusted altitude 2,352 feet, track temperature 90 degrees.

Jack Beckman has won 20 percent of his Mello Yello Series titles - three of 15 - over the past nine years here at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. He owns titles there from 2008, 2010 and 2011. He is 4-0 against Mat Hagan in round-one races. Matt Hagan is coming off of a runner-up finish at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season-opener two weeks ago in Pomona, Calif., and is returning to the site of one of his four runner-up finishes from the 2013 season.

The left lane was favored by the TF'ers in round one and Beckman continues the trend. Just 0.002 difference in RT's at the green and the Valvoline Max Life Charger pulls steadily ahead all the way down the track for the win.

Jack Beckman's incremental margins: 60ft(0.017), 330 ft(0.049), 660ft(0.066). MOV: 0.0804 seconds (approximately 36 feet).

Jack Beckman's incremental times: 60ft-0.882 sec., 330ft-2.301, 660ft-3.275/265.85 mph.
Matt Hagan's incremental times: 60ft-0.897 sec., 330ft-2.348, 660ft-3.339/261.12 mph.

  750 Del Worsham                             7 Courtney Force               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.098  4.121 303.03                     0.122  4.499 291.95
 Qualified:             #5  4.051 316.67                       #12  4.096 304.94
Worsham has defeated Force in both prior first round encounters. Worsham is 6 - 1 against Force in prior events.

Force is second off the line and then has to do a quick pedal before the 330 lights to let the tires catch up with the car.. It a good job, but Worsham was long gone for the easy win.

He runs to the lights without issue.

Del Worsham's incremental margins: 60ft(0.021), 330 ft(0.219), 660ft(0.355). MOV: 0.4027 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Del Worsham's incremental times: 60ft-0.894 sec., 330ft-2.333, 660ft-3.319/261.78 mph.
Courtney Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.891 sec., 330ft-2.528, 660ft-3.650/238.43 mph.

   33 Tommy Johnson Jr.                      72 Tony Pedregon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.088  4.095 313.37                     0.082  6.848  92.26
 Qualified:             #2  4.029 316.08                       #15  4.247 290.19
Tommy Johnson Jr. won his seventh national event trophy by defeating drag racing legend John Force in the final round in 2006. He was also the runner-up here in 1988 in the Top Alcohol Funny Car category. The last time these two met was in Dallas in 2007. Pedregon has a 5-3 advantage in first round face-offs. Pedregon is 12 - 11 against Johnson Jr. in prior events.

The left lane is still working well and Johnson gets the easy win with big numbers, as Pedregon's tires are smoking before the 330 lights. He pumps the pedal to no avail.

Tommy Johnson Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.902 sec., 330ft-2.342, 660ft-3.316/266.74 mph.

  719 Jeff Diehl                              1 John Force                   
E1                         No Time           ****WINNER****  0.131  7.501  94.53
 Qualified:            #16  5.654 128.26                        #1  3.990 317.79
John Force hasn't won in the desert of Arizona since 2005 but he does have eight wins at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. He now has six final round appearances in a row (one short of his personal best finals streak). John Force is 1-0 against Jeff Diehl. Jeff is one of 56 drivers that John has faced who have never beaten him..This is just the third time in his career that John Force has been the top qualifier at the first two races of the season. Team Force picks the right lane, bucking the odds, but he gets a free pass to round two when Diehl is shut off with a fuel leak, going up to stage.

Force was there for the taking, as the big slicks are spinning hard right after the tree. Diehl's team throws up their hands in disgust!

With that ET, Force is likely to be in the right lane next round too!

    5 Robert Hight                            4 Cruz Pedregon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.098  4.484 262.69                     0.056  4.903 241.15
 Qualified:             #3  4.030 314.24                       #14  4.130 299.33
Robert Hight will try and pick up his second win at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. In 2012 Hight beat teammate Mike Neff in the final. This is Cruz Pedregon's 450th race. Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon are 6-6 in their round-one meetings. Hight is 18 - 11 against Pedregon in prior events.

Pedregon gets a small starting line advantage and then has the tires smoking after the tree. Hight looked to have an easy win going until his Mustang spins before the 660 lights. Both drives are pumping, but Hight has the momentum to stay out in front for the win.

He gives up lane choice to Beckman in round two.

  771 Alexis DeJoria                        170 Jeff Arend                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.102  4.065 309.27                     0.092  4.105 305.49
 Qualified:             #4  4.048 309.27                       #13  4.120 303.16
DeJoria and Arend have one win each in round one.

Arend is away first and holds his own with his best pass of the weekend. DeJoria's car has the power and quickly out in front and slowly ahead for the close win. The Camry's parachutes don't deploy, but this track is long and she gets the car stopped without issues. She will race teammate, Worsham with lane choice in round two.

Alexis DeJoria's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.003), 330 ft(0.005), 660ft(0.019). MOV: 0.0303 seconds (approximately 14 feet).

Alexis DeJoria's incremental times: 60ft-0.891 sec., 330ft-2.312, 660ft-3.280/268.22 mph.
Jeff Arend's incremental times: 60ft-0.904 sec., 330ft-2.327, 660ft-3.309/262.69 mph.

   10 Tim Wilkerson                        3111 Chad Head                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.112  4.263 266.95                     0.106  4.401 211.46
 Qualified:             #7  4.066 308.35                       #10  4.089 306.05
Chad Head, driving in his sophomore season, has only raced at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports facility once driving his family nostalgia funny car and will debut this weekend his NHRA Head Racing Toyota Camry in the WSM Auctioneers colors of green, yellow, and black. This is Tim Wilkerson's 375th race. This is the first time Wilkerson and Head have faced each other in eliminations.

Head gets a small head start at the green and they are right together at the sixty foot mark. Wilkerson starts to pull steadily ahead until Head's engine drops a hole. The Mustang is nest and they are both pumping. Wilkerson stays out in front for the win, but gives up lane choice to TJ later.

Tim Wilkerson's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.000), 330 ft(0.003), 660ft(0.019). MOV: 0.1328 seconds (approximately 41 feet).

Tim Wilkerson's incremental times: 60ft-0.889 sec., 330ft-2.318, 660ft-3.331/240.04 mph.
Chad Head's incremental times: 60ft-0.895 sec., 330ft-2.327, 660ft-3.356/235.02 mph.

   77 Bob Tasca III                          28 Ron Capps                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.088  4.090 312.42                     0.099  4.411 260.66
 Qualified:             #8  4.078 306.60                        #9  4.079 312.78
Ron Capps who holds the track elapsed time record of 4.023 seconds set in February 2009 and he is the defending event champion. He is 9-3 against Tasca in round one match ups. Capps is 15 - 8 against Tasca III in prior events.

Tasca gets a small advantage at the green, but Capps is out in front before sixty feet. They swap positions again before the 330 lights, as Capps has to do a quick pedal slap. He's pulling hard and kicks the tires again.

Tasca makes a clean pass from start to finish to keep lane choice going into round two, where he will face Force's Mustang.

Bob Tasca III's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.004), 330 ft(0.072), 660ft(0.220). MOV: 0.3325 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Bob Tasca III's incremental times: 60ft-0.904 sec., 330ft-2.330, 660ft-3.307/265.80 mph.
Ron Capps' incremental times: 60ft-0.889 sec., 330ft-2.391, 660ft-3.516/234.37 mph.

11:54 a.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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