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Sun, 27 Apr 2014, 13:01 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

BAYTOWN, Texas - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 27th annual O'Reilly NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries:

    5 Robert Hight                           77 Bob Tasca III                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.066  4.074 313.29                     0.051 12.008  63.19
 Qualified:             #4  4.073 312.42                       #13  4.231 291.45
11:26 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 78 degrees, relative humidity 76 percent, barometer 29.62 inches, adjusted altitude 2,517 feet, track temperature 101 degrees.

Hight is 11 - 5 against Tasca III in prior events, 4 - 2 in round one. Robert Hight won here in 2005.Tasca was up in smoke immediately and he slowly rolled the rest of the way.

   33 Tommy Johnson Jr.                     170 Jeff Arend                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.070  4.114 310.20                     0.060  4.263 292.65
 Qualified:             #3  4.068 312.21                       #14  4.260 288.39
Johnson Jr. is 7 - 1 against Arend in prior events, 6 - 1 in round one. TJ is one of two Funny Car drivers this weekend who have also competed here in a Top Fuel car.

Arend left first, but Johnson led by 60 feet and steadily opened the gap for the win.

  750 Del Worsham                             7 Courtney Force               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.082  4.106 308.07                     0.085  4.113 299.80
 Qualified:             #1  4.051 314.68                       #16  4.413 213.50
Worsham is 3-0 against Courtney Force in round one. Worsham has won this event three times - twice in Funny Car and once in Top Fuel. This is Courtney's third start at this event, with one round win prior to today. This is the 14th time Worsham has been the top qualifier and he has never lost a round-one match when starting from the top spot. This is the first time that Courtney Force has started a race from the last spot in the field.

This was close past 660 feet, then Force's car made a big move toward the wall. Del Worsham's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.001), 330 ft(0.001), 660ft(0.003). MOV: 0.0101 seconds (approximately 4 feet). That was Force's quickest and fastest run of the event, but she came up just short.

    3 Jack Beckman                          121 Terry Haddock                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.098  4.143 300.60                     0.111  5.140 151.12
 Qualified:             #2  4.063 314.09                       #15  4.388 289.20
This is the 18th time Jack Beckman has qualified #2 in the field and that equals the most for him for any starting spot. He is 11 - 6 in round one in his previous starts from the second spot. Terry Haddock is looking for his first round win since St. Louis in 2010, a span of 46 races for him. These two only faced off once before, at last-year's Mile-High Nationals, Beckman getting the win.

Beckman led this one all the way, well ahead when Haddock lost traction around the 660-foot marker.

  771 Alexis DeJoria                         72 Tony Pedregon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.046  4.114 310.27                     0.079  4.148 276.29
 Qualified:             #5  4.076 311.70                       #12  4.213 245.36
DeJoria is 1 - 0 against Pedregon in prior events. DeJoria is making her third start here and got to the semifinals last year, losing to event-winner Cruz Pedregon. This is the first time she has raced Tony Pedregon in a round one pairing. She has won every-other event so far this year.

Close race, the two locked together past the 660-foot timer, then Pedregon's car started hazing the tires and he fell back.

Alexis DeJoria's incremental margins: 60ft(0.029), 330 ft(0.024), 660ft(0.030). MOV: 0.0676 seconds (approximately 27 feet).

DeJoria will not have lane choice against Hight in round two.

   28 Ron Capps                               2 Matt Hagan                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.069  4.073 311.41                     0.058  4.132 305.01
 Qualified:             #6  4.079 310.34                       #11  4.190 288.64
Capps is 16 - 6 against Hagan in prior events. Ron Capps won here in 2006 & 2007 and Matt Hagan won in 2010. Ron has won exactly 500 rounds in the Funny Car class and that is third best in the category behind only John Force (1166) and Tony Pedregon (506).

Capps led this all the way, Hagan slowly losing ground at each timing increment.

Ron Capps' incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.004), 330 ft(0.027), 660ft(0.033). MOV: 0.0482 seconds (approximately 22 feet).

Capps will have lane choice against Johnson in round two.

    1 John Force                              4 Cruz Pedregon                
E1                  -0.121  9.409  69.70     ****WINNER****  0.065  6.234 123.66
 Qualified:             #7  4.112 297.94                       #10  4.137 302.48
Force is 62 - 29 against Pedregon in prior events. John Force has won this race 6 times and Cruz Pedregon is the defending event champion. John is 14 - 8 against Cruz in opening round matches.

Force went way red...amazing! Pedregon was ripe for picking, smoking the tires, but it's still a "W." \He won't have lane choice against Beckman next round.

That is only the 23rd red light for Force in his long career. The last time he left early was in Denver, 2012, in the semifinals.

   10 Tim Wilkerson                        3111 Chad Head                    
E1                   0.121  5.099 150.18     ****WINNER****  0.096  4.110 293.41
 Qualified:             #8  4.118 307.72                        #9  4.119 308.78
Tim Wilkerson won here in 2004. He is 9 - 4 in round one when starting the race from the 8th spot in the field. His round wins in Charlotte gave him 301 for his career and he is only the seventh Funny Car driver in history to have more than 300 round wins. Wilkerson holds a 2-0 record against Head, all in round one matchups. Wilkerson won this event in 2004. Wilkerson is 2 - 0 against Head in prior events.

Wilkerson never led and lost traction before getting to the 660-foot timer. Head made his best run of the event, but won't have lane choice against Worsham next round - by four thousandths.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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