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Sun, 12 Nov 2017, 16:17 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Rick Green

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 53rd annual Auto Club NHRA Finals:

    9 Tim Wilkerson                           8 Robert Hight                 
E1                   0.081  9.851  79.25     ****WINNER****  0.048  3.839 332.51
 Qualified:             #2  3.863 331.69                       #15  4.132 236.80
11:24 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 68 degrees, relative humidity 60 percent, barometer 28.95 inches, adjusted altitude 2,339 feet, track temperature 80 degrees.

Robert Hight was the 2007 winner here. He is 9-3 in his first round matches at this event. This is only the 2nd time in his career that Robert has qualified 15th. The other time was in Dallas in 2012 and at that race he faced Tim Wilkerson in round one, just like he is today. He comes into the round with just an eight point lead over Ron Capps, so this is a "Must Win" situation. They have switched back to the traditional "AAA" body this morning. This is the best starting position for Tim Wilkerson since he was #1 at Bristol this year. He already has 430 round appearances with a 51% win record.

Hight goes on to round two with the run he has been looking for all weekend. A huge sigh of relief can be heard from the whole crew!

Wilkerson's tune up was just too strong for the left lane and he is up in smoke at the green.

Robert Hight's incremental times: 60ft-0.868 sec., 330ft-2.219, 660ft-3.114/288.39 mph.

  340 Bob Bode                                2 Tommy Johnson Jr.            
E1                   0.098 36.217   NS       ****WINNER****  0.089  4.047 283.79
 Qualified:            #13  4.037 317.05                        #4  3.887 314.31
Tommy Johnson is the defending event champion and he was runner-up in 2015. Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein are the only FC drivers to have won this event in back-to-back years. Tommy has 300 round wins in his FC career and he is just the 11th driver to win 300 or more rounds in the class. Bob Bode is making his 92st first round appearance in his 111 rounds of racing, with a 15% win record. Johnson Jr. is 2 - 0 against Bode in prior events.

Bode is up in smoke at the green and gives TJ the win. He needed all of that, as the engine gets real unhappy and pushes head gaskets out down track.

Tommy Johnson Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.906 sec., 330ft-2.303, 660ft-3.244/270.92 mph.

  717 Jeff Diehl                              6 Courtney Force               
E1                   0.111 11.132  84.82     ****WINNER****  0.071  4.157 228.23
 Qualified:            #14  4.107 296.31                        #3  3.871 334.57
11:33 a.m. A brief delay, as Bode stops on the track near he 660' lights and has to be pushed away.

Courtney Force was runner-up here in 2012. Her Camaro FC is featuring a special Taylor swift wrap this weekend. Hight's first round win eliminates her from the 2017 Championship. Jeff Diehl is making his 56th Sunday start with just three wins, so far. Force is 4 - 1 against Diehl in prior events.

Looks like the Force Team isn't happy with their left lane choice and call for Diehl to swap positions before starting the engines.

Looks like a smart choice, as Diehl's Solara blows the tires off at the green. Force has her own problems way down track, as she has to do a quick pedal slap to finish the pass.

  170 Jeff Arend                              5 Jack Beckman                 
E1                   0.083 10.678  85.73     ****WINNER****  0.073  3.837 333.74
 Qualified:            #16  4.140 252.90                        #1  3.835 334.98
Jack Beckman is 20 2 in round one when starting from the #1 spot. Since 1999 the top FC qualifier is 18-0 in round one at this event. Jeff Arend already has been in 208 first round races, with a 28% win record. Beckman is 17 - 5 against Arend in prior events.

The left lane claims another victim, as Arend is done right at the green.

Beckman runs close to his best run of the weekend to take the easy win and the quickest pass, so far.

Jack Beckman's incremental times: 60ft-0.860 sec., 330ft-2.208, 660ft-3.109/285.71 mph.

  703 Jim Campbell                          771 Alexis DeJoria               
E1                   0.095 No Time           ****WINNER****  0.086  3.932 331.45
 Qualified:            #12  4.020 315.42                        #5  3.894 331.94
This is the last planned race for Alexis DeJoria, as she announced her retirement earlier this year. Jim Campbell car is featuring a nostalgic yellow "Moon Eyes" wrap. He is making his 34th first round appearance with just over a 21% win record. DeJoria is 2 - 0 against Campbell in prior events.

Four for four in the left lane. Campbell's tires are smoking hard off the line and the engine may have back fired, as the chutes are out early and the car stops on the track.

DeJoria get way down track before her engine starts to get a little unhappy. The run is still good enough for lane choice over JOhnson next round.

Alexis DeJoria's incremental times: 60ft-0.891 sec., 330ft-2.281, 660ft-3.197/283.85 mph.

  750 Del Worsham                             1 Ron Capps                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.077  4.045 306.19                     0.089  4.177 316.52
 Qualified:            #11  3.978 322.65                        #6  3.897 328.22
Del Worsham has won this race in both fuel classes. Ron Capps has 44 round wins against Del and that is the most for him against any opponent. For his career at this event Ron Capps is 20-21 and he is 14-7 in the first round. He come into the first round with only an eight point deficit over points leader, Robert Hight. He has to go one more round that Hight to win the Championship. There is a potential round three matchup for the pair. Capps is 44 - 18 against Worsham in prior events.

Worsham gets a small starting advantage, just 0.004 seconds at sixty feet. He gets a big additional advantage, as Capps' tires start to smoke before the 330 lights. Worsham has a bunch of engine damage in the lights, but will have lane choice over Courtney Force in round two.

Capps did a quick pedal slap and recovered enough to continue the chase, but ran out of track.

Del Worsham's incremental times: 60ft-0.895 sec., 330ft-2.292, 660ft-3.253/266.69 mph.
Ron Capps' incremental times: 60ft-0.887 sec., 330ft-2.398, 660ft-3.407/263.92 mph.

  782 Gary Densham                            3 Matt Hagan                   
E1                         No Time           ****WINNER****  0.154  3.872 332.59
 Qualified:            #10  3.968 319.07                        #7  3.898 333.08
Matt Hagan won this race in 2011, 2013 & 2014. When he went to the final round in Las Vegas he became just the 8th FC driver to have gone to 50 or more final rounds. This would have been the 37th appearance for Gary Densham at this event. His first was in 1979. Matt Hagan was born in 1982. He has 394 career round one appearances with a 35% win record. The body was damaged in yesterday's Boomer and they can't make the call. Hagan is 5 - 1 against Densham in prior events.

Clean and straight from start to finish for Hagan. Densham would of had a tough time beating that run. He just misses lane choice over High in round two by 0.033.

Matt Hagan's incremental times: 60ft-0.875 sec., 330ft-2.231, 660ft-3.141/285.11 mph.

  373 J.R. Todd                               4 John Force                   
E1                   0.078  4.203 310.05     ****WINNER****  0.055  4.178 232.39
 Qualified:             #9  3.946 325.53                        #8  3.935 327.51
John Force has 8 wins and 7 runner-ups at this event. John has never won this race in an odd-number year. J.R. Todd was runner-up here last year in Top Fuel. Todd and Force have each won 1 times against the other in prior events.

Last pair and a wild race!

Like so many others, Todd's tires are smoking early. He skillfully pedals and starts to power back down the track.

Force was away first and looked to have an easy win with big numbers until right after the 660 lights. The engine expired at that point and he was coasting.

Todd's Camry was charging hard and went through the lights almost 80 MPH faster than Force, but couldn't close the deal.

Force gives up lane choice to Beckman in round two.

John Force's incremental margins: 60ft(0.018), 330 ft(0.190), 660ft(0.244). MOV: 0.0488 seconds (approximately 22 feet).

J.R. Todd's incremental times: 60ft-0.882 sec., 330ft-2.419, 660ft-3.418/265.17 mph.
John Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.887 sec., 330ft-2.252, 660ft-3.197/248.48 mph.

11:55 a.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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