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Sun, 22 Apr 2018, 13:05 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Bob Orme





BAYTOWN, Texas - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals:

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    5 Matt Hagan                             28 Ron Capps                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.101  3.951 311.49                     0.048  4.152 245.81
 Qualified:             #3  3.913 308.78                       #14  4.077 305.77
11:28 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 66 degrees, relative humidity 72 percent, barometer 29.98 inches, adjusted altitude 1,065 feet, track temperature 76 degrees.

Matt Hagan was the 2010 winner here. Ron Capps has won here four times and he is the defending event champion. This (#14) starting spot is the lowest for Ron since Sonoma in 2009, 198 races ago. Capps is 29 - 21 against Hagan in prior events.

This was a good looking drag race until Capps' engine went silent at about 700 feet.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    1 Robert Hight                          499 Todd Simpson                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.114  3.878 322.42                           No Time      
 Qualified:             #1  3.894 317.27                       #16  4.318 288.33
Robert Hight was the champion here in 2005 and 2014 and he was the runner-up last year.

Simpson's team had a problem with the starter and he couldn't get the engine fired.

Hight runs low ET and top speed of the weekend on this solo pass. Robert Hight's incremental times: 60ft-0.865 sec., 330ft-2.231, 660ft-3.131/285.59 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    3 Courtney Force                        717 Jeff Diehl                   
E1                   0.089  5.944 131.25     ****WINNER****  0.137  4.133 293.35
 Qualified:             #2  3.911 295.14                       #15  4.151 283.49
Courtney Force was the winner here in 2016. This is the 60th start for Jeff Diehl. The #15 FC qualifier has won once here in round one in the last ten years. Force is 5 - 1 against Diehl in prior events.

Force had traction problems on the launch and she could only watch Diehl drive away from her.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    4 Jack Beckman                         7900 Richard Townsend             
E1   ****WINNER****  0.072  4.125 317.12                     0.096  4.186 298.93
 Qualified:             #4  3.918 314.31                       #13  4.026 308.99
Jack Beckman's 378 round wins are tied for the 26th most among all pro drivers. He has been the runner-up here three times. Richard Townsend is making his 2nd start. His first was at Pomona where he beat Jack in the first round.

Both drivers had to pedal it early and Beckman made a better recovery for the win. Jack Beckman's incremental margins: 60ft(0.053), 330 ft(0.019), 660ft(0.052). MOV: 0.0851 seconds (approximately 37 feet).


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   71 Cruz Pedregon                         750 Del Worsham                  
E1                   0.109  6.032 116.63     ****WINNER****  0.101  4.009 310.20
 Qualified:             #5  3.918 301.94                       #12  4.017 307.51
Del Worsham was won this race in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Mike Dunn is the only other driver to have done that. Cruz Pedregon has a pair of wins at this race. Pedregon is 27 - 16 against Worsham in prior events.

Pedregon pedaled it right after the hit and he was off the throttle before the 330-foot mark. Worsham made a smooth pass for the win, and he'll have lane choice over Beckman in round two.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    8 Tim Wilkerson                         333 Shawn Langdon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.100  4.351 283.85                     0.057  7.418  93.67
 Qualified:             #6  3.925 311.41                       #11  3.994 297.94
Tim Wilkerson won here in 2004 and was the runner-up in 2013 & 2016. Shawn Langdon is the 68th driver to face Tim Wilkerson in eliminations. This is the first time Wilkerson and Langdon have faced each other in eliminations.

Langdon was up in smoke on the launch. He tried to pedal through it, without success. Wilkerson's engine was not happy from half track through the finish. He'll give lane choice to Hagan in round two.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    6 Tommy Johnson Jr.                     373 J.R. Todd                    
E1                   0.088  3.989 309.49     ****WINNER****  0.051  3.955 321.73
 Qualified:             #7  3.926 313.00                       #10  3.989 308.85
Coming into eliminations Tommy Johnson is tied with Jack Beckman for 26th place on the all-time pro win list with 378 round wins. Johnson Jr. is 3 - 0 against Todd in prior events.

This was a good looking drag race! Both drivers were straight down the groove with all of the candles lit. Todd will have lane choice over Diehl in round two.

J.R. Todd's incremental margins: 60ft(0.030), 330 ft(0.040), 660ft(0.049). MOV: 0.0713 seconds (approximately 32 feet).

Tommy Johnson Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.894 sec., 330ft-2.286, 660ft-3.213/276.52 mph. J.R. Todd's incremental times: 60ft-0.901 sec., 330ft-2.283, 660ft-3.201/281.42 mph.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  801 Jonnie Lindberg                        77 Bob Tasca III                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.106  3.958 313.22                     0.093  4.449 248.71
 Qualified:             #8  3.927 316.52                        #9  3.938 314.09
Lindberg is 1 - 0 against Tasca III in prior events.

Tasca struck the tires at about 500 feet and his day was done. Lindberg made a solid pass, but he'll have to give lane choice to Hight in round two. Jonnie Lindberg's incremental times: 60ft-0.885 sec., 330ft-2.269, 660ft-3.191/277.77 mph.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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