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Sun, 09 Feb 2020, 14:28 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By David Gerard

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by

    5 Bob Tasca III                          28 Ron Capps                    
E1                   0.104  9.056  82.90     ****WINNER****  0.080  5.241 166.52 
 Qualified:            #10  3.940 324.28                        #7  3.911 328.38 
10:36 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 61 degrees, relative humidity 57 percent, barometer 28.72 inches, adjusted altitude 2,048 feet, track temperature 70 degrees.

Ron Capps won here in 1998, 2009 & 2016. He is 22 - 14 against Tasca III in prior events.

Was too much power for both cars.

Tasca's Mustang strikes the slicks right at the green. Right after the 60 foot light's, the NAPA car gets loose and Capps starts to pedal. Tasca sees this and tries to go fast again, but spins some more. Capps is in and out of the throttle multiple times and sideway too. He stays after it for the win.


   33 Tommy Johnson Jr.                      71 Cruz Pedregon                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.073  3.873 324.83                     0.048  4.383 221.42 
 Qualified:             #4  3.881 321.50                       #13  4.038 320.66 
Cruz Pedregon is starting from the #13 spot for the 36th time in his career. He is 10 - 25 in the first round after qualifying 13th. His Charger is sporting a great looking 100th Anniversary Snap-On red and black wrap. Johnson Jr. is 28 - 12 against Pedregon in prior events.

Pedregon get the starting line advantage and immediately drops a cylinder. TJ is quickly on by and pulls steadily ahead for the win. His best pass of the weekend!

Tommy Johnson Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.885 sec., 330ft-2.236, 660ft-3.132/287.23 mph.
Cruz Pedregon's incremental times: 60ft-0.947 sec., 330ft-2.393, 660ft-3.378/245.63 mph.


  121 Terry Haddock                           1 Robert Hight                 
E1                         No Time           ****WINNER****  0.272  8.365  85.58 
 Qualified:            #14  4.106 301.07                        #3  3.862 331.45 
2019 Funny Car Champion, Hight, shows that he is ready for 2020 with a great number three qualifying position. He has 4 wins at this event and he is the defending event champion. Hight is 6 - 0 against Haddock in prior events.

Haddock starts to go in to prestate and the crew gives him the "cut off" sign. Terry Haddock was charged with an oildown, #1 for the season. That will cost 5 points and $500.

Hight gets way lucky, as his Camaro kicks the tire loose and he has to lift and coasts on down the track.

10:45 a.m. Lots of clean up on the starting line.


  700 Steven Densham                          2 Jack Beckman                 
E1                   0.070  7.622  92.71     ****WINNER****  0.067  4.291 294.18 
 Qualified:            #15  4.361 205.35                        #2  3.856 328.86 
10:56 a.m. Back to racing.

Jack Beckman is 27 - 9 in round one after qualifying #2. He started from the 2nd spot last year at this event and made it to the final round. He was runner-up here last year.

Steven Densham, son of long time FC driver Gary Densham, is making his third race start with a 1-1 first round record. This is the first time Densham and Beckman have faced each other in eliminations.

Beckman has lane choice and swaps lanes because of the starting line oil down in the left lane.

Densham's Mustang kicks the tires loose at the hit. He pumps the pedal and then has to give it up.

Beckman gets just a few feet further and quickly catches the spin and recovers. The engine drops cylinders on both banks and finally lights up in the lights. Ugly pass, but good enough for lane choice over Capps next round.

Jack Beckman's incremental times: 60ft-0.861 sec., 330ft-2.398, 660ft-3.458/246.89 mph.


 7492 Alex Miladinovich                    2814 Matt Hagan                   
E1                   0.090  5.859 124.03     ****WINNER****  0.081  3.914 330.39 
 Qualified:            #16  4.554 246.71                        #1  3.841 333.25 
When qualifying #1, Matt Hagan is 33 -3 in the opening round and 2 - 0 in the opening round at the Winternationals. He won here in 2015, 2017 & 2018.

Alex Maldenovic is making his first NHRA start and is the 388th driver to qualify for an NHRA FC field.

Miladinovich is just 0.009 slower in RT from Hagan at the green. Like others in the left lane, the slicks are quickly loose and he is pedaling. He has to give it up earl.y

Hagan runs straight and clean to the finish line for the easy win.

Matt Hagan's incremental times: 60ft-0.861 sec., 330ft-2.252, 660ft-3.174/280.25 mph.


  340 Bob Bode                                4 John Force                   
E1                   0.102 10.726  85.45     ****WINNER****  0.092  3.875 329.02 
 Qualified:            #12  3.984 320.89                        #5  3.889 322.04 
John Force's first race was here in 1977. He has won this race 7 times. He starts the 2020 season in the hunt for a 17th NHRA Funny Car championship. The last time John Force and Bob Bode met in round 1 was at Brainerd last year, and Bode won that encounter.

Bode is making his one hundredth Funny Car start and has an 18% first round win record. Force is 11 - 2 against Bode in prior events.

The left lane continues to bite the competitors, as Bode's Mustang is quickly up in smoke.

Force continues to return to his last seasons power, running his quickest and fastest pass of the weekend in the easy win. He will give up lane choice to Johnson by just 0.002 seconds!

John Force's incremental times: 60ft-0.868 sec., 330ft-2.237, 660ft-3.141/283.91 mph.


  771 Alexis DeJoria                        116 Paul Lee                     
E1   ****WINNER****  0.059  3.922 326.71                     0.081  4.091 240.85 
 Qualified:            #11  3.950 321.19                        #6  3.910 332.92 
DeJoria returns to the 2020 FC season after a two year absence. Rokit Phones and ABK Beer.

Lee qualified in the top eight this weekend and now has Global Electronic Technology sponsorship. This is the first time DeJoria and Lee have faced each other in eliminations.

We almost had our first side by side race to the finish line. Lee gets the starting line advantage. DeJoria just gets the nose of her Camry out in front at the 330 lights. Lee pulls back ahead, but has a Big Bang from the engine at the 660 lights and slows.

Alexis DeJoria's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.019), 330 ft(-0.003), 660ft(0.004). MOV: 0.1915 seconds (approximately 68 feet).

Alexis DeJoria's incremental times: 60ft-0.886 sec., 330ft-2.257, 660ft-3.177/281.13 mph.
Paul Lee's incremental times: 60ft-0.883 sec., 330ft-2.232, 660ft-3.159/258.32 mph.

11:10 a.m. Clean up after the finish line in the right lane.


   10 Tim Wilkerson                         373 J.R. Todd                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.075  3.879 326.79                     0.079  5.983 116.29 
 Qualified:             #9  3.918 322.96                        #8  3.914 327.11 
11:15 a.m. Last pair of the session!

2020 starts 25th season for Wilkerson as a nitro Funny Car. His was the only single-car team in the category to finish in the top 10 in each of the last two seasons. He was runner-up here at the 1998 Winternationals to Ron Capps. He starts the season with the striking 40th anniversary Levi, Ray & Shoup wrap on his Mustang.

This will be Todd's 440th round of professional racing. He already has 152 round one appearances in Funny Car and 148 in TF. His FC record to date is a 58% win record overall and 59% in first round pairings. Todd is 6 - 5 against Wilkerson in prior events.

Wilkerson gets away first with a narrow 0.004 advantage. Todd just gets out in front at the 60 foot lights and then shakes the tires loose. He pedals, but Wilkerson is long gone to makes his best pass of the weekend. That gives him lane choice over Hagan later today.

Tim Wilkerson's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.009), 330 ft(0.205), 660ft(0.944). MOV: 2.1081 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Tim Wilkerson's incremental times: 60ft-0.886 sec., 330ft-2.241, 660ft-3.142/287.29 mph.
J.R. Todd's incremental times: 60ft-0.873 sec., 330ft-2.442, 660ft-4.082/130.27 mph.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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