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Sun, 2 Sep 2001, 12:31 PM

INDY - Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #4
By Larry Sullivan

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 4 qualifying in Funny Car at the 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time/top speed this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:

Left Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 5.308/246.39, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.756/325.69, Was #1
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 5.642/186.98, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.822/312.35, Was #3

12:30 PM The first four pairs in this session are the Budweiser Shootout cars, the results of that contest reported separately. Capps' crew just made it here as part of the first pair in the Shootout, the team returning to the pits instead of going to the starting line after driver introductions for some reason. Bazemore is running the new body, with the additional longitudinal plates, again for this run. In addition to the two vertical plates, parallel to the spill plates, the two outside spoiler segments have a strip of metal along the top, making them taller than the center segment. Both cars posted low nineties over the first 60 feet and both started smoking the tires at half track, about where the concrete ends. Both drivers pedaled, Bazemore getting it hooked up better but also damaging the engine, leaving a reddish-brown cloud over the left lane.

Left Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 5.227/272.67, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.832/318.47, Was #4
Right Lane: Bruce Sarver Runs 5.368/236.59, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.892/306.33, Was #12

Another pedaling contest after low-nineties short times, the track in full sunshine and apparently very slick.

Left Lane: Del Worsham Runs 10.942/84.51, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.843/316.08, Was #7
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.863/316.23, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.810/315.56, Was #2

Worsham lost traction immediately. Force went smoothly down the groove, no wiggles, no tire smoke. His engine started mixing the cylinders up on the top end, in the lights.

Left Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 5.188/248.02, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.880/311.34, Was #10
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.842/313.58, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.902/309.84, Was #14

Skuza was with Pedregon to 330 feet and then the Castrol Syntec Mustang started to pull away. Skuza briefly smoked the tires at half track, but Pedregon's run was even better than Force's, with no signs of engine damage on the top end, moving Pedregon into the top half of the field.

Left Lane: Bob Bode Runs 4.995/304.12, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.613/214.38, Was #22

Bode's company makes plastic bags - it says so on the side of his car. He made a very good run here, but this is Indy and the field is already close to being the quickest ever, the bump time Al Hofmann's 4.905.

Left Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 6.032/141.73, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.852/309.20, Was #10

The Budweiser Shootout pairings messed up the qualifying pairings, so we will have a few single runs. Cannon's car was on a pretty good run, but the engine may have been too lean, popping the supercharger and sending the relief panel in the hood sailing high in the air. Cannon's problem also left a bunch of oil on the track, in the shutdown area.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 4.960/287.72, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.369/265.74, Was #21
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 12.281/80.85, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.891/309.63, Was #12

Wilkerson was up in smoke almost immediately. Toliver was on a good pass, getting away with an aggressive launch (0.876 60-foot time) and running 3.306 seconds at 242.45 mph at half track before starting to smoke the tires - quicker than both Force and Tony Pedregon. He pedaled and continued, but the loss of traction hurt both ET and speed.

Left Lane: John Lawson Runs 5.074/255.53, Now #21; Best prior run: 5.584/197.59, Was #22
Right Lane: Gary Densham Runs 6.761/128.49, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.836/319.52, Was #6

These two were side-by-side to 330 feet and then Densham started smoking the tires. Lawson held on to complete the run, his car falling off the pace on the top end.

Left Lane: Chuck Beal No Time, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.190/272.17, Was #22
Right Lane: Chuck Etchells Runs 5.138/282.78, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.904/312.86, Was #15

Beal was up in smoke immediately. Etchells' car was very slow off the line, posting a 0.951 60-foot time, and was sluggish all the way through the run.

Left Lane: Jim Epler Runs 4.927/308.99, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.893/300.93, Was #14
Right Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 10.423/85.50, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.056/297.68, Was #20

Epler's 35th anniversary Camaro paint scheme is his eleventh of the year - the collectible folks are getting out of hand!! Creasy had a spectacular blower explosion in the first round, but fortunately the Craftsman Tool body wasn't damaged much. Creasy was up in smoke early in the run. Epler made an uneventful journey down the groove, a safe run for the conditions.

Left Lane: Al Hofmann Runs 4.992/299.33, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.905/305.70, Was #16
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 4.907/305.77, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.951/302.96, Was #17

The guy in the right lane wanted to bump out the guy in the left lane - or at least run quickly enough to better Hofmann's ET and get in the field. Both cars went safely down the track, but Gilbertson came up just 0.002 seconds short of that goal. Hofmann's run was also a clean one, with an aggressive launch (a 0.884 60-foot time), the car laying down a bit on the top end.

Left Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.823/315.12, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.835/312.06, Was #5
Right Lane: Johnny Gray Runs 5.769/166.58, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.852/311.70, Was #9

TJ not only overcomes the conditions, he runs a career-best elapsed time in the heat of the day, easily the best of the round! Gray was even quicker than Johnson, but only to 330 feet, then he smoked the tires.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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