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Sat, 1 Sep 2001, 08:40 PM

INDY - Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Bob Orme

Baze Blazes!

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 3 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: Chuck Beal Runs 5.190/272.17, Now #16; Best prior run: 15.842/59.23, Was #22

8:26 PM Beal opens round three of Funny Car qualifying with a solo pass. He dropped a cylinder in the lights, but otherwise everything else looked good.

Bob Bode was lined up in the staging lane behind Beal for the next run. When they tried to start the car, it sounded like some of the spark plug wires were hooked up to the wrong plugs. He was pushed out of the lane to come back and try again tomorrow.

Left Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 4.832/318.47, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.872/316.01, Was #8
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 13.292/80.94, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.891/309.63, Was #10

Wilkerson smoked the Goodyears at the 60-foot mark and he shut it off. Pedregon, on a strong pass, records a career best speed and moves way up the ladder.

Left Lane: John Lawson Runs 7.438/95.64, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.584/197.59, Was #20
Right Lane: Johnny Gray Runs 4.852/311.70, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.930/307.23, Was #14

Lawson's engine went silent after mixing up the cylinders as he neared half track. Gray lays down a career best ET and speed here, ending the run with finish line fireworks. He broke a header and a huge trail of sparks followed him into the shut down area.

Left Lane: Al Hofmann Runs 4.905/305.70, Now #15; Best prior run: 5.582/180.33, Was #19
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 4.902/309.84, Now #13; Best prior run: 10.698/80.82, Was #22

A great side-by-side drag race! The cars were glued together all the way down the track. That was Hofmann's fastest speed of this season.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 8.814/92.36, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.369/265.74, Was #20
Right Lane: Chuck Etchells Runs 9.072/111.33, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.904/312.86, Was #14

Both cars lost traction before traveling 100 feet. They both quickly pedaled a couple times then clicked the machines off.

Left Lane: Jim Epler Runs 4.950/269.67, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.893/300.93, Was #12
Right Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 9.057/88.12, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.880/311.34, Was #10

Skuza boiled the hides at 200 feet, the rear of the car moving around on him. Epler's header flames turned green as he neared the finish line and he had several flashes of flames from under the car in the lights.

Left Lane: Bruce Sarver Runs 4.892/306.33, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.915/308.21, Was #16
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 4.951/302.96, Now #17; Best prior run: 5.224/227.77, Was #19

Both cars looked great going down the track. Gilbertson improved on his earlier runs in a large way, yet he still isn't in the show.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 13.002/76.54, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.810/315.56, Was #1
Right Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 5.800/168.58, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.056/297.68, Was #18

Force was loaded for bear, and the result was immediate tire smoke. The candles went out at half track on Creasy's car after a whiff of tire smoke.

Left Lane: Del Worsham No Time, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.843/316.08, Was #6
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.822/312.35, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.862/310.63, Was #9

Worsham was late getting the car started and he was told to hold while Capps took a solo pass.

It was a excellent pass until the finish line, where the engine exploded in a fireball. He drove the car straight to the Safety Safari in the shut down area, jumped out it, and had the body lifted up in a matter of seconds. He wanted what was left of the fire extinguished quickly.

Seeing what happened on the top end of the track, the CSK team decide to tow Worsham's car back to the pits.

Left Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 12.344/80.98, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.852/309.20, Was #9
Right Lane: Gary Densham Runs 10.384/82.75, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.836/319.52, Was #6

Early problems for both cars. Cannon went up in smoke on the hit. Densham overpowered the track, spitting small parts from the pipes, and he shut it off at 100 feet.

Left Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 4.871/310.55, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.835/312.06, Was #5
Right Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 4.756/325.69, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.813/316.52, Was #2

Wow! Johnson made a quick pass, but Bazemore just ran the quickest elapsed time in Funny Car history. It will be a record if he can back it up, as will the speed If he can back it up too. The incremental numbers were: .892 seconds at 60 feet; 2.288 seconds at 330 feet; 3.270 seconds at 660 feet and a speed of 260.01; 4.074 seconds at 1000 feet. What a pass!!!

That's all for today from Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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