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Fri, 1 Oct 1999, 05:45 PM

TOPEKA - Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Bob Orme

Cleaning up in Funny Car

TOPEKA, Kan. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Funny Car at the 11th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:

Left Lane: Cristen Powell Runs 4.971/263.56, Now #1
Right Lane: Larry Huff Runs 5.444/237.55, Now #2

3:00 PM and the fuel floppers are at the starting line. Both cars keep the candles lit all the way down the track. Powell hazes the tires just a bit at the top end of the track, but otherwise lays down a pretty good pass.

Left Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 5.398/204.73, Now #3
Right Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 5.012/295.14, Now #2

Gilbertson was mixing up the cylinders at half track, going through the traps with flames shooting out from under the body. He was still on fire when he brought the car to a stop. He was able to exit the car before suffering any injuries. TJ w as on a strong pass, the engine blowing up at the finish line. We will be down while the Safety Safari takes care of the mess at the far end of the track.

Left Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 7.905/118.91, Now #5
Right Lane: Gary Densham Runs 9.715/96.46, Now #6

After a 10 minute clean up, we're ready to resume qualifying. Both cars lose traction at the end of the concrete pad, about 300' out. Creasy pedaled it once while Densham didn't bother.

Left Lane: Al Hofmann Runs 5.339/270.05, Now #3

Hofmann's car was laboring from the hit, had a cylinder out for the whole trip down the track.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 5.156/299.66, Now #3
Right Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 6.285/142.51, Now #7

Cannon's engine fireballs at half track, the car still burning as he brings it to a halt in the shutdown area. He was able to get out of the car safely, but will need to use a spare body for the rest of the weekend. Once again we have down tim e for track cleaning.

Left Lane: Jim Epler Runs 5.117/275.96, Now #3
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 9.885/80.02, Now #11

There was more to clean up this time around, taking about 25 minutes to prep the track. Capps was off the throttle by 330, the reason not apparent from here. Epler started trailing engine smoke at 1000', dropping cylinders at the finish line.< br>
Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 10.296/79.28, Now #13
Right Lane: Cory Lee Runs 5.165/299.80, Now #5

Wilkerson shook hard on the launch, blistering the tires at 300' before he shut it off. A trouble-free pass for Lee.

Left Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 15.531/47.05, Now #14
Right Lane: Del Worsham No Time, Now #15

Skuza was up in smoke immediately. Worsham was leaking fluids as he backed up from the burnout. They shut him off at the line and pushed him off the track. The clean up for this one took about 15 minutes.

Left Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 5.099/287.11, Now #3
Right Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 5.285/285.35, Now #7

A clean run for both drivers, Bazemore dropping a cylinder at the finish line.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 4.920/303.84, Now #1
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 5.498/197.25, Now #12

Force has been struggling lately, going out in the first round at the last two events. We'll see if he's turned things around this weekend. No problems for Force here, strong and straight all the way down. Pedregon struck the tires at 300', pedaled it and started mixing up cylinders at half track, losing the engine through the traps. After one round of Funny Car qualifying, John Force is on the pole with a 4.920 second ET and Ron Capps is on the bump with a

9.885 second ET.

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