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Sat, 23 Oct 1999, 03:36 PM

DALLAS - Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Ed Dykes

ENNIS, Texas - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Funny Car at the 14th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec 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: Bob Gilbertson Runs 5.217/270.75, Now #14; Best prior run: 5.312/240.77, Was #15

Gilbertson runs alone to start the round, and his Firebird shed what looked to be the burst panel at the 1200' mark, otherwise this was a pretty uneventful pass down the quarter-mile.

Left Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 5.101/302.82, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.005/302.62, Was #7
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 8.632/105.20, Now #20; No Prior Run

Pedregon did a little fishtail at the start, then our attention shifted to Wilkerson when the rear of his car was engulfed in tire smoke. After the run, Pedregon's owner-slash-crewchief Jim Dunn told the crowd, "Yeah, we can run like that all day long, four-nineties and five-ohs...."

Left Lane: Ronny Young Runs 6.111/155.87, Now #18; Best prior run: 12.615/76.23, Was #21
Right Lane: Scott Weis Runs 6.933/122.74, Now #17; Best prior run: 5.569/193.46, Was #17

Young looks like Pedregon off the line, the rear end of the car moving around a lot, while Weis' leave was more violent, the car going thru all sorts of sliding and bouncing around before the Virginian called it off. Neither driver manages to better Worsham's 5.388 to break into the show.

Left Lane: Kenny Sayers Runs 13.969/62.86, Now #20; Best prior run: 7.055/122.16, Was #20
Right Lane: Al Hofmann Runs 9.982/79.35, Now #13; Best prior run: 5.206/274.55, Was #13

Hofmann is up in smoke early, followed quickly by Sayers.

Left Lane: Del Worsham No Time, Now #17; Best prior run: 5.388/203.29, Was #16
Right Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 5.237/260.41, Now #16; Best prior run: 6.583/133.53, Was #19

Skuza earned this one the hard way. The car was in trouble right from the start, losing traction early but Dean knew that he wasn't in the show so he pedals and steers and prods this car to the finish. It wasn't pretty, smoke and flames as he crossed the stripe, but it did the job, good enough to make the field, bumping Worsham who coasted to a stop at the 500' mark on this run.

Left Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 5.016/292.68, Now #9; Best prior run: 5.237/264.39, Was #15
Right Lane: Cory Lee Runs 5.225/272.14, Now #12; Best prior run: 5.030/306.74, Was #11

Looks like the Castrol team is back on track, after struggling during the first two sessions this weekend. Cory Lee start spinning the tires on the top end, killing his momentum on the run.

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 5.147/252.88, Now #10; Best prior run: 5.019/308.11, Was #10
Right Lane: Jim Epler Runs 5.056/299.30, Now #8; Best prior run: 5.015/292.87, Was #8

It's the Undertaker vs. the Webmaster here, reminding us of the good ol' days when race cars all had names. Pedregon's run looked a lot better than the numbers indicate, he wasn't that far behind Epler at the end.

Even when we watched the replay, they were right together at the end, the only difference being a big cloud of smoke out of the Firebird, right at the end.

Left Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 4.981/299.30, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.994/306.43, Was #6
Right Lane: Gary Densham Runs 10.460/80.33, Now #13; Best prior run: 5.060/297.52, Was #13

Cannon is making the tuneup calls himself this weekend, and he has a couple of solid baseline passes to show for it, but can he step up here?? Well, it's not a big leap but the car is clean and dry at the finish, and that was their objective for today. Densham smoked and pedalled once but wasn't able to recover this time.

Left Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 4.939/310.02, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.987/298.50, Was #6
Right Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 4.904/303.43, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.954/259.14, Was #4

Every time Toliver runs the fans are treated to a Stone Cold Steve Austin video on the Winston Vision screen... is that a sign of things to come?? What about when Jim Dunn's car runs? Toliver steps up, jumping Capps and Cannon in the order, while Bazemore moves up a notch as well.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.908/295.76, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.950/298.01, Was #5
Right Lane: John Force Runs 5.943/156.46, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.874/305.81, Was #2

Force loses traction at half track and coasts thru, while it's all smiles for the Capps-Cope crew as their driver manhandles his way to the finish. The car was a handful on the top end, and after the run Capps compares it to riding a bucking bronco... Is that because we're in Texas, I wonder?

Left Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 5.473/179.89, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.857/316.45, Was #1

The fuse on Johnson's engine was only about half as long as they needed, a burst of flame at the 500' mark signalling the Safari trucks to take to the Motorplex concrete racing surface. That's the last car, so with just one round remaining it's the soon-to-be-unemployed Johnson on the pole and Dean Skuza in sixteenth.

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