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Sat, 2 Sep 2000, 07:14 PM

INDY - Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Darryl Jackman

Things Change Fast

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Funny Car at the 46th annual 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 5.755/246.57, Now #14; Best prior run: 7.566/106.14, Was #20

5:08 PM-I just looked at the weather report and it says that the temperature is still 91 degrees but the humidity has fallen to 45%. Bazemore opens the round with a single. He was in and out of the throttle several times and each time the result was smoke. He did stay with it to get into the field for the moment. That bumped Skuza and puts Hofmann on the bump.

Left Lane: John Lawson Runs 7.905/115.84, Now #22; Best prior run: 8.962/88.58, Was #21
Right Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 5.428/216.90, Now #13; Best prior run: 9.720/90.42, Was #22

Lawson gets to 500 feet before the tires begin to smoke. Gilbertson got a bit further but was still forced to lift well before the finish. He does get in and bumps Al Hofmann.

Left Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 5.212/224.32, Now #13; Best prior run: 5.244/249.16, Was #12
Right Lane: Del Worsham Runs 5.077/299.26, Now #7; Best prior run: 6.712/128.24, Was #19

Worsham has another wild ride as he chunks another tire just as he entered the traps. The tire exploded, but this time he did not make contact with the wall as he did at Norwalk a few weeks ago. The finish line reporter says that a small piece of tire hit Worsham on the arm but he's ok. He's more concerned about getting the car ready to face John Force in the first round of the Shootout tomorrow. Lost in all of this was Tim Wilkerson making a nice pass in the other lane. He had tire smoke just before the lights and was forced to lift. Worsham making the field has bumped Cruz Pedregon.

Left Lane: Cory Lee Runs 6.343/142.57, Now #4; Best prior run: 5.013/310.91, Was #4
Right Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 5.163/289.82, Now #9; Best prior run: 7.095/121.19, Was #21

To say that Toliver has struggled of late is an understatement. Right now he's in the twenty first position and has yet to get down the track under power. He hopes to right the ship on this pass. Lee is qualified well in the forth spot. Well, Toliver makes the show. Again, it wasn't pretty as the tires on the 'Rock' racer began to spin at about 1100 feet. Cory Lee was plagued with spinning tires in the other lane. Bob Weickgenannt was was bumped on that pass by Toliver.

Left Lane: Bob Weickgenannt Runs 5.311/288.70, Now #16; Best prior run: 7.091/180.84, Was #21
Right Lane: Dale Creasy Jr. Runs 5.296/288.21, Now #15; Best prior run: 10.090/83.68, Was #23

Creasy was really hurt by losing that run last night. Weickgenannt was bumped by the last pair and has a chance to get back in. Creasy gets in but there was a flash of fire underneath the car just as he crossed the finish line. The trucks are rolling but it appears there was no fire. Weickgenannt also makes his way back into the qualified field but he only makes it as high as the bump.

Left Lane: Bruce Sarver Runs 5.173/289.45, Now #11; Best prior run: 5.169/283.85, Was #10
Right Lane: Dean Skuza Runs 5.129/299.93, Now #8; Best prior run: 6.227/147.04, Was #22

The pressure is starting to build on Dean Skuza as there will be only two more sessions after this to qualify. Currently Skuza is twenty second and in danger. Sarver has gone in the right direction with his first two and only looks to improve. Well, Skuza won't have to worry making the field as he makes a great pass to wind up in the top half. Sarver had a good pass going but there was a flash out of the left bank, near the lights, and he began to slow.

Left Lane: Scott Weis Runs 5.098/297.55, Now #8; Best prior run: 5.464/217.00, Was #19
Right Lane: Al Hofmann Runs 5.205/230.21, Now #15; Best prior run: 5.968/185.89, Was #22

Dale Creasy is now on the bump. Both of these drivers are looking for a way in. Weis makes the big move here as he goes from outside to the top half in one run. Hofmann was on a nice pass but appeared to throw a belt before the lights. Even with the problem the Mooneyes car makes the field. That bumps Wilkerson and Creasy. Scotty Cannon now holds down the bump spot.

Left Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 5.002/297.61, Now #4; Best prior run: 5.210/269.56, Was #16
Right Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 5.049/302.01, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.795/171.53, Was #22

Cruz was bumped out in this session and Cannon is on the bubble. This is a session for big changes and now we have two more. Cannon moves from the bump, all the way to the four hole. In the other lane Pedregon goes from the outside to the top half of the field. If you get it right the track has been good to the drivers.

Left Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 5.637/177.56, Now #12; Best prior run: 5.152/254.42, Was #12

With all the changes Tony Pedregon has fallen swiftly out of the top half of the field. Here he gets a single and smoke ends his chance for this session. The Ford left hard and looked good until around 800 feet, where the Syntec car went straight up in smoke. Tony had no chance to grab the brake, or give the pedal a slap, so he clicked it off.

Left Lane: John Force Runs 4.967/306.53, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.976/305.63, Was #2
Right Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.968/300.53, Now #3; Best prior run: 5.192/244.83, Was #16

Force lurks near the top of the field but Capps is another that fallen like a rock through the qualified field in this session. Currently Capps is on the bump. Great side by side race. Capps is the real winner as he gets off the bubble and moves all the way to the #3 spot. The surprise has to be that Tommy Johnson Jr still holds on to the top spot.

Left Lane: Jim Epler Runs 5.046/298.47, Now #8; Best prior run: 5.067/295.98, Was #9
Right Lane: Gary Densham Runs 5.113/292.01, Now #12; Best prior run: 5.192/276.07, Was #16

Densham also makes a good pass to get off the bubble and is starting to run hard more than once in a row. Epler moves up one spot and would have lane choice if qualifying were over now.

Left Lane: Frank Pedregon No Time, Now #4; Best prior run: 5.001/303.91, Was #4
Right Lane: Cristen Powell Runs 5.032/302.69, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.044/293.86, Was #7

Oh boy. The headache just got worse for the CSK, Worsham team. Pedregon lit one up big time just before the 150 foot mark. The inside of the car was full of flames but they did go out very quickly. At that point it appeared that Pedregon was having problems seeing and the car was all over the lane before coming to rest. The Safety Safari was on him quickly and pictures show him out of the car and getting his eyes washed out. Don't forget that Del Worsham will need a body due to his tire explosion. Frank did no exterior damage to the body as he never touched a thing. Powell made a bracket type pass in the other lane and will stay in the top half through this session. Tommy Johnson is being interviewed right behind me and says the track cooled off twenty degrees in the last hour. He says that a lot of teams backed so far off that they could not readjust for the conditions and he felt that was part of the reason he kept his top spot.

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