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Sat, 13 Nov 2004, 04:55 PM

Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Darryl Jackman

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 40th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals 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: David Benjamin Runs 7.535/113.19, Now #23; Best prior run: 7.010/121.72, Was #23
Right Lane: Jerry Toliver Runs 13.013/75.13, Now #26; Best prior run: 10.824/80.53, Was #26

1:04 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 62 degrees, relative humidity 64 percent, barometer 28.89 inches, adjusted altitude 1,664 feet, track temperature 68 degrees.

Benjamin is teamed with Phil Miller and John Lindsay of Impulse fame. They had their problems this weekend and this one didn't help much. Benjamin launched fairly well but the car took a set and drove him towards the wall. At about 330 the car and the wall had reached critical mass and 'Nasty' called it off. Toliver smoked the tires early and was never in the run.

Left Lane: Terry Haddock Runs 5.674/179.78, Now #21; Best prior run: 5.180/234.94, Was #21
Right Lane: Peter Russo Runs 16.033/62.64, Now #25; Best prior run: 9.984/83.77, Was #25

The Aussie, Russo, was smoking the tires at the hit and is down to the final qualifying session with no real data. Haddock got just a bit further but the result was tire smoke and a broken run.

Left Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 4.769/326.95, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.829/305.63, Was #12
Right Lane: Tommy Johnson Jr. Runs 11.298/84.64, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.777/323.74, Was #6

TJ is another tire smoker in the right lane but Bazemore does it up good and proper. The Iron Eagle Stratus goes from #12 to a strong top half #5. Pretty nice mph to go with that ET as well.

Left Lane: Bob Gilbertson Runs 5.372/193.96, Now #23; Best prior run: 7.321/141.18, Was #24
Right Lane: Frank Pedregon Runs 4.877/314.17, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.950/304.46, Was #18

Gilbertson had a good looking run going until about 1000 feet. The car was 3.321/254.47 to half track and then it appeared the rubber band came unstuck from the blower. Pedregon moves into the show and bumps Johnny Gray.

Left Lane: Cruz Pedregon Runs 6.741/128.95, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.796/324.51, Was #10
Right Lane: Grant Downing Runs 5.039/300.33, Now #19; Best prior run: 5.046/289.94, Was #19

Cruz was another driver on a mission until the Goodyears came unstuck about 600 feet into the run. The pedaled once and then gave up the run. Downing runs his best MPH of the year but needs to muster a 4.886 to best Capps, who's now on the bump.

Left Lane: Jeff Arend Runs 4.921/310.13, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.896/315.64, Was #18
Right Lane: Tim Wilkerson Runs 4.884/318.02, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.764/317.49, Was #4

We get a side by side pair but neither driver gets a whole lot of anything for this hit. Arend falls to a 4.92 from his earlier best and Wilkerson loses a tenth from his round 1 best effort. One more hit for Arend later on today.

Left Lane: Dale Pulde Runs 5.410/264.70, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.242/267.16, Was #22
Right Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 5.770/164.53, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.854/309.63, Was #14

This was strange. Both cars looked better than the numbers but that was deceptive. Bartone launched like a rocket but something failed on the car after half track. It Looked impressive as Pulde ran him down but the final numbers don't help either one of them.

Left Lane: Jack Wyatt Runs 5.236/240.29, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.079/266.32, Was #20
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 11.473/70.07, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.849/313.07, Was #13

Head had some strange numbers early on but it didn't matter. For some reason the clocks started late and caused a slow reaction time(.486) and an astounding 60 foot number(.574). It didn't matter as something failed in the car and he was silent by 150 feet. Wyatt clicked it early and is still not in the show.

Left Lane: Johnny Gray Runs 8.814/92.17, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.891/320.36, Was #17
Right Lane: Bob Bode Runs 10.572/79.01, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.829/307.44, Was #12

Gray will be pacing the pit area until the final session. He strikes the tires early in the run and coasts on out. Bode struck the tires and he fell silent as well.

Left Lane: Ron Capps Runs 4.791/318.92, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.887/315.86, Was #16
Right Lane: Tony Pedregon Runs 6.185/145.81, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.779/321.12, Was #8

Tony made a strange burnout in the right lane. It looked more like a dry hop as the car went straight into the air, instead of forward. We'll see it hurts the run. Well, Pedregon most likely wasn't hurt by the burnout but he tires did come loose about half track. Capps got an early holiday present and is off the bump spot...big time. He moves all the way to tenth and leaves Frank Pedregon dangling from the bubble.

Left Lane: Phil Burkart Runs 8.639/86.17, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.811/324.44, Was #12
Right Lane: John Force Runs 4.774/318.62, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.747/324.12, Was #2

They were under the body of Force's horse for a long time but there didn't seem to be a real problem. He doesn't go lower than that first hit that put him #2 but he does repeat pretty nicely. Burkart is glad he's already in as the team tried to rotate the earth, and failed.

Left Lane: Del Worsham Runs 4.748/329.02, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.737/328.54, Was #1
Right Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 10.521/80.29, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.780/327.03, Was #9

Pretty good field as were have 4.7s all the way through the 11th qualifying spot. Worsham is delivering a message about that #2 spot he and Scelzi are battling over this weekend. The pair came in tied for second and if qualifying ended now Worsham would have a 5 point lead. It's all going to come down to Sunday. Scelzi fell silent early and the message was loud and clear from the Worsham camp.

Left Lane: Gary Densham Runs 4.753/325.61, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.775/326.71, Was #6
Right Lane: Eric Medlen Runs 4.788/313.29, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.764/320.28, Was #3

Two thirds of the Force team meet here for qualifying. By the time the smoke cleared it was Densham moving up to #3 and Medlen dropping one spot as his teammate went around him. Yet again .70s are cheap. That ends a long fuel session for the Funny Cars. We finish with Worsham enjoying the view from #1 and Frank Pedregon looking up from the bottom of the show. Once to go for 2004.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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