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Sun, 14 Nov 2004, 03:25 PM

Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By Darryl Jackman

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 40th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

    4 Del Worsham                            31 Johnny Gray
E1   ****WINNER****  0.096  4.993 285.17                     0.068  8.589 100.84
 Qualified:             #3  4.728 329.67                       #14  4.837 324.05
11:25 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 71 degrees, relative humidity 48 percent, barometer 28.98 inches, adjusted altitude 2,167 feet, track temperature 90 degrees.

Worsham and Scelzi are coming into eliminations neck and neck for #2 in points. Down the stretch they come! Gray has now qualified six times since his return in the Don Schumacher 'Wonder Wagon'. Worsham gets a break here as he has problems. The good news for him was that Gray started smoking the tires right after 60 feet and couldn't get the yellow Stratus to hook back up. That's another 20 points in the battle for the second spot.

    1 Tony Pedregon                          28 Ron Capps
E1   ****WINNER****  0.103  4.766 325.06                     0.069  5.184 227.11
 Qualified:             #5  4.734 316.01                       #12  4.791 318.92
This has actually been a pretty close fought battle over the years as Tony holds a 17-14 edge over Capps. Make that 18-14 as Pedregon runs away for the other green car. To add insult to injury it looks like they are cleaning stuff in Capps lane. The only good news for that team is this is a freebie and costs nothing in points or money. In the after interview Capps seemed a bit choked up when he was thanking all his team members and Prudhomme.

    3 John Force                            427 Tony Bartone
E1   ****WINNER****  0.114  4.780 323.27                     0.098 12.052  76.05
 Qualified:             #1  4.698 329.18                       #16  4.854 309.63
Tony Bartone has anchored this, the quickest Funny Car field in history, as well as the prior quickest field at Chicago-2 earlier this year. The conditions are completely different than what the crew chiefs have seen all weekend and the tune up must be coming from a book that hasn't been opened until today. Coil must have worked the toothpick overtime as he throws another 4.7 on the scoreboard. It certainly validates Tony Pedregon's earlier 4.766 in this session. Bartone was off the line first but the car rattled the tires loose early and he could only watch as Force disappeared over the horizon.

    5 Gary Densham                          388 Jim Head
E1   ****WINNER****  0.108  4.750 321.42                     0.077 10.307  78.02
 Qualified:             #2  4.706 329.75                       #15  4.849 313.07
Densham was the top qualifier for a few minutes last even until 'The Boss' took it away from him. This is Densham's last event for JFR and Pomona is his home track so he's really like to take the win away with him. Head is another of those making his quickest ever Funny Car pass. Head was forced to shut off early with some kind of mechanical gremlin but Densham was on his way to low ET of round 1 so far.

  156 Phil Burkart                           71 Cruz Pedregon
E1   ****WINNER****  0.089  4.807 324.83                     0.130 11.123  87.11
 Qualified:             #6  4.759 327.11                       #11  4.772 320.97
Burkart has won more rounds this season than he had in his entire career to that point. Cruz is 5-3 against Burkart. He gets another round win here as Crus spins the tires hard against him in the right lane. Lane choice has been pretty important to this point. Burkart will chose the lane against Worsham in round 2. That's pretty important for Worsham and the whole team.

    6 Gary Scelzi                           340 Bob Bode
E1   ****WINNER****  0.148  4.790 321.96                     0.116  8.137  98.55
 Qualified:             #4  4.728 326.00                       #13  4.829 307.44
Scelzi draws Bode here in the first round and begins his drive to finish #2 in the NHRA, POWERade points battle. Scelzi gets the easy win but loses lane choice to Tony Pedregon in the second round. Bode joins the hordes of right lane tire smokers.

  503 Tommy Johnson Jr.                       2 Whit Bazemore
E1   ****WINNER****  0.074  4.831 323.81                     0.074  6.196 208.55
 Qualified:             #7  4.759 326.79                       #10  4.769 326.95
TJ took his quickest ride ever in a Funny Car in the final session last night. He may have been quicker in a Top Fueler but the 4.759 was his best Funny Car ride. Bazemore holds a 12-7 edge over Johnson. Bazemore only got to about 60 feet before the Goodyears came unglued from the racing surface. TJ will have to take the left over lane when he faces Densham in two.

  716 Eric Medlen                             7 Tim Wilkerson
E1   ****WINNER****  0.033  4.817 319.90                     0.094  8.620  96.33
 Qualified:             #8  4.764 320.28                        #9  4.764 317.49
Medlen is coming back from a huge fire yesterday evening in the final round of qualifying. Force was in the Press Room last evening and was asked if he taught Eric the casual saunter away from a burning race car. He allowed as how he most likely did. Force also commented that he had a word with Medlen before the run and asked him if he understood what the weather conditions meant. According to Force his young protégé replied that meant 'I'll go real fast?' Force warned him that, no, it means fire! Is 'The Champ' also a psychic? Wilkerson his 3-1 against the JFR youngster so far. Wilkerson made it to 330 before his smoke set in. Medlen will allow the boss to pick the round two lane.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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