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Sat, 10 Nov 2012, 17:23 PM

Top Alcohol Funny Car Round 1 Eliminations
By David Gerard

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

  766 Jason Rupert                         7976 Keeter Ray                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.005  6.044 189.58                     0.056  7.886 114.71
 Qualified:             #8  5.627 255.43                        #9  5.642 255.82
1:49 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 64 degrees, relative humidity 27 percent, barometer 28.87 inches, adjusted altitude 1,864 feet, track temperature 82 degrees.

Jason Rupert is the NHRA Heritage Series champion. Jason's father competed in Top Fuel at Pomona in 1967. Ray's car won this year's WinterNations.

Both cars have some shake off the line and drive through it. Ray pumps it and then lifts.

Rupert scores a terrific 0.005 light and then his Monte Carlo starts to drift towards the wall and then the engine bangs with a lot of smoke from underneath the car.

Jason Rupert's incremental margins: 60ft(0.043), 330 ft(0.048), 660ft(0.467), 1,000ft(1.165). MOV: 1.8932 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Jason Rupert's incremental times: 60ft-0.954 sec., 330ft-2.531, 660ft-3.778/196.30 mph, 1,000ft-4.920.
Keeter Ray's incremental times: 60ft-0.946 sec., 330ft-2.528, 660ft-4.194/131.41 mph, 1,000ft-6.034.

    3 Jay Payne                               2 Tony Bartone                 
E1                   0.051  5.671 259.11     ****WINNER****  0.098  5.616 263.15
 Qualified:             #7  5.626 259.06                       #10  5.655 261.07
This is only the second time these two have met in round one. The last time was in 2000. This is Jay Payne's 27th appearance at the "Finals." His first was in 1985. It is his 13th race in TAFC here. This is Tony Bartone's lowest start in his last 16 national events. Tony won this race in 1996.

Two wild rides, as they both shake hard off the line. Payne was away first and the Mustang starts to drive hard towards the wall and tail wags a lot going down the track.

Bartone's car starts a steady move towards the wall after half track and he gets close to the wall near the finish line. He gets the come from behind win with a new top speed of the meet.

Tony Bartone's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.050), 330 ft(-0.043), 660ft(-0.023), 1,000ft(-0.006). MOV: 0.0081 seconds (approximately 3 feet).

Jay Payne's incremental times: 60ft-0.956 sec., 330ft-2.545, 660ft-3.769/204.29 mph, 1,000ft-4.802.
Tony Bartone's incremental times: 60ft-0.959 sec., 330ft-2.541, 660ft-3.745/207.56 mph, 1,000ft-4.761.

   62 Clint Thompson                          5 Mickey Ferro                 
E1                   0.086  7.820 119.47     ****WINNER****  0.063  5.716 252.47
 Qualified:             #6  5.610 253.56                       #11  5.676 255.00
Mickey Ferro won this race in 2010.

It's Ferro from start to finish. Both cars have some shake, but Thompson's car makes a hard move after sixty feet and he has to pump.

Mickey Ferro's incremental margins: 60ft(0.017), 330 ft(0.117), 660ft(0.506), 1,000ft(1.236). MOV: 2.1278 seconds (more than 100 feet).

Clint Thompson's incremental times: 60ft-0.938 sec., 330ft-2.609, 660ft-4.251/134.67 mph, 1,000ft-6.038.
Mickey Ferro's incremental times: 60ft-0.944 sec., 330ft-2.515, 660ft-3.768/198.76 mph, 1,000ft-4.825.

  744 Shane Westerfield                     765 Bernie Harrington            
E1   ****WINNER****  0.042 21.066  35.69                    -0.174  5.762 229.82
 Qualified:             #4  5.605 258.22                       #13  5.793 229.31
Bernie Harrington's last five national events have all been here at Pomona.

Westerfield shakes and spins right off the line and quickly gives it up.

It doesn't matter, as Harrington is way early and gets the red light. He runs his quickest pass of the event too!

Bernie Harrington's incremental times: 60ft-0.954 sec., 330ft-2.501, 660ft-3.746/197.36 mph, 1,000ft-4.818.

    8 Steve Gasparrelli                      10 Kris Hool                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.061  5.673 258.12                     0.069  5.743 257.78
 Qualified:             #2  5.577 260.21                       #15  5.983 234.53
This is Steve Gasparrelli's 15th appearance at the NHRA Finals. He has been here every year since 1998. Steve won this race in 200, 2002, 2005.

The tire shake continues, as both cars drive through it. Only 0.008 difference in RT's and Gasparrelli's early numbers give him the advantage as they run side by side down the track for the win.

Steve Gasparrelli's incremental margins: 60ft(0.052), 330 ft(0.079), 660ft(0.075), 1,000ft(0.077). MOV: 0.0784 seconds (approximately 30 feet).

Steve Gasparrelli's incremental times: 60ft-0.953 sec., 330ft-2.523, 660ft-3.759/202.39 mph, 1,000ft-4.800.
Kris Hool's incremental times: 60ft-0.997 sec., 330ft-2.594, 660ft-3.826/202.03 mph, 1,000ft-4.869.

   73 Doug Gordon                           739 Johann Wernhart              
E1   ****WINNER****  0.055  5.652 257.33                     0.073 No Time      
 Qualified:             #3  5.584 259.66                       #14  5.803 209.92
Johann Wernhart is making his 5th national event start.

Gordon's tires are shaking hard at the green and he has to slap the pedal to get it to settle down. The car is over by the wall at this point and he has to drive it back into the groove.

Werner has even more problems. He gets the car back under power and then has it drive steadily towards the center line. He nails the finish line lights.

Doug Gordon's incremental times: 60ft-0.950 sec., 330ft-2.517, 660ft-3.742/203.19 mph, 1,000ft-4.777.

    6 John Lombardo Jr.                    7590 Ross Stickler                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.095  5.493 260.91                     0.081  6.697 170.34
 Qualified:             #1  5.506 261.02                       #16  6.110 233.52
John Lombardo has scored his second #1 qualifying spot. Ross Stickler now has six national event starts with no round wins.

Traction problems continue. Stickler gets the shake and spin cycle this time.

Lombardo has the tune up and drives straight and true to the finish line, improving again on his career best and the event low ET.

John Lombardo Jr.'s incremental times: 60ft-0.927 sec., 330ft-2.435, 660ft-3.619/208.84 mph, 1,000ft-4.633.

 6180 Jirka Kaplan                          799 Sean Bellemeur               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.040  5.667 254.71                     0.082  5.656 256.02
 Qualified:             #5  5.608 256.94                       #12  5.787 253.85
Last pair. This is Jirka Kaplan's first national event start in TAFC. It is a car that was previously owned by Cy Chesterman and he is working with Les Davenport.

We get a great race to wrap up the session. Kaplan gets a nice 0.40 light and stays out in front running down the track. They hold positions running down the track, but Bellemeur can't overcome the hole shot.

This is only the second time that Bellemeur has lost on a hole shot.

Jirka Kaplan's incremental margins: 60ft(0.044), 330 ft(0.042), 660ft(0.043), 1,000ft(0.037). MOV: 0.0311 seconds (approximately 12 feet).

Jirka Kaplan's incremental times: 60ft-0.971 sec., 330ft-2.523, 660ft-3.741/203.22 mph, 1,000ft-4.784.
Sean Bellemeur's incremental times: 60ft-0.973 sec., 330ft-2.523, 660ft-3.742/203.37 mph, 1,000ft-4.779.

2:15 p.m. In round two: Lombardo will have lane choice over Rupert; Kaplan over Westerfield; Gasparrelli over Bartone; and Gordon over Ferro.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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