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RAIN DELAYED FINALS PRODUCE FEW UPSETS By Ed Dykes COMMERCE, Ga. - SUMMIT FastNews - Persistent rains delayed final eliminations one day, but the NHRA Fram Nationals from Atlanta Dragway is finally in the record books,...

RAIN DELAYED FINALS PRODUCE FEW UPSETS By Ed Dykes

COMMERCE, Ga. - SUMMIT FastNews - Persistent rains delayed final eliminations one day, but the NHRA Fram Nationals from Atlanta Dragway is finally in the record books, with Cory McClenathan, Cruz Pedregon, Mark Osborne, Matt Hines, and Larry Kopp taking wins in the professional categories.

McClenathan defeated Pat Dakin in the Top Fuel final round, recording an elapsed time of 4.756 seconds at 306.12 miles per hour. The Anaheim, Calif. racer had qualified fourth, but found the consistency today to take his third win of the season, and his eighth in the last 15 races. Dakin barely made the final round call, after running off the end of the racetrack in the semifinal round.

In Funny Car, the ever-popular John Force was defeated in the final round by his arch-nemesis Cruz Pedregon in the Interstate Battery / Hot Rod Magazine Pontiac Firebird. Pedregon recorded an elapsed time of 5.049 seconds at 303.74 miles per hour enroute to the victory, his second national event win of the year after also defeating Force at the Gatornationals in March, plus he won the all-star Winston Invitational two weeks ago. Pedregon was also the number one qualifier in the class.

Mark Osborne also backed up his win at the Winston Invitational with a win today, taking the Pro Stock final round battle with Bruce Allen. The Abingdon, Va. driver wheeled the Dick Sherman Racing Pontiac Firebird to defeat Allen's Outlaw Pontiac with a 6.996 second elapsed time at 198.10 miles per hour, with a net margin of victory of only 0.001 seconds. Osborne also garnered number one qualifier honors in the Pro Stock category.

Pro Stock Motorcycle competition saw many of the front-runners fall to red-lights in the first round, including David Schultz and Angelle Seeling. In the end, it was Trinidad, Colorado's Matt Hines outlasting Paul Gast to take the final round win, running a 7.338 second elapsed time at 188.67 miles per hour.

Larry Kopp took Pro Stock Truck honors on Saturday in his Accurate Binding / G-Force Transmissions Chevy S-10. Kopp was the number one qualifier and dominated eliminations, running quickest time in each round. He defeated John Lingenfelter in the final with an elapsed time of 7.712 at a speed of 174.79.

The event was the fifth of 22 events in the $30 million Winston Drag Racing Series. The NHRA tour moves to Richmond, Va. next weekend, for the Pennzoil Nationals, April 23-26.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , John Force , Larry Kopp , John Lingenfelter , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Bruce Allen , Paul Gast , Pat Dakin