Columbus: Team Castrol finals summary

Team Castrol shut out at the 38th Pontiac Nationals. In a bizarre series of events, all four Team Castrol drivers were on the sidelines before the semifinal round of the 38th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, 11th race in the NHRA POWERade...

Team Castrol shut out at the 38th Pontiac Nationals.

In a bizarre series of events, all four Team Castrol drivers were on the sidelines before the semifinal round of the 38th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals, 11th race in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Rob Slavinski was the last to fall, falling to Larry Pritchett in the quarterfinals of Comp Eliminator before losing control of his Castrol AccuVision Pontiac on deceleration and crashing into the rightside guardwall.

Although he was not injured in the accident, Slavinski did suffer a hit to his pocketbook because of damage done to the front end of the 2002 Grand Am.

Elsewhere, two of the three Castrol Funny Cars were eliminated in round one and the third, the Castrol GTX Ford driven by 11-time champion John Force, was ousted in round two when Johnny Gray won for the first time in nine meetings.

Despite the problems, Team Castrol retained the top three positions in the POWERade point standings with Gary Densham protecting a one-point advantage over Force, who, in turn, is 75 points ahead of Tony Pedregon and the Castrol SYNTEC Mustang.

Highlight in the Top Fuel division was Shirley Muldowney's upset of reigning series champion Kenny Bernstein in the second round, opening the door for Larry Dixon, who won for the seventh time in 11 races at the wheel of the Miller Lite dragster.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.863 seconds, 314.61 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson; lost to Johnny Gray.
Notable: Moved to within one point of teammate Gary Densham in POWERade points.
Quotable: "We didn't have a great day, but, bottom line, our ol' Castrol Fords are still 1-2-3 in points and we go on down the road and get ready for St. Louis." JOHN FORCE

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 8th at 4.897 seconds, 312.57 mph.
Race results: Lost to Ron Capps.
Notable: One of the car's two ignition systems suffered a catastrophic failure.
Quotable: "The car was great in qualifying. All that shows is that qualifying doesn't really make any difference. On race day, the ignition failed and race day is what counts." TONY PEDREGON.

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: 5th at 4.873 seconds, 314.17 mph.
Race results: Lost to Dean Skuza.
Notable: The "box," which controls clutch, ignition and fuel functions, failed to activate.
Quotable: "Nothing worked. I hit the throttle and I knew it was over. It's just one of those things that happens to you if you stay around this sport long enough." GARY DENSHAM.

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 9th at 7.371 seconds, .439 under the B/AA class index.
Race results: Beat Rhett Matheney, Al Ackerman; lost to Larry Pritchett.
Notable: Braking parachutes failed to blossom and when Slavinski tried to tap the brakes, the car started bouncing and veered from the left lane into the rightside guardwall before stopping in the sand trap at the end of the track. Slavinski banged his elbow, but was otherwise uninjured. The same couldn't be said of the race car, which suffered serious front end damage.
Quotable: "The chutes came out, but they didn't blossom. I immediately got on the brake but the car started bouncing. Then it turned ugly. We'll have to replace the front end. It banged it up pretty good."

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean dragster, Super Comp Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: All run.
Race results: Beat Jeff Dickson; lost to Dan Northrup.

Next event(s): Sears Craftsman Nationals, Madison, Ill., June 27-30; Mopar Mile-High Nationals, July 19-21, Denver, Colo.; Lucas Oil Northwest Nationals, July 26-28, Seattle, Wash; Fram/Autolite Nationals, Aug. 2-4, Sonoma, Calif.; Rugged Liner Nationals, Aug. 16-18, Brainerd, Minn.; U.S. Nationals, Aug. 29-Sept. 2, Indianapolis, Ind.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Ron Capps , Gary Densham , Johnny Gray , Larry Pritchett