Columbus Tony Pedregon Wins Pontiac Springnationals

KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio - Tony Pedregon drove his Castrol SYNTEC Ford to upset victories over the number one and number two qualifiers Sunday and won the 36th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway. Pedregon, winless in...

KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio - Tony Pedregon drove his Castrol SYNTEC Ford to upset victories over the number one and number two qualifiers Sunday and won the 36th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway.

Pedregon, winless in the last 20 races, avenged teammate John Force's first round loss by beating No. 2 qualifier Jerry Toliver in the final by the narrowest of margins. A sensational .474 second reaction time made Pedregon's 4.893 a winner over Toliver's slightly quicker 4.877. The Chino Hills, Calif., driver, had dispatched Toliver's teammate, No. 1 qualifier Jim Epler, in the semifinals to reach the money round for the 25th time in 95 races for Team Castrol and Force Racing.

Force, winner of four straight races coming in, was beaten by Toliver in round one after experiencing handling problems that relegated him to the No. 15 qualifying spot, his poorest performance in the last 130 races.

That left Pedregon to stare down both of the WWF drivers, something he had been unable to do previously.

In fact, he had come up second best in two previous final rounds against the WWF, losing to Toliver in the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., and to Epler in the inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas.

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WINNERS: Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher defeated Joe Amato; Funny Car, Tony Pedregon defeated Jerry Toliver; Pro Stock, Mark Pawuk defeated Ron Krisher; Pro Stock Motorcycle, Angelle Seeling defeated Tony Mullen; Pro Stock Truck, Randy Daniels defeated Bob Panella Jr. NEXT EVENT: Sears Craftsman Nationals, Gateway International Raceway, Madison, Ill., June 23-25.

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 15th at 5.096 seconds.
Race Results: Lost to Jerry Toliver.

Notable: Force lost in the first round for the sixth time at National Trail Raceway where he hasn't won since 1990. More important, he surrendered the points lead to Toliver, who will carry a 12-point advantage into next week's Sears Craftsman Nationals at Madison, Ill. Quotable: "Man, that's what a two-car team is all about. When Toliver beat me in the first round that put it all on Bravo Team's shoulders. John Medlen, Tony, the whole crew. What a job they did." - John Force

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 5th at 4.972 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Cory Lee, Dean Skuza, Jim Epler and Jerry Toliver. Notable: Tony ended a victory drought that had stretched to 20 races Quotable: "I don't know how we wound up here but I just think it proves that being persistent and pulling together as a team, it pays off. (The final was) the first full run we made all weekend. We knew those guys would run a number so we knew we had to step up. John Medlen, all my guys, John's team. What a job." - Tony Pedregon.

<pre> FUNNY CAR POINTS (10 of 23 races complete) 1. Jerry Toliver 837 2. John Force 826 3. Ron Capps 731 4. Tony Pedregon 723 5. Jim Epler 555 6. Scotty Cannon 459 7. Dean Skuza 446 8. Del Worsham 415 9. Whit Bazemore 404 10. Frank Pedregon 400

</pre> ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: Did Not Qualify at 7.656 seconds. Notable: Slavinski failed to make the show for the fourth straight race.

STEVE JOHNS, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: 10th at 7.624 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Todd Patterson; lost to Randy Daniels. Notable: Johns came within .020 of a second of upsetting Randy Daniels in the second round, thanks to a .421 starting line reaction time.

<pre> PRO STOCK TRUCK POINTS (eight of 23 races complete)

1. Bob Panella                          802               
2. Randy Daniels                        788             
3. Greg Stanfield                       514             
4. John Coughlin                        425             
5. Steve Johns                          409             
6. Brian Self                           398             
7. Rick Jones                           382               
8. Mike Coughlin                        343     
9. Jeff Gracia                          339             
10. John Lingenfelter                   320             

16. Rob Slavinski 166

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Bob Panella , Mark Pawuk , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Todd Patterson , Jeff Gracia , Randy Daniels , Mike Coughlin , John Lingenfelter , Scotty Cannon , Greg Stanfield , Cory Lee , Brian Self , Jerry Toliver , John Medlen , Steve J