Castrol Funny Cars exit earlt at O'Reilly Fall Nationals. The battle for the 2002 NHRA POWERade Funny Car championship moves on to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after points leaders John Force and Tony Pedregon both exited the 17th...
Castrol Funny Cars exit earlt at O'Reilly Fall Nationals.
The battle for the 2002 NHRA POWERade Funny Car championship moves on to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after points leaders John Force and Tony Pedregon both exited the 17th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol SYNTEC earlier than anticipated.
Force, bidding for an unprecedented 10th straight championship at the wheel of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, was ousted by Bruce Sarver in the second round, the same round in which Tony Pedregon's bid for a fourth straight tour victory ended against Tommy Johnson Jr.
Gary Densham, the third member of the Team Castrol Funny Car effort, exited in the semifinals when one of the two magnetos failed on his Mustang. That shut the Team Castrol Fords out of the final round for only the third time in 21 races this season.
Although Del Worsham won the race, earning his fourth victory of the year, Force moves to Las Vegas with a 189-point lead over the closest General Motors challenger. He leads Pedregon by a mere 13 points.
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 7th at 4.854 seconds, 315.34 mph.
Race results: Beat Scotty Cannon; lost to Bruce Sarver.
Notable: Retained 13-point lead in quest for unprecedented 10th straight title.
Quotable: "Tony and I are going to fight it out for the title and, hopefully, we can get Densham back up into the No. 3 position. We're testing (Monday) and we'll fix these things and go on to Vegas."
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.789 seconds, 323.50 mph.
Race results: Beat Todd Paton; lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Notable: Closed the gap between himself and boss John Force to just 13 points despite seeing his winning streak end at three straight.
Quotable: "Two things happened. One, the car didn't perform like it should have under these conditions. It should have run a 4.80 flat, at least. The other part, we were racing the underdog and any time you're racing the underdog, he'll take a shot at you. (Todd Paton) did in the first round (with a .440 reaction) and Tommy did in the second."
GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny
Qualifying position and performance: 6th at 4.854 seconds, 320.97 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson, Whit Bazemore; lost to Bruce Sarver.
Notable: Lost the No. 3 spot in the standings to Del Worsham.
Quotable: "The car had been running great all day, but we lost a mag on the burnout. It didn't have enough power. It shook, I pedaled it, he won. It was all bad." GARY DENSHAM.
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 7.318 seconds, .492 under the B/AA class index.
Race results: Beat Doug Engels; lost to Jeff Taylor.
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean dragster, Super Comp Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: All run.
Race results: Lost to Don Clevenger.
Next event(s): AC Delco Las Vegas Nationals, Oct. 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev.; Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Nov. 7-10, Pomona, Calif.