Englishtown: Team Castrol SuperNationals summary

Densham wins; Slavinski runner-up at SuperNationals. Highlights: Gary Densham kept Team Castrol's record of consecutive 2002 final round appearances perfect and, with a victory in the 33rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals, took the Funny Car ...

Densham wins; Slavinski runner-up at SuperNationals.

Highlights: Gary Densham kept Team Castrol's record of consecutive 2002 final round appearances perfect and, with a victory in the 33rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals, took the Funny Car points lead for the first time in his 30-year drag racing career.

Densham drove his Team Castrol/Auto Club Ford to a final round victory over the Toyota Celica driven by Bruce Sarver to earn the team's fifth win in eight races this season and his fourth since joining drag racing's winningest race team little more than 15 months ago.

Densham prevailed for the second time this year after teammate Tony Pedregon, the defending champion, was victimized in the second round by an erratic supercharger that caused his Castrol SYNTEC Ford to lose traction at half track against Whit Bazemore.

Rob Slavinski also enjoyed a productive weekend, putting his Castrol Super Clean Accuvision 2002 Pontiac Grand Am in the final round of Competition Eliminator before losing to No. 1 qualifier Tim Northrup by the thin .016 of a second by which he was guilty of a foul start.

It was the first final of the year for Slavinski, an eight-time NHRA tour winner who also drives the Castrol Super Clean dragster in the Super Comp class.

Densham's victory moved him two points ahead of boss and teammate John Force in the race for the $400,000 NHRA POWERade Funny Car Championship. Pedregon, who qualified No. 1 and lowered the track record to 4.777 seconds, moved up to fourth place in points with 14 races remaining.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 15th at 5.045 seconds, 279.61 mph.
Race results: Lost to Tim Wilkerson.
Notable: Eliminated at Raceway Park in first round for the first time since 1990.

Quotable: "It just wasn't our weekend. That's why we have three cars. (Crew Chief Austin) Coil knows where we are. We'll just go on to Topeka and get it done there."

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.777 seconds, 316.45 mph.
Race results: Beat Dale Creasy Jr.; lost to Whit Bazmore.
Notable: Fourth No. 1 in seven appearances at Raceway Park and new track record for quarter mile time.

Quotable: "We're very disappointed. We had a chance to take Bazemore out and didn't get it done. The car just nosed over at the finish line and he came flying by. But we know we have a car that'll compete. I can't wait now to get to Topeka (Kan., for this week's O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX)."

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: 5th at 4.864 seconds, 320.13 mph.
Race results: Beat Todd Paton, Johnny Gray, Whit Bazemore and Bruce Sarver.
Notable: Took over the NHRA POWERade points lead for the first time in his career and claimed top speed of the meet for sixth time in eight races this year at 322.19 mph.

Quotable: "It's all good. It was great to win my first race last year at Memphis and to win at Dallas and Las Vegas, but to win one of the big races, the old established races, there's nothin' better. Just to be part of what John Force has created with Castrol is justr a dream come true.

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 11th at 7.330 seconds, .490 under the B/AA national class index.
Race results: Beat Rich Concato, Dave Northrup, Jim Pursglove, Frank Aragone Jr.; lost to Tim Northrup.
Notable: Only the second time he has lost after reaching the final round; first final round of the current season.

Quotable: "I knew I needed a good light (reaction time) in the final and I just pushed it a little too much (fouling out by .016 of a second), but we were happy with the way the car performed. It's exciting now to go to the next race because we know we have cars that can win."

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean dragster, Super Comp Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: All run.
Race results: Beat Bob Phillips, Doug Doll Jr.; lost to Mike Mitchel.
Notable: Ran up against eventual race winner Mike Mitchel in the third round and lost by .005 of a second after grabbing a narrow lead at the start.

Next event(s): O'Reilly Summernationals presented by Castrol GTX, Topeka, Kan., May 24-26; Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals, Joliet, Ill., May 31-June 2; Pontiac Excitement Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, June 13-16; Sears Craftsman Nationals, Madison, Ill., June 27-30.

-tc-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Todd Paton , Tim Wilkerson , Johnny Gray