BARTONE ADVANCES TO SEMI-FINALS AT RACEWAY PARK ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18) -- Tony Bartone, driver of the Lucas Oil Jim Dunn-owned Chevrolet Monte Carlo, roared out of the No. 1 qualifying position to advance to the semi-finals of the 37th...
BARTONE ADVANCES TO SEMI-FINALS AT RACEWAY PARK
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18) -- Tony Bartone, driver of the Lucas Oil Jim Dunn-owned Chevrolet Monte Carlo, roared out of the No. 1 qualifying position to advance to the semi-finals of the 37th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
After achieving the No. 1 position with an excellent qualifying pass of 4.781 seconds, Bartone led the Funny Car field into Sunday's eliminations racing Bob Gilbertson and quickly defeated him with an elapsed time of 4.979 seconds, 308.21 mph to Gilbertson's languishing time of 5.169 seconds, 231.52 mph.
It was in the quarterfinals that led to one of the bigger highlights of the season, as Bartone reaches the midway point of the year, when he defeated 13-time Funny Car champion, John Force. In a pedaling contest, Bartone mesmerized the Raceway Park standing room only crowd, by out-dueling Force with a time of 5.836 seconds, 179.28 mph to Force's smoky time of 5.918 seconds, 217.35 mph.
The semi-finals, his first of the season, placed Bartone against current Funny Car champion, Gary Scelzi in another battle of tire smoking combatants. Unfortunately, for the North Hills, N.Y. driver, he tried in vain to match the performance of his adversary, but came up short. As Bartone left the starting line, he suffered tire shake, which resulted in slippage of the tire. Likewise, Scelzi experienced the same problem with the only difference being that his occurred further down the track. Bartone crossed the finish line in 7.936 seconds, 101.73 mph to Scelzi's time of 5.478 seconds, 203.80 mph.
"It was a great weekend for the Lucas Oil Funny Car team, especially for car owner, Jim Dunn," said Bartone who was still ready to race after being eliminated. "We're proud we qualified No. 1 on behalf of Charlotte an Forrest Lucas and you can't help but want to go more rounds, but in general it was a good weekend. We went a couple of rounds and took out the "King of the Hill", John Force. Of course, when you reach the quarterfinals, you want to get to the semis, and if you get to the semis, you want to get to the finals and then you want to win. It was a good outing and a good turnaround for the team. We ran very well in Chicago last week and hopefully that indicates we'll have a good summer of racing and maybe put a win in the column for Lucas Oil Racing."
The next NHRA event will be the 10th annual O'Reilly Midwest Nationals, NHRA's first night race of the season, at the Gateway International Raceway on June 23-25.