Joliet: John Force Racing eliminations summary

CASTROL FORDS MAKE EARLY EXIT AT ROUTE 66 RACEWAY Highlights: John Force set an NHRA national record at the wheel of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang but he couldn't translate it into a victory in Sunday's sixth annual Lucas Oil Nationals at...

CASTROL FORDS MAKE EARLY EXIT AT ROUTE 66 RACEWAY

Highlights: John Force set an NHRA national record at the wheel of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang but he couldn't translate it into a victory in Sunday's sixth annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Force was victimized by unusual wear in the clutch pack that slowed him from the 4.721 second national record at which he qualified to just 5.005 seconds in a first round loss to unheralded John Lawson.

Teammate Tony Pedregon, the POWERade points leader for most of the 2003 season, lasted just one more round before his Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang lost traction in a second round match against Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Skoal Camaro.

Gary Densham, driver of the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford, lost to Johnson in the following round, leaving the Force-owned team without a finalist after a 1-2-3 qualifying sweep.

Special: Michael Bretl, an aspiring auto tech from Fort Atkinson, Wis., was an honorary crew member on the John Force-driven Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang during the sixth annual Lucas Oil Nationals. Bretl is one of eight auto tech students selected from hundreds of nominees as a Castrol GTX Top Tech. In addition to tickets to this week's races, he will receive souvenir apparel from Castrol GTX, a Mac Tools toolbox and $1,000 in tools and the donation of Castrol GTX and Castrol GTX High Mileage motor oil for use in his school's vocational automotive program. Bretl, a freshman student at Madison Area Technical College, works as an apprentice auto tech at a local Ford dealership and also is a part time racer.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.721 seconds, 325.30 mph.
Race results: Lost to John Lawson.
Notable: Set a track, event and NHRA national record with the quickest quarter mile in Funny Car history (4.721 seconds) during qualifying.

Quotable: "We had a clutch problem of some kind. It just goes to show you that we're still not where we want to be. We made some progress. The national record was nice, but the object is to win rounds and win races."

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.756 seconds, 320.81 mph.
Race results: Beat Johnny Gray; lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Notable: Retained points lead and extended to 21 the number of consecutive events in which he has advanced to the second round or beyond.

Quotable: "The track got much worse than we expected and we weren't able to make the adjustment but we're still okay. We'll just regroup and go on to Columbus. I still have absolute confidence my car and my team."

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.773 seconds, 322.88 mph.
Race results: Beat Scotty Cannon, Gary Scelzi; lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Notable: Reached the semifinals for the second consecutive year at the Lucas Nationals and strengthened his hold on third place in POWERade points.

Quotable: "There was a time when I would have settled for just winning a round at this race but that was before I got in a Jimmy Prock hot rod. I thought we had a shot but the track just wouldn't take (the power)."

-jfr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Johnny Gray , Tommy Johnson Jr.