National: Tony Bartone final report

BARTONE AND JACKSON RACING RUNNER-UP AT THE BIG GO Indianapolis, Ind. - Through a dominate qualifying effort and a little bit of good luck in eliminations, the Rick Jackson Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team from Santa Clarita, Calif. reached...

BARTONE AND JACKSON RACING RUNNER-UP AT THE BIG GO

Indianapolis, Ind. - Through a dominate qualifying effort and a little bit of good luck in eliminations, the Rick Jackson Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team from Santa Clarita, Calif. reached the final round this past weekend at the 56th Mac Tool's NHRA US Nationals presented by Lucas Oil contested at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

The Centre Pointe Collision Center / FireIce.com Ford Mustang flopper set the pace in qualifying by recording a career best elapsed time of 5.498 seconds during the team's third qualifying session. The number one shot was the first sub 5.50-second ET in the TAFC division for 31-time NHRA National Event Champion Tony Bartone and set up a first round race with Rick Cortino from Wheaton, Ill. Bartone drove the Jackson Racing Mustang through a bit of tire shake to an off pace 5.767 ET at 255.10 miles per hour to advance to Sunday's eliminations.

In the second round, Bartone, who spends his time between Long Island City, NY and Boca Raton, Fla., returned to form as crew chief Steve Boggs tuned the Centre Pointe/FireIce.com TAFC to a solid 5.530 ET to capture the win versus Gainesville, Ga.'s Steve Harker who trailed with a 5.612 ET. Bartone then matched up against Chardon, Ohio's John Bojec in the semi-final round. At the hit of the throttle, the Centre Pointe Ford shook the tires violently and Bartone was forced to abort the race, while Bojec thundered to a 5.55 second ET to capture the round win. However, in post race inspection, Bojec's Monte Carlo was disqualified due to being too light at the scales. Bartone and the Centre Pointe/FireIce.com team were re-instated to square off with the FireIce Ford Mustang of Jay Payne in the money round.

At the flash of the green, Bartone nabbed a slight hole shot advantage, but once again tire shake was the gremlin which ended the Southern California based teams quest for the US Nationals Wally. Payne was straight and normal and produced a 5.648 ET to capture his first US Nationals title in his long and historic career.

"After the semi-final race we returned to our pits and started to eat some pizza when we were informed that our team had been given a second chance," noted team owner Rick Jackson, the owner of Centre Pointe Collision Centers in Santa Clarita. "Our team was smooth and cool as we serviced our car with time to spare prior to the final round. Our boys did a wonderful job this weekend and I am very pleased with the performance of our car. We would like to extend our congratulations to Jay, Shelly, Brad, Michael and the entire FireIce.com team for their victory."

-source: rick jackson racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Bartone , Steve Harker , Jay Payne