Pomona: Force, Pedregon race report

POMONA, Calif. Bruce Sarver turned the tables on Team Castrol Sunday at the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. Sarver, runner-up to John Force at the season-ending Auto Club of California Finals contested last November...

POMONA, Calif. Bruce Sarver turned the tables on Team Castrol Sunday at the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. Sarver, runner-up to John Force at the season-ending Auto Club of California Finals contested last November on the same track, beat Force's Castrol teammate, Tony Pedregon, in the final round of the traditional NHRA season-opener.

In reaching the Winternationals final for the third straight year, Pedregon qualified his Castrol SYNTEC Ford No. 5 in the field. In the final, Pedregon enjoyed a .052 of a second lead at the start and led until the engine failed halfway into the race.

**** Winners: Darrell Russell, Top Fuel; Bruce Sarver, Funny Car; Kurt Johnson, Pro Stock; Randy Daniels, Pro Stock Truck; Rick Santos, Federal Mogul Dragster; Bucky Austin, Federal Mogul Funny Car; Jeff Lion, Competition; Jimmy DeFrank, Super Stock; Bernie Cunningham, Stock; Larry Scarth, Super Comp; Ed DeStaute, Super Gas.

John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position: Seventh at 4.931 seconds, 266.06 mph.
Race results : Lost to Whit Bazemore.
Best numbers : 4.931 seconds, 290.13 mph.
Significance : Poorest qualifying position and earliest elimination at Pomona Raceway since 1994. "These kinds of weekends happen, but that's what two-car teams are all about. My car wanted to run fast, but we had trouble keeping the front wheels on the track. We'll fix it and get ready for Phoenix."

Tony Pedregon, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position: Fifth at 4.884 seconds, 314.77 mph.
Race results: Beat Scotty Cannon, Ron Capps and Chuck Etchells; lost to Bruce Sarver.
Best numbers:4.884 seconds, 314.77 mph (top speed of the event).
Significance: Third straight trip to the finals at the Winternationals and strong start in Winston Championship race. "The car left good. At half track, I didn't see him, but the car was already nosing over. I was praying that it would stay together. But, for whatever reason, the motor got really hot and burned itself up at three-quarter track. But I think we're definitely going the right direction with our tune-up."

WINSTON CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS:

Funny Car: 1. Bruce Sarver, e-moola.com Pontiac, 114; 2. Tony Pedregon, Castrol SYNTEC Ford, 94; 3. Chuck Etchells, Kendall Camaro, 73; 4. Whit Bazemore, Matco Tools Firebird, 72; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Skoal Camaro, 58; 6. Frank Pedregon, CSK Pontiac, 57; 7. Ron Capps, Skoal Camaro, 55; 8. Al Hofmann, Mooneyes Pontiac, 51; 9. Jerry Toliver, WWF/XFL Pontiac, 36; 10. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford, 33.

****

Next Events: Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Nationals, Firebird Raceway, Chandler, Ariz., Feb. 16-18; MAC Tools Gatornationals, Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Fla., March 16-18.

-Team Castrol

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Randy Daniels , Rick Santos , Chuck Etchells , Scotty Cannon , Jimmy DeFrank , Bucky Austin , Jerry Toliver , Tommy Johnson Jr.