Pomona Funny Car notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 CHIEF AUTO PARTS WINTERNATIONALS FUNNY CAR NOTEBOOK *Look out: The nightmare may not end this season for John Force's opponents, if preseason testing is any ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

CHIEF AUTO PARTS WINTERNATIONALS FUNNY CAR NOTEBOOK

*Look out: The nightmare may not end this season for John Force's opponents, if preseason testing is any indication.

Force, six-time and defending NHRA Winston Funny Car champion, recorded a pass of 4.867 seconds, 294.11 mph in the Castrol GTX Pontiac Firebird during preseason testing at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. His time, unofficial because it was recorded during testing, was quicker than his NHRA elapsed-time national record of 4.889 seconds set last July at Topeka, Kan.

*Still the underdog: Ron Capps always had the underdog mentality while racing the last two seasons in Top Fuel for Roger Primm Racing, which lacked corporate sponsorship.

The strategy worked, as Capps won the 1995 Northwest Nationals and was runner-up at the 1995 Fram Nationals.

Don't expect his approach to change one bit now that he's racing for the well-funded Copenhagen team owned by Don "The Snake" Prudhomme.

"I thrive on that mentality," Capps said. "I have too much fire in my belly to change. I want to rip their hearts out and hand it to them on the starting line. I have to have that attitude."

*Milestone on horizon: Ron Capps could make NHRA history with one pass at the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals.

Capps will try to become the first NHRA driver to make a 300-mph run in a Top Fuel dragster and a Funny Car. His career-best speed is 302.62 mph in a dragster.

Capps, from Carlsbad, Calif., moved to Funny Car this season to drive the Copenhagen Chevrolet Camaro owned by NHRA legend Don "The Snake" Prudhomme. Capps drove the Roger Primm Racing Dragster in 1995 and 1996.

*Force to Fuel?: After staying conspicuously quiet all winter about his Top Fuel plans, it appears John Force is moving ahead with his dragster program.

Force discussed his plans in a story published in the Los Angeles Times in mid-January.

"We've ordered a chassis - it ought to be ready by April," Force told motorsports writer Shav Glick. "I believe we can compete, but it will be tough."

Force said he plans to have teammate Tony Pedregon shake down the car before he hops into it. He wouldn't say whether he plans to leave Funny Car or compete in both cars, but it's always been his desire to race against reigning NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion Kenny Bernstein again.

*Tough day: Randy Anderson learned about the power and unpredictability of a Funny Car the hard way during preseason testing Jan. 18 at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.

Anderson, from Ontario, Calif., was unhurt in a crash in his Parts America Pontiac Firebird as he tried to earn his NHRA Funny Car license. Anderson is moving to Funny Car this season after an outstanding career in Top Alcohol Funny Car, as he won two straight NHRA Winston championships in that category in 1993-94.

Anderson's car lost traction off the starting line and hit both retaining walls. The car was heavily damaged. Anderson helped track rescue workers remove himself from the car, and he was transported and held overnight at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix for observation.

Despite Anderson's crash, all was not lost for the Anderson family at Phoenix. Shelly Anderson, Randy's younger sister, recorded a strong pass of 4.687 seconds, 310.55 mph during testing in her Parts America Dragster.

*Full-time, for now: Veteran Funny Car driver Gary Densham is taking a leave of absence from his job as an auto shop teacher at Gahr High School in Cerritos, Calif., so he can devote more time to developing his Densham Motorsports Funny Car team, team spokesman Al Liebmann said.

Densham, from Bellflower, Calif., finished 10th in the NHRA Winston point standings last season in the NEC Oldsmobile Cutlass. NEC and the Automobile Club of Southern California both extended their sponsorships of the team during this offseason, NEC for two years and AAA for one.

The team has switched to a Dodge Avenger body for this season.

*Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 2 p.m. Jan. 30, one of only two pro sessions on a Thursday this season. Qualifying continues with a session at 2 p.m. Jan. 31 and ends with sessions at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 1. Final eliminations start at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 2. Sportsman competition starts at 8 a.m. Jan. 30.

*Tickets: Tickets are available for the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals. Call NHRA at (818) 914-4761 for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets throughout Southern California. To order through Ticketmaster, call (213) 480- 3232, (714) 740-2000, (805) 583-8700 or (619) 220-TIXS. Ticketmaster online information can be obtained on the World Wide Web at http://www.ticketmaster.com.

*On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise 90 minutes of live final-round competition from the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals at 4 p.m. (PST) Feb. 2. TNN will televise 30 minutes of live first-round coverage during "NHRA Today" at 10:30 a.m. (PST) Feb. 2.

*On the Web: The NHRA home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.goracing.com/nhra/ offers more information about NHRA Winston Drag Racing, including qualifying and eliminations results, news, point standings, statistics and driver biographies. -30-

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Densham , Shelly Anderson