2nd annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, sixth of 23 races comprising the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn. DApril 28, 2002. Densham runner-up at Bristol; Force keeps points lead Highlights: Gary Densham's...
2nd annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, sixth of 23 races
comprising the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.
DApril 28, 2002.
Densham runner-up at Bristol; Force keeps points lead
Highlights: Gary Densham's Cinderella story ended Sunday in a final round loss to Whit Bazemore in the second annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
The No. 16 qualifier, Densham upset teammate Tony Pedregon in round one, beat Scotty Cannon in round two and Todd Paton in the semifinals before suffering a loss of traction against Bazemore.
The performance propelled the former auto shop teacher into second place in POWERade points behind only 11-time NHRA series champion John Force, who was upset in round one when his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang suffered a clutch malfunction.
Pedregon, who set the Bristol Dragway track records of 4.844 seconds and 322.34 mph during qualifying, was victimized by a broken pushrod that cause the engine to misfire, slowing him to 5.046 seconds.
In sportsman racing, veteran Rob Slavinski showed well in both Competition Eliminator and Super Comp.
The Wallingford, Conn., driver, an eight-time NHRA national event winner, was the No. 1 qualifier in Super Comp with a time of 8.906 seconds, just .006 off the 8.90 class standard. Slavinski advanced to the fourth round at the wheel of the Castrol Super Clean dragster before losing to Butch Magruder.
In Competition Eliminator, Slavinski drove the Castrol AccuVision 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix to the No. 13 qualifying spot and beat Mike Farrell in round one before fouling out in round two by a mere .010 of a secolnd.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.896 seconds, 310.20 mph.
Race results: Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Notable: Still has not won an NHRA national event at Bristol Dragway.
Quotable: "We still don't know what happened (to cause the car to malfunction at the staring line in round one). That's why we're going to stay over and test. We need to know what to do when we get to Atlanta."
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.844 seconds, 322.34 mph.
Race results: Lost to Gary Densham.
Notable: Track records at 4.844 seconds, 322.34 mph.
Quotable: "It was a very disappointing result, especially after our qualifying performance. We broke and pushrod and dropped a cylinder in the first round and that slowed us down just enough to let Gary (Densham) get around us. But we've got a very good race car right now and we'll be ready for Atlanta."
GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: 16th at 5.041 seconds, 289.07 mph.
Race results: Beat Tony Pedregon, Scotty Cannon, Todd Paton and Whit Bazemore.
Notable: Moved into second place in POWERade points behind teammate John Force.
Quotable: "After everything that happened in qualifying, it was a pretty good day. Naturally, we would have liked to win the race, but a runner-up after what we went through ain't all that bad."
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 13th at 7.343 seconds, .477 under the B/AA class index.
Race results: Beat Mike Farrell; lost to Frank Aragona Jr.
Notable: Ousted on a round two foul when he missed the green by .010 of a second.
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean dragster, Super Comp Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 8.906, 166.07 mph.
Race results: Beat David Taylor, advanced on a bye; beat Sherman Adcock; lost to Butch Magruder.
Notable: No. 1 qualifier for the first time in Super Comp, closest to the 8.90 target.
Next event(s): Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, Atlanta, Ga., May 2-5; Matco SuperNationals, May 17-19, Englishtown, N.J.; O'Reilly Summernationals, Topeka, Kan., May 24-26; Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals, Joliet, Ill., May 31-June 2; Pontiac Excitement Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, June 13-16.