Columbus Eliminations Recap

KIRKERSVILLE OH - SUMMIT FastNews - Final eliminations at the 35th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing brought a day full of close racing, producing numerous upsets and putting a new face in the winner's circle. Doug...

KIRKERSVILLE OH - SUMMIT FastNews - Final eliminations at the 35th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing brought a day full of close racing, producing numerous upsets and putting a new face in the winner's circle. Doug Herbert, Phil Burkart, Warren Johnson, Antron Brown, and John Coughlin ended up atop the podium in their respective Professional categories at the end of the day. Herbert's win in Top Fuel was his second of the 1999 season, his first coming in Houston and earning him the Winston No Bull bonus. Herbert advanced through eliminations from the 11th seed with the aid of Dick Lahaie's tuning skills, defeating Jim Head, Kenny Bernstein, and Gary Scelzi to get to the final round. There he faced Bob Vandergriff Jr., whose advance through the first three rounds was a Cinderella story. Vandergriff dispatched Scott Kalitta in the first round only to suffer serious damage to the dragster chassis when a tire exploded, bending the frame. His team was able to straighten the chassis in time to make the second-round call and Vandergriff fought his way past David Grubnic and Paul Romine despite suffering engine damage in each of the intermediate rounds. In the final round, Herbert was clocked at 4.696 seconds and 313.00 mph to win over Vandergriff's 4.763 at 282.84. Points leader Mike Dunn lost in the first round and Herbert's win moved him to within 61 points of the leader. The new face in the winner's circle was Burkart's, in Funny Car. Starting from the 14th rung of the ladder, Burkart took on and defeated Tommy Johnson Jr., Frank Pedregon, and John Force to meet Tim Wilkerson in the finals. Of the three, only the win over Force was as a result of his opponent suffering problems, Burkart's "Nitro Fish" entry surprisingly quick and fast in all three rounds. Force held a substantial lead over Burkart in their race, all the way to the 1,000-foot marker, only to slow suddenly when the supercharger drive belt broke. Burkart's final round race against Wilkerson was anticlimactic, Joliet winner Wilkerson smoking the tires and slowing well before the finish line. The win qualifies Burkart for the Winston No Bull Showdown, bumping Whit Bazemore from the list of pre-qualified drivers. Johnson's win in Pro Stock was no surprise, his Firebird holding a solid performance edge over the rest of the field. In the final stanza, Johnson ran 7.008 at 197.57 to prevail over Jeg Coughlin's 7.061 at 197.97. Brown's win in Pro Stock Motorcycle was also his second of the current season, this time against David Schultz. Brown's 7.350 at 183.79 got him to the finish line ahead of Schultz's 7.377 at 182.80. That moved him into second in the championship points, ahead of Matt Hines. Coughlin prevailed in front of the hometown crowd in the new Pro Stock Truck category, defeating number-one qualifier Brad Jeter when Jeter found the traction elusive in the middle of the track. Coughlin was clocked at 7.707 and 175.05, while Jeter posted his slowest run of eliminations at 7.751 and 175.32.

In Sportsman category final rounds: Rick Henkelman defeated Bill Reichert in Federal-Mogul Dragster; Frank Manzo defeated Pat Austin in Federal-Mogul Funny Car; Andy Manna defeated Robert Bailey in Competition Eliminator; Frank Grossi defeated Ricky Decker in Super Stock; Bruce Walton defeated Tommy Phillips in Stock Eliminator; Shannon Mingee defeated Dave Fields in Super Comp; Mike Farquhar defeated Frank Miller in Super Gas; and Scott Dahlem defeated Steve Mesik in Super Street. The four-day crowd for the event was estimated at 105,000. The next event on the Winston Drag Racing schedule is the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Madison, Illinois, June 24-26. b Results provided by the FastNews Network, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment ** http://www.summitracing.com/ **

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Doug Herbert , Antron Brown , Frank Pedregon , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Tommy Johnson , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Frank Manzo , Tim Wilkerson , Phil Burkart , Bill Reichert , Bob Vandergriff