Gainesville: John Force Racing eliminations summary

Densham wins Gatornationals for Team Castrol. Highlights: Gary Densham drove the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang past the Pontiac of Del Worsham Sunday to win the 34th annual Mac Tools Gatornationals and wrest...

Densham wins Gatornationals for Team Castrol.

Highlights: Gary Densham drove the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang past the Pontiac of Del Worsham Sunday to win the 34th annual Mac Tools Gatornationals and wrest the points lead away from Ron Capps.

Densham had an almost flawless race day series with quarter mile times of 4.886, 4.848, 4.870 and 4.876 seconds to earn his fifth career victory, his first at Gainesville Raceway.

Densham stepped to the fore after teammates John Force and Tony Pedregon were upset in the first and second rounds respectively.

Force, the 12-time NHRA POWERade Series Champion, fell to 12th place in points after an engine failure sent his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to the sidelines in a first round match with three-time former NHRA Top Fuel Champion Gary Scelzi.

Pedregon, hottest driver on the tour the last six months, also suffered mechanical problems in bowing out to Worsham in round two, ending at 28 a streak of consecutive competitive quarter miles in which his Castrol SYNTEC Ford had covered the quarter mile in fewer than 4.980 seconds.

Pedregon, the No. 1 qualifier at the Gatornationals, still stayed in very strong contention for the 2003 POWERade championship. The 20-time tour winner is third, just three points behind Ron Capps and 14 behind Densham.

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Notes: George and Carol Parham were married Sunday in the Castrol suite at Gainesville Raceway and hung around after the race for a picture with John Force....Gary Densham is the third different Team Castrol driver to win at Gainesville in the last four years. John Force won in 2000 and Tony Pedregon in 2002....nine Team Castrol crew members including Crew Chiefs Dickie Venables, Bernie Fedderly and John Medlen celebrated their March birthdays during the Gatornationals....all three Team Castrol Funny Cars were scheduled to participate in open testing Monday at Gainesville Raceway.

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TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: No. 7 at 4.839 seconds, 316.90 mph.
Race results: Lost to Gary Scelzi.
Notable: Qualified for a record-tying 303rd consecutive event but dropped out of the Top 10 in points.

Quotable: "That's why we've got three cars. We're just working through some problems right now. We haven't forgotten how to do this. We'll be back."

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: No. 1 at 4.811 seconds, 317.57 mph.
Race results: Scotty Cannon
Notable: Beat Scotty Cannon; lost to Del Worsham.

Quotable: "We broke a pushrod. It's disappointing, but it's really the first major parts failure we've had in quite some time. It's too bad because we had a really fast car this weekend."

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: No. 6 at 4.838 seconds, 320.85 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson, Ron Capps, Gary Scelzi and Del Worsham.
Notable: Fifth career win propelled him into the POWERade points lead for just the second time in his career.

Quotable: "After getting ambushed at Phoenix (when final round rival Ron Capps was credited with a near-perfect reaction time), I was wondering what kind of crazy thing could happen this time. It's a big win for Castrol and John Force Racing because it puts us back in the points lead."

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Next events: 4th annual Summitracing.com Nationals, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 3-6; 16th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston, Texas, April 10-13; Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, April 25-27; Summit Nationals, Atlanta, Ga., May 2-4; Matco SuperNationals, May 15-18.

-jfr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , John Medlen