CAPPS EXTENDS LEAD AS CASTROL FORDS FALTER AT VEGAS Ron Capps extended his Funny Car points lead over John Force to 105 points by reaching the final round for the fourth time in five 2006 NHRA POWERade tour events. He was beaten in the final ...
CAPPS EXTENDS LEAD AS CASTROL FORDS FALTER AT VEGAS
Ron Capps extended his Funny Car points lead over John Force to 105 points by reaching the final round for the fourth time in five 2006 NHRA POWERade tour events. He was beaten in the final round of the seventh annual SummitRacing.com Nationals by Cruz Pedregon, the 1992 series champion who won for the first time in five years.
For Team Castrol, it was another case of being unable to translate qualifying success into a race day victory. Second year pro Robert Hight led the sport's most successful team to a 1-2-4 start but neither Hight nor teammates Eric Medlen and John Force were around for the finish.
Hight, the 2005 winner of the Auto Club's Road to the Future Award as the NHRA's Rookie-of-the-Year, was a first round victim of journeyman Tony Bartone when his Team Castrol/Auto Club Mustang lost traction and then blew and engine. To add insult to injury, that engine failure led to an cleanup that cost Hight 10 penalty points.
With Hight on the sidelines after round one along with the event's other No. 1 qualifiers -- Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel and Greg Anderson in Pro Stock -- neither of the other Ford drivers was able to deliver.
Force posted the quickest time on race day (4.795 seconds) in driving his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a first round victory over Bob Gilbertson, but the national record-holding Ford dropped a 4.836-4.839 decision to Whit Bazemore's Dodge in round two when it suffered a broken clutch lever.
Eric Medlen, driver of the Castrol SYNTEC Ford, also was ousted in round two when an engine misfire slowed him from his first round 4.82 pace to 4.92 against Tommy Johnson Jr.
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Skoal Showdown Points (Top eight drivers compete for a $100,000 top prize at Indianapolis, Ind., on Sept. 3) -- 1. John Force, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 1,545; 2. Eric Medlen, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang, 1,430; 3. Robert Hight, Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, 1,410; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Skoal Chevrolet, 1,350; 5. Gary Scelzi, Oakley Dodge, 1,320; 7. Ron Capps, Brut Dodge, 1,310; 8. Del Worsham, CSK Chevrolet, 1,300; 9. Whit Bazemore, Matco Dodge, 1,235; 6. Tony Pedregon, Quaker State Chevrolet, 1,185; 10. Gary Densham, Racebricks Chevrolet, 1,150.
Full Throttle Pit Crew Challeng -- 1. Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, crew chiefs Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, driver John Force, 212; 2. Tie, CSK Chevrolet Monte Carlo, crew chief Chuck Worsham, driver Del Worsham, and CSK Chevrolet, crew chiefs Chris Cunningham and Mark Denner, driver Phil Burkart Jr., 167 each; 4. Brut Dodge Stratus, crew chief Ed McCulloch, driver Ron Capps, 157; 5. Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang, crew chief John Medlen, driver Eric Medlen, 154.
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TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, 56, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.715 seconds, 326.16 mph.
Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson; lost to Whit Bazemore.
ERIC MEDLEN, 32, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 4th at 4.758 seconds, 318.47 mph.
Race results: Beat Gary Densham; lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
ROBERT HIGHT, 36, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.702 seconds, 327.11 mph.
Race results: Lost to Tony Bartone.
Notable: Qualified No. 1 for the first time this season and the seventh time in his brief career.
ASHLEY FORCE, 23, Castrol Top Alcohol Dragster
Qualifying position and performance: 14th at 5.537 seconds, 238.34 mph.
Race results: Lost to Richard Putz.
Notable: In a field top-heavy with supercharged cars, was one of only four drivers to qualify a nitromethane-injected dragster, all of whom were ousted in round one.