Joliet II: John Force Racing eliminations summary

Pedregon back in points lead after repeat win Highlights: Tony Pedregon reclaimed the NHRA POWERade points lead by driving the Castrol SYNTEC Ford to a repeat victory in the third annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. The...

Pedregon back in points lead after repeat win

Highlights: Tony Pedregon reclaimed the NHRA POWERade points lead by driving the Castrol SYNTEC Ford to a repeat victory in the third annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

The 38-year-old Californian got a free 4.768 second, 316 mile-an-hour ride to his seventh victory of the season when the Pontiac driven by final round opponent Phil Burkart Jr. was shut off because of an oil lead.

After beating Bob Bode in round one, Pedregon beat teammates Gary Densham and John Force to reach the finals for the first time since June.

The win, the 26th of Pedregon's career, enabled the SYNTEC driver to open up a 69-point advantage over second place Whit Bazemore, the former points leader who was upset iln the first round at Joliet.

Densham, who will leave the team at season's end, had the outstanding performance of the event, driving the Team Castrol/Automobile Club Mustang to the second quickest quarter mile in Funny Car history at 4.723 seconds. Only Force (4.721) has gone quicker.

Force and Densham remain third and fourth in the POWERade point standings with four races remaining, the next a resumption of the Lucas Keystone Nationals which was suspended by rain three weeks ago at Reading, Pa.J

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car Qualifying position and performance: No. 2 at 4.725 seconds, 326.00 mph.

Race results: Beat John Lawson, Ron Capps; lost to Tony Pedregon.

Notable: Extended qualifying streak to 319 consecutive events and gained 40 points on second place Whit Bazemore.

Quotable: "As a team, it was a great weekend because we got Tony back in the lead. Our job is to win for our sponsors and it was great to see Tony get back on track with the SYNTEC car." -- John Force.

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car

Qualifying position and performance: No. 6 at 4.787 seconds, 320.66 mph.

Race results: Beat Bob Bode, Gary Densham, John Force and Phil Burkart.

Notable: After being displaced for one week, moved back into the lead in the race for the 2003 POWERade Championship with his seventh win of the season.

Quotable: "I think when we lost the points lead (to Whit Bazemore), it made us focus a little more and this was the result. Sometimes you need a little luck and we had some today. But we've had our share of misfortune this year, too. So I guess it all evens out." -- TONY PEDREGON.

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:

Qualifying position and performance: No. 3 at 4.728 seconds, 299.13 mph.

Race results: Beat Bob Gilbertson; lost to Tony Pedregon.

Notable: Recorded career best elapsed time of 4.723 seconds, second quickest in history, in a first round win over Bob Gilbertson after earlier posting a time of 4.728 in qualifying.

Quotable: "I thought we had the best car this weekend, but we were going for the (national) record and obviously the track wouldn't hold it. I can't wait to get to Reading. The conditions should be like they were here -- and that's all good." -- GARY DENSHAM.

Next events: Lucas Keystone Nationals, Reading, Pa., Oct. 5; O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Dallas, Texas, Oct. 12; AC/Delco Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 26; Automobile Club of Southern California World Finals, Pomona, Calif., Nov. 9.

-jfr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Densham , Phil Burkart , Bob Bode