Pedregon wins Craftsman Nationals for third straight. Highlights: Tony Pedregon won his third straight race and his sixth of the 2002 season to move to within 18 points of boss, teammate and mentor John Force in the race for the POWERade Funny...
Pedregon wins Craftsman Nationals for third straight.
Highlights: Tony Pedregon won his third straight race and his sixth of the 2002 season to move to within 18 points of boss, teammate and mentor John Force in the race for the POWERade Funny Car Championship.
Pedregon beat Ron Capps in the final round to claim his 19th career victory, fifth all-time behind only Force, Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein and older brother Cruz Pedregon. Of the Top 5, Tony is the only one who has not yet won a series championship. He was second behind Force in 1996, 1997 and 1999.
The No. 1 qualifier for the sixth time this year, Pedregon beat his other brother, Frank, in round one. He then disposed of Del Worsham in the quarterfinals, a victory that enabled the Team Castrol Fords to retain their 1-2-3 positions in the standings, and Scotty Cannon in the semifinals.
Force, the 11-time series champion, was ousted in round two, losing to Capps for only the second time in the last 24 meetings. He and Pedregon both have won six races this year. Densham has won twice.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.795 seconds, 322.42 mph.
Race results: Beat Bruce Sarver; lost to Ron Capps.
Notable: Failed to advance beyond the second round for third straight race, but held onto points lead in bid for an unprecedented 10th straight championship.
Quotable: "Tony's Mustang has been a bad hot rod the last three races. Congratulations to John Medlen and Dickie Venables, who've been doing the tune-up, and Tony for doing his usual great driving job." JOHN FORCE
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.765 seconds, 317.72 mph.
Race results: Beat Frank Pedregon, Del Worsham, Scotty Cannon and Ron Capps
Notable: Moved to within 18 points of teammate John Force in the race for the 2002 POWERade Funny Car Championship with third straight win and sixth of the season.
Quotable: "It's getting really interesting, but I can't say enough about the support that John has provided, not just the funding for the car but the emotional support for me as a driver and for the SYNTEC team." TONY PEDREGON.
GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny
Qualifying position and performance: 7th at 4.821 seconds, 312.93 mph.
Race results: Lost to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Notable: Held onto third place by just nine points over Del Worsham.
Quotable: "We didn't get down that lane all weekend. Frankly, we're frustrated but now we're going to Dallas where we beat John in the finals a year ago. We're just trying to hang on to No.3 right now." GARY DENSHAM.
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: 21st at 7.268 seconds, -.542 under the B/AA class index.
Race results: Lost to Jerry Arnold.
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean dragster, Super Comp Eliminator
Qualifying position and performance: All run.
Race results: Lost to Don Strickland.
Next event(s): O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Oct. 10-13, Dallas, Texas; AC Delco Las Vegas Nationals, Oct. 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev.; Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Nov. 7-10, Pomona, Calif.