Joliet II: Post-race notes

Post Race Notes: ...

Post Race Notes: #Third Annual Carquest Auto Parts Nationals
Sept. 25-28, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill.


* Kenny Bernstein, from Lake Forest, Calif., returned to the winner's circle to win his first race of the season after returning to the cockpit for his injured son, Brandon, defeating category points leader Larry Dixon in the final round. Bernstein drove his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster to a pass of 4.503 seconds at 328.46 mph outrunning Dixon's Miller Lite dragster, which clocked a run of 4.638 at 321.35.

* Bernstein's win was the 66th of his career and 36th in Top Fuel. The win moved Bernstein past Don Garlits for second all-time in NHRA Top Fuel wins. Also, the win at Joliet, Ill. moved Bernstein into the POWERade top ten point standings, ironically bumping out his son Brandon from the No. 10 spot.

* Doug Kalitta earned his ninth No. 1 qualifying position of the season when he blasted his Mac Tools dragster to the quickest pass in NHRA history of 4.428 at 333.00 to lead the Top Fuel order. Kalitta's blast set the Route 66 Raceway track E.T. record, but Kalitta was not able to certify the pass as a national record because he failed to back-up the run within the required one percent mandated by the NHRA. Kalitta did set the national speed mark at 333.00 mph.

* By advancing to his category-best 12th final round of the season, Dixon increased his commanding points lead to 323 over Kalitta, who was defeated by Tony Schumacher in the quarterfinals.

* The cool autumn conditions at Route 66 Raceway produced a number of career best times and speeds. Most notable was Shirley Muldowney traveling quicker and faster than she had ever gone in her storied career. Muldowney drover her Mac Tools dragster to a performance of 4.579 at 327.66. A total of nine drivers lowered their personal best in either time, speed, or both at the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals.


* Tony Pedregon, from Chino Hills, Calif., reclaimed the Funny Car points lead back from Whit Bazemore defeating Phil Burkhart in the Funny Car final. Pedregon earned his seventh victory of the season and 26th of his career by blasting his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to a run of 4.769 at 316.52. Burkhart was unable to race Pedregon in the final because his Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird was shut off by chief starter, Rick Stewart, due to an oil leak at the starting line.

* Bazemore also earned his third No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 24th of his career when he powered his Don Schumacher-owned Matco Tools Dodge to a run of 4.725 at 324.20. Bazemore and John Force ran identical E.T.'s but Bazemore was awarded the top qualifying spot by virtue of his speed for the second consecutive event. Bazemore's speed was faster than Force's 323.81.

* Bazemore's teammate Gary Scelzi, raised the NHRA Funny Car national speed record to 329.19 during his quarterfinal victory over Del Worsham. Scelzi's record speed was certified by his victory over Cruz Pedregon in the first round at 328.70.

* With the victory, Pedregon reclaimed the Funny Car points chase and leads Bazemore by 69 POWERade points, while 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force sits third, 154 points behind rival Bazemore.

* A total of 12 drivers lowered their personal best in either E.T., speed, or both at the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals.

* Notable DNQ's: Dean Skuza failed to make the 16-car cut after posting a runner-up finish at Memphis just a week prior.


* Jeg Coughlin, from Delaware, Ohio, won his second race of the season and 33rd of his career, beating POWERade points leader Greg Anderson in the final round. Coughlin didn't need his performance of 6.749 at 203.22 in his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier to defeat Anderson, who left the starting line early and fouled out. With the red light, Anderson threw away the performance of 6.728 at 204.91 in his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am.

* Anderson raced to his category leading 10th top qualifying position of the season when he drove his Pontiac to an elapsed time of 6.739 at 205.07 to pace the Pro Stock field.

* Jim Yates earned a $1,000 bonus by winning the Motel 6 'Who Got The Light' award when he edged gene Wilson by 0.0037 of-a-second margin of victory in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations.

* Anderson's runner-up finish extended his lead over Kurt Johnson to 286 points and third-place Coughlin by 436 points in the POWERade standings.

* Notable DNQ's: Scott Geoffrion, George Marnell, Barry Grant and Mark Pawuk.


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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Don Garlits , Scott Geoffrion , George Marnell , Barry Grant , Don Schumacher