Joliet: Post-race notes

Post Race Notes: Seventh Annual NHRA Route 66 Nationals May 20-23, 2004, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill. TOP FUEL * Doug Kalitta's Mac Tools dragster made the quickest pass in NHRA history in his...

Post Race Notes:
Seventh Annual NHRA Route 66 Nationals
May 20-23, 2004, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill.


* Doug Kalitta's Mac Tools dragster made the quickest pass in NHRA history in his final round matchup against Brandon Bernstein en route to his first victory this season and the 16th of his career. Kalitta, from Ypsilanti, Mich., blasted down the quarter-mile in 4.420 seconds, at 328.22 mph, outrunning Bernstein's Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster which went into a wheelstand as it neared half track enabling Kalitta to pull away. Bernstein shut the clocks off in 5.283 at 182.08 during his first loss in six career final round appearances.

* David Grubnic notched his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and fifth of his career when his Kalitta Air dragster recorded a pass of 4.471 at 331.77 to lead all Top Fuel competitors. Kalitta Racing has held the No. 1 qualifying position at six of the first eight events in 2004 (Doug Kalitta, 1; Scott Kalitta, 1).

* Bernstein established a national record for speed at 333.41, which he reached in his first round victory over Bob Vandergriff. The record run was backed up within the required 1 percent during his semifinal win over Tony Schumacher when he clocked a speed of 332.26. No bonus points are awarded for national speed records.

* Kalitta's victory moved him closer to the top two spots in the POWERade point standings, 102 points behind current leader Schumacher and 59 points behind Bernstein.

* Rhonda Hartman-Smith and John Smith both failed to qualify for eliminations, the first time the husband and wife team have each posted a DNQ at the same event since Houston 2002.

* Scott Weis collected the Motel 6 "Who Got the Light" $1,000 bonus check for his .0081-second victory over David Grubnic in the opening round of eliminations.


* John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., posted his second victory of the 2004 season and the 111th of his career in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Force's green-and-white Mustang covered the drag strip in 4.752 seconds at 325.30 mph, besting Whit Bazemore and his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T, which lost traction before half-track and rolled across the finish line in 8.034 at 115.06.

* During his semifinal round victory over Tony Bartone, Bazemore's Dodge made the quickest and fastest Funny Car pass in NHRA history, posting numbers of 4.713 at 333.25. Bazemore collected an additional 20 POWERade championship points for setting the E.T. record, which was backed up by his qualifying time of 4.731. He did not run a speed within the required 1 percent mandated by NHRA to set the speed record.

* Gary Scelzi made a historic pass in the Hemi-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus when he became the first Funny Car driver in NHRA history to eclipse the 330-mph barrier. Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., achieved the milestone when he powered his Dodge past the finish line in 4.732 at 330.15. He established a national record for speed at 330.55 during the last round of qualifying, which was backed up within the required 1 percent by the initial 330-plus mph run.

* Defending NHRA POWERade Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon grabbed the top spot in qualifying for the second consecutive event and third time in 2004 in his Quaker State Chevy Monte Carlo. Pedregon posted career-best numbers of 4.716 at 331.28 to earn his 28th career No. 1 qualifying position.

* Bazemore's runner-up finish, combined with the 20 bonus points awarded for the E.T. national record, placed the Indianapolis resident atop the NHRA POWERade standings for the second time in his career. Bazemore led the standings last season following his victory at Memphis, Tenn., but dropped from the top spot the following week to Pedregon, the eventual series champ. Force's victory moved him closer to the top spot, 16 points behind Bazemore while former points leader Del Worsham, who had led the standings following the second race of the year, dropped to the third spot, 16 points behind Force.


* Jason Line, a Terrell, N.C. resident and the 1993 Stock eliminator champion, earned his first professional NHRA victory behind the wheel of his KB Framers Pontiac Grand Am. Line's teammate, defending NHRA POWERade champion Greg Anderson, left the starting line early in his Vegas General Construction Grand Am and was disqualified, giving Line his first win in three career final round appearances. Line and Anderson have met in the final round at three of the last four events with Anderson winning the first two meetings (Houston and Bristol, Tenn.).

* Line also recorded the first No. 1 qualifying position of his 12-race pro career with his pass of 6.802 at 202.33 in his Grand Am.

* With the runner-up finish Anderson increased his lead in the POWERade standings to a 289-point margin over Kurt Johnson. With the victory, Line is 24 points out of the No. 2 position.

* Notable DNQ's: Allen Johnson, Darrell Alderman and Ron Krisher.

* Due to severe weather conditions, the final round matchup of the NHRA King Demon Crown between Anderson and David Connolly was postponed. The lucrative bonus program will be completed Saturday, May 29, during the 16th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Topeka, Kan. A special $25,000 'double-up' bonus offered by NHRA will be available to Anderson or Connolly if they win the Topeka event and the final round of the NHRA King Demon Crown. The final round will be held after the first day of qualifying in order to give both racers a pass down both lanes of the drag strip.


* Shawn Gann, from Stoneville, N.C., rode the Mac Tools/Gann Speed Suzuki to his third career victory and his first of the 2004 season. Gann's final round opponent, Andrew Hines, left the starting line early atop his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson giving Gann his first win in a more than a year (2003 Englishtown, N.J.)

* Hines secured the No. 1 qualifying spot for the third time this year and of his career, riding the Harley-Davidson to the top of the qualifying order with a pass of 7.167 at 184.62.

* Hines set the track E.T. record at 7.093 during his semifinal victory over Craig Treble. The former record of 7.103 was established in 2001 by Angelle Savoie.

* The NHRA Route 66 Nationals was the fourth of 15 national events for the two-wheel category.

* Hines increased his lead in the POWERade standings to a 53-point advantage over Gann, who moved up to second place from the No. 7 spot with the victory. Hines' teammate and fellow Harley-Davidson rider, GT Tonglet is 13 points behind Gann in the No. 3 spot.


* 20 different competitors recorded career-best numbers in either elapsed time, speed, or both. The Funny Car category had 10 drivers reset their personal numbers while seven Top Fuel drivers and three Pro Stock Bike riders also improved their numbers.


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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Scott Weis , Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , David Grubnic , Craig Treble , Scott Kalitta , Brandon Bernstein , Allen Johnson , Jason Line , David Connolly , Andrew Hines , Bob Vandergriff , GT Tonglet