Las Vegas day one test summary

Rookie Medlen impressive in opening day of NHRA testing at Las Vegas. LAS VEGAS -- NHRA Funny Car rookie Eric Medlen made his boss proud Friday during the opening day of NHRA preseason testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Medlen, ...

Rookie Medlen impressive in opening day of NHRA testing at Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS -- NHRA Funny Car rookie Eric Medlen made his boss proud Friday during the opening day of NHRA preseason testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Medlen, hired recently by John Force to drive the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang that was vacated by Tony Pedregon after his 2003 POWERade championship run, was impressive in his official debut by clocking a 4.797-second run at 324.28 mph. He also posted a 4.810 at 317.79 in another attempt.

NHRA teams are utilizing the three-day test session -- the first of three consecutive weekends of testing -- in preparation for the 44th annual K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb. 19-22 at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway. The $1.7 million race kicks off the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season in 2004. NHRA preseason testing sessions also are set for Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix next weekend (Feb. 7-8) and Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 13-15.

Though Medlen raised eyebrows with his effort, it was Force who made the quickest runs of the day. The 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion posted three runs quicker than 4.8 seconds in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang. Force's best effort was a 4.736-second run at 320.05 mph. He recorded two other runs -- a 4.771 at 293.28 and a 4.774 at 329.18.

Force Racing's third driver, Gary Densham, raced to a 4.784 at 319.67 in his Auto Club Mustang and followed that performance with a 4.824 at 306.26.

Del Worsham was the only other driver to get close to the finish line under power, but elected to shut down his Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird early with a 5.027 at 237.35.

Other notable drivers participating in the test who did not record a full pass included Whit Bazemore, Gary Scelzi, Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr., David Baca and Jerry Toliver.

Testing continues Saturday.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , David Baca , Tommy Johnson , Gary Densham , Jerry Toliver , Eric Medlen