Pedregon sets track records but loses points lead.

Team Castrol stumbles in C.S.K. finals. Highlights: Tony Pedregon took Firebird Raceway track records away from his teammates during qualifying for the 19th annual Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Nationals, but he couldn't keep the POWERade points ...

Team Castrol stumbles in C.S.K. finals.

Highlights: Tony Pedregon took Firebird Raceway track records away from his teammates during qualifying for the 19th annual Checker/Schuck's/Kragen Nationals, but he couldn't keep the POWERade points lead.

Pedregon, winner of the season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals, led Funny Car qualifying by pushing his Castrol SYNTEC Ford to a time of 4.789 seconds at 322.11 miles per hour and seemed equal to the challenge at Phoenix when he stopped Scotty Cannon in the first round with a time of 4.870 seconds.

However, in round two, Pedregon was upset by Ron Capps (4.834-4.859) and when Capps beat Team Castrol's Gary Densham in the final round, he moved past Pedregon into the points lead.

Densham, who was the track speed record holder coming into the event, moved all the way up to No. 3 in points as a result of his performance and team owner John Force, who had been the track record holder for quarter mile time, moved back into the Top 10 despite a second round loss to Whit Bazemore.

Second Headline: Team Castrol Fords 1-2-3 in qualifying.

For the first time in history, the Team Castrol Fords of John Force, Gary Densham and Tony Pedregon qualified 1-2-3 for the CSK Nationals. Twice before, the team had managed to qualify 1-2-4 but never before in the top three spots.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car

Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.829 seconds, 321.81 mph.

Race results: Beat Dean Skuza; lost to Whit Bazemore.

Notable: Moved back into the Top 10 after a one event absence.

Quotable: "Qualifying 1-2-3 was a trip.`That's the first time we've ever done that. We ran good in the first round but we dropped a cylinder (against Bazemore) and it was over.`We'll work on that in testing (on Monday)." -- John Force.

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car

Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.789 seconds, 322.11 mph.

Race results: Beat Scotty Cannon; lost to Ron Capps.

Notable: Fell to second in points but left with Firebird International Raceway; records for time and speed.

Quotable: "Our car just didn't run in the middle (of the course) like it usually does. It could've been the clutch.`We don't know."`-- TONY PEDREGON.

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

Qualifying position and performance: 2nd at 4.807 seconds, 320.05 mph.

Race results: Beat Cruz Pedregon, Gary Scelzi, Whit Bazemore; lost to Ron Capps.

Notable: Moved from ninth to third in points with best-ever performance at Firebird Raceway.

Quotable: "What can you say?`Capps gambled and won.`He had a .003 reaction time.`That's almost perfect.`But you have to give him credit.JHe took out me and he took out Tony.`We'll just have to go get 'em in Florida." -- GARY DENSHAM.

Next events: 34th annual Mac Tools Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla.,
March 13-16; 4th annual Summitracing.com Nationals, Las Vegas, Nevada,
April 3-6; 16th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston, Texas, April 10-13.

-tc/jfr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Cruz Pedregon