Pomona II: John Force Racing eliminations summary

Highlights: Tony Pedregon pushed the Castrol SYNTEC Ford through the quarter mile timers in 4.721 and 4.722 seconds but couldn't close the deal in the 39th annual Automobile Club of Southern California Finals at Pomona Raceway. Pedregon's...

Highlights: Tony Pedregon pushed the Castrol SYNTEC Ford through the quarter mile timers in 4.721 and 4.722 seconds but couldn't close the deal in the 39th annual Automobile Club of Southern California Finals at Pomona Raceway.

Pedregon's quickest time, which put him on the pole for the eighth time in this, the season in which he dethroned boss and teammate John Force, equaled but did not better Force's existing NHRA national record.

Pedregon came close again in the first round when his 4.722 got the best of older brother Cruz, but while trying to squeeze a little more performance out of the combination in round two, the SYNTEC Mustang overpowered the track against the Pontiac of Cory Lee.

Meanwhile, Force suffered his fourth foul start defeat of the 2003 season in a second round match with Gary Scelzi. The 12-time series champion and 109-time tour winner had fouled out just four times in 24 seasons entering the current campaign.

Gary Densham, driver of the Team Castrol/Automobile Club of Southern California Ford, also was victimized by a loss of traction, exiting in round one after qualifying No. 2 behind Pedregon.

Unfortunately for Densham, Del Worsham's victory in the season finale enabled him to vault into fourth place in the final driver standings, leaving the Team Castrol entries occupying the first, third and fifth place positions.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: No. 5 at 4.771, 3321.42 mph.
Race results: Beat Tony Bartone; lost to Gary Scelzi.
Notable: Extended qualifying streak to 323 consecutive events.

Quotable: "I couldn't believe I red-lighted (fouled). I never saw Scelzi. I got down there to look for TV and they told me I red-lighted.JMan, I'm just glad this season is over. I'm gonna lose 15 pounds, get my motivation back and win back my title." -- John Force.

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: No. 1 at 4.721, 326.79 mph.
Race results: Beat Cruz Pedregon; lost to Cory Lee.
Notable: The 2003 POWERade Champion equaled teammate John Force's 4.721 second national record and ran 4.722 during Sunday's eliminations.

Quotable: "That's not the way we wanted to end it. We were going for the record. We thought the conditions were there, the track was there but it just wouldn't hold it. But that doesn't detract from what we were able to accomplish. It was a great season and regardless of what happens, no one can ever take that away from us." -- TONY PEDREGON.

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: No. 2 at 4.749, 327.43 mph.
Race results: Lost to Bob Bode.
Notable: Fastest speed ever for a Ford race car at 327.43 mph.

Quotable: "It went out there and smoked the tires. I tried to pedal it and it blew the blower off. I hated it for AAA, for Castrol and for Ford, but that happens." -- GARY DENSHAM.

Next events: K&N Filters Winternationals, Pomona, Calif., Feb. 19-22, 2004..

-jfr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Del Worsham , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Cory Lee , Bob Bode