Pomona II: Post race notes

Post Race Notes: 39th Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA finals, Nov. 6-9, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif. TOP FUEL * In what was possibly the final start of his career, Kenny Bernstein, from Lake Forest, Calif., earned his...

Post Race Notes: 39th Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA finals, Nov. 6-9, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif.


* In what was possibly the final start of his career, Kenny Bernstein, from Lake Forest, Calif., earned his third consecutive victory and fourth in five races when he defeated Scott Kalitta in the final round. Bernstein earned his 69th career victory when he pedaled his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster to a run of 6.039 seconds at 194.41 mph, while Kalitta's Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster smoked the tires at the start as he coasted to a pass of 14.656 at 58.68.

* Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., blasted his U.S. Army dragster to the fourth quickest run in NHRA history (4.455 at 332.10) to claim his fifth No. 1 qualifying position and ninth of his career. Schumacher clocked a 4.4-second performance on all four of his qualifying attempts. Schumacher's 4.455-second run established a Pomona Raceway track record.

* Doug Kalitta set the NHRA national speed record with his 333.25-mph performance in a first round victory over Doug Herbert. Kalitta held the previous mark at 333.00-mph, which he set in September at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

* On Saturday, Doug Kalitta captured his second career Budweiser Shootout victory (also 1998) when he used a starting-line advantage to edge Tony Schumacher in the quickest side-by-side run in NHRA history. Kalitta drove his Mac Tools dragster to a performance of 4.479 at 330.88 to narrowly defeat Schumacher's quicker, but losing, 4.471 at 329.58. The victory earned Kalitta a $100,000 bonus from Anheuser-Busch.

* With the victory, Bernstein moved into sixth place in the POWERade points standings. Bernstein, who retired following the 2002 season-finale at Pomona Raceway, returned to action after his son Brandon suffered season-ending back injuries as the result of a crash in New Jersey in mid-May. Kenny Bernstein finished with 1,111 points, while Brandon earned 629 in the eight races in which he competed. The Budweiser duo's combined 1,740 points would have been good enough for a second place finish.

* Notable DNQ: John Smith


* Del Worsham, from Chino Hill, Calif., earned his third victory of the season in one of the strangest races of the year after teammate Cory Lee was disqualified in the final round. Worsham's Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird fouled at the start of the race handing the victory to Lee. However, Lee's Artisan Entertainment/T-2 Firebird crossed the centerline, giving Worsham his 14th career victory.

* Tony Pedregon, from Chino Hills, Calif., earned his eighth No. 1 qualifying position of the season when he equaled the quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history. Pedregon clocked a performance of 4.721 at 326.79 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to record his 25th career top qualifying award. Pedregon's run set the Pomona Raceway track record.

* Gary Scelzi established the Pomona Raceway track speed record when he raced to the third fastest Funny Car speed in NHRA history during qualifying. He drove his Oakley Dodge Stratus to a speed of 328.38 mph on Saturday.

* Worsham earned a $1,000 bonus by winning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' award when he defeated Tim Wilkerson by 0.0034 of-a-second margin of victory in the semifinals of Funny Car. Worsham was the fourth Funny Car driver to win the Motel 6 award in 2003.

* Worsham's victory moved him into fourth place in the final point standings as he passed Gary Densham. This is Worsham's third consecutive top five finish in the POWERade standings. The three Ford Mustangs of John Force Racing finished first (Tony Pedregon), third (Force) and fifth (Densham) in the standings.

* Notable DNQ: Dean Skuza


* Greg Anderson, from Charlotte, N.C., won his third consecutive race and set the mark for most Pro Stock victories in a season, 12, after defeating rival Kurt Johnson in the final round. The previous mark was set by three-time champion Darrell Alderman, who won 11 races in 1991. Anderson drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a run of 6.735 at 204.88 to defeat Johnson, who recorded a run of 6.749 at 205.26 in his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier. It was the sixth time that Anderson had defeated Johnson in the final round in 2003 and the 16th victory of his career.

* Anderson also set the mark for most round victories in a season with 67 round wins, eclipsing the mark of 65 set by John Force in 1996. Anderson's 2003 record was 67-11.

* Anderson raced to his fifth consecutive No. 1 qualifying position and 14th of 2003 when he clocked a track record run of 6.733 at 205.51 on Saturday.

* Bob Glidden, who earned 10 NHRA Pro Stock titles and 85 victories, competed for the first time in 2003 posting career-best performances of 6.812 at 203.98, good enough for the 18th qualifying position. Glidden last came out of retirement for a brief time at the start of the 2002 season.

* By virtue of his record-setting victory, Anderson increased his points lead and finished the season with 2,217 points, 463 ahead of Johnson. Defending series champion Jeg Coughlin finished third, while six-time champion Warren Johnson was fourth.

* Notable DNQs: Scott Geoffrion, Bob Glidden, Darrell Alderman and Mark Pawuk


* Craig Treble, from Chandler, Ariz., earned his second consecutive victory and seventh of his career when three-time Pro Stock Bike champion Angelle Savoie fouled at the start, handing the win to Treble. Treble clocked a run of 7.129 at 184.07 on his Matco Tools/Nitro Fish Suzuki.

* Treble also recorded his second consecutive and third career No. 1 qualifying award with a track record elapsed time of 7.075 at 192.47 on his Suzuki. Treble's 192.47-mph speed also was top speed of the event.

* Geno Scali earned his first career NHRA championship Saturday when he qualified for final eliminations. Entering the Auto Club Finals, Scali led Savoie by 117 points. He qualified his Trim-Tex Suzuki second with a run of 7.097 at 189.02 to secure the Pro Stock Bike title. Savoie finished second, 78 points behind Scali, while Treble was fifth. Shawn Gann finished a career-best third in the Pro Stock Bike standings.


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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Jeg Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Gary Densham , Bob Glidden , Craig Treble , Scott Kalitta , Geno Scali , Tim Wilkerson , Scott Geoffrion , Cory Lee , Jesse James