Fields set for eliminations for Auto Club finals. POMONA, Calif. - Rain canceled another day of racing at the 38th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Saturday at Pomona Raceway. Weather permitting, the final eliminations...
Fields set for eliminations for Auto Club finals.
POMONA, Calif. - Rain canceled another day of racing at the 38th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Saturday at Pomona Raceway.
Weather permitting, the final eliminations of the season finale will still run as scheduled on Sunday. The Budweiser Shootout, a special bonus event for Top Fuel, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, during the K&N Filters Winternationals, the 2003 season opener.
Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations will feature a modified lineup in all four pro categories. NHRA rules allow for provisional starting spots for the top 10 drivers in the POWERade point standings who are not qualified after only one round of qualifying has been completed.
Darrell Russell, John Force, Warren Johnson and Angelle Savoie are the No. 1 qualifiers of the $2 million race, the final of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"Due to the fact that we are at the end of the season and we need a conclusion to this year's NHRA POWERade racing season as we have the awards ceremony for the pro and sportsman drivers on Monday, our decision is to cancel Saturday's activity but we are going to run Sunday," said Graham Light, senior vice president of racing operations. "With regards to qualifying we established a couple of scenarios a couple of years ago if we had one or no qualifying runs. Here we have one run in, but our procedure clearly says the top 10 drivers in each category will be assured a starting position in the field."
In Top Fuel, Russell remains the No. 1 qualifier from his run on Thursday. Andrew Cowin was inserted into the field because of the rule, knocking out Clay Millican. It is Russell's first career No. 1 qualifier position.
Kenny Bernstein is making his final appearance as a driver. He will face Yuichi Oyama in the first round and will retire after the race. Bernstein was also the top seed in the Budweiser Shootout, and will not drive in February's rescheduled event. His son, Brandon, is slated to drive the Budweiser King dragster next year, and will take his father's place in the special event.
The top qualifier in Funny Car is Force, the points leader by 31 points. The Funny Car category is the only pro class that has yet to decide its champion. The No. 2 in points, Tony Pedregon, is qualified in the No. 13 spot.
The rule changed the positions of five drivers. Johnny Gray, who was qualified 16th, moved up to the No. 14 position as Tommy Johnson Jr. and Scotty Cannon were inserted into the No. 15 and No. 16 seeds respectively. Stephen Neese and Bob Gilbertson were removed from the field because of the rule.
Johnson is the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock. George Marnell, Mark Whisnant and Allen Johnson were inserted into the 16-car field, replacing Greg Stanfield, V. Gaines and JR Carr.
Savoie is the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock Bike. Steve Johnson was moved into the No. 16 spot because of points, bumping Redell Harris out of the field.