POMONA CA - SUMMIT FastNews - Mike Dunn capped a record-breaking weekend with a Top Fuel victory Monday at the rain-delayed AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. Team Mopar dragster driver Dunn, from Wrightsville, Pa., ended a two-year...
POMONA CA - SUMMIT FastNews - Mike Dunn capped a record-breaking weekend with a Top Fuel victory Monday at the rain-delayed AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
Team Mopar dragster driver Dunn, from Wrightsville, Pa., ended a two-year winless drought defeating defending Winternationals winner Larry Dixon. It was Dunn's sixth career Top Fuel victory, and first since the 1996 Pennzoil Nationals at Memphis, Tenn.
Tony Pedregon, Jeg Coughlin and Randy Daniels were also winners in their respective professional categories at the $1.7 million race, the first of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Dunn, who earned a $35,000 bonus from MBNA for setting the Top Fuel national elapsed time record with a 4.503 second top qualifying effort, continued his dominant performance in the final, posting a decisive 4.522 second run at 313.88 mph. Dixon lost traction at the start and limped to the finish in his dragster, running 13.595 at 60.85. "What a great weekend for the Mopar dragster," said Dunn, who ran consecutive 4.50-second runs during elimination wins over Bruce Sarver, Cory McClenathan and Tony Schumacher to advance to the final. "It's been a while since we tasted victory and this one is really sweet. To come here at Pomona and win the way we did is very rewarding. To qualify No. 1, set the national ET record and win the race all in the same weekend is as good as it gets." Pedregon, from Gardena, Calif., drove his John Force-owned Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to the Funny Car victory over Gary Densham. Pedregon claimed his sixth career victory with a 4.970 at 311.49, while Densham was a tick slower, running 5.047 at 282.13 in his NEC Dodge Avenger. "I'm glad we could get this race in today," said Pedregon, who defeated Jerry Toliver, Whit Bazemore and Dean Skuza to advance to the final. "Mentally it's tough to come in after a rain delay and go out in the first pair and run that well on a green track. I have to give all the credit to my guys for getting the car ready and to John (Force), he really kept me motivated. The NHRA did a great job of getting the track ready today after the conditions we had late Sunday. We just rolled right down the track." Jeg Coughlin won the battle between Pro Stock brothers, beating older brother Troy to the finish line. Coughlin, running an identical Oldsmobile Cutlass, claimed his sixth career victory, running 6.969 at 198.52 while Troy had problems at the starting line and crossed the finish line at a slower 11.667 at 76.64. "It was a good run," Coughlin said. "The crew was a little aggressive setting up the car and we were lucky to get it to the other end of the track." It was the first time in NHRA history two brothers have decided a Pro Stock final.
"We slept in beds next to each other last night at the hotel," Coughlin said. "It was a win-win situation for the entire team to have an all-Jeg's final and hopefully we will get to that point again later in the season." Daniels, from Grantsboro, N.C., earned his first career Pro Stock Truck victory, defeating Brad Jeter in a battle of Chevrolet S-10s. Daniels ran 7.652 at 175.55, putting the nose of his pickup across the finish line just in front of Jeter, who ran 7.705 at 176.28. "I didn't get enough sleep last night," said Daniels. "I was really nervous thinking about the race today. I tossed and turned all night. Winning is as great as I thought it would be. It's a big booster to win. maybe we can carry the momentum through the season."
Defending Winston champion Larry Kopp lowered the Pro Stock Truck national elapsed time record to 7.586 seconds during qualifying, but lost in the second round to Craig Eaton. The estimated four-day event attendance was 112,800. The next NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event will be the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, Feb. 25-28 at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. Courtesy of NHRA Communications
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