Reading2: John Force Racing eliminations summary

Highlights: Tony Pedregon extended his lead over second place Whit Bazemore to 94 points despite an early exit from the ill-fated 19th annual Lucas Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. The No. 4 qualifier, Pedregon was upset by Dale Creasy...

Highlights: Tony Pedregon extended his lead over second place Whit Bazemore to 94 points despite an early exit from the ill-fated 19th annual Lucas Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

The No. 4 qualifier, Pedregon was upset by Dale Creasy Jr. when the Castrol SYNTEC Ford he drives for boss and teammate John Force lost traction halfway down the quarter mile course.

An area-wide power outage delayed the professional final rounds for 45 minutes and further extended racing for sportsman drivers including those in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car.

Track officials were able to activate portable generators that delivered the minimum necessary power to operate the starting system and the timing equipment. Sportsman champions were crowned later Sunday.

Gary Densham was the most successful of the three Team Castrol drivers, reaching the semifinals in his Ford before being ousted by eventual race winner Tim Wilkerson. In addition to winning his first-ever racing rounds at Maple Grove, Densham set a track speed record (327.27 mph) and earned the sixth Budweiser No. 1 qualifying bonus of his career.

Densham a two-time winner in this, his last season with the team, had the quickest car for the second straight week. After running 4.723 seconds last week at Joliet, Ill., he logged a best of 4.749 at Maple Grove.

John Force, who qualified just behind Densham, was on his way to a first round victory over unheralded Terry Haddock when an overly aggressive clutch cause the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford to go into a wheelstand halfway down the track. With the front wheels in the air, Force was forced to abort the run.

In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher won for the third time in four races and, in the process, lowered the NHRA national record to 4.441 seconds. In Pro Stock, Warren Johnson won for the 92nd time in his career, second only to Force.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: No. 2 at 4.787 seconds, 318.39 mph.
Race results: Lost to Terry Haddock..

Notable: Extended qualifying streak to 320 consecutive events but was ousted in the first round when his car went into a wheelstand at halftrack, forming him to abort the run. Quotable: "The clutch worked way too good. It was trying to run 4.60 and we didn't really want it to. That's the highest the front end has been up in awhile. It was pretty exciting." -- John Force.

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car
Qualifying position and performance: No. 4 at 4.803 seconds, 316.67 mph.
Race results: Lost to Dale Creasy Jr.

Notable: Despite loss, added 25 points to his lead in the race for the 2003 POWERade Championship. Quotable: "We had a chance to really put some distance between ourselves and (Whit) Bazemore and we didn't get it done. You can't say any more than that. It was very disappointing." -- TONY PEDREGON.

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: No. 1 at 4.749 seconds, 327.27 mph.
Race results: Beat Cory Lee, Del Worsham; lost to Tim Wilkerson.

Notable: Won his first two competitive rounds at Maple Grove Raceway and set a track speed record (327.27 mph). Quotable: "I thought it was our day but when we lost lane choice to (Tim) Wilkerson, our car didn't like it so well in the left lane. But we set a track speed record and went some rounds so that was all good." -- GARY DENSHAM.

Next events: AC/Delco Las Vegas Nationals, Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 26; Automobile Club of Southern California World Finals, Pomona, Calif., Nov. 9.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Tim Wilkerson , Cory Lee , Terry Haddock