SM: Rick Jackson Racing Pomona final report

Event: Pomona


Pomona, Calif. - Tony Bartone has captured yet another NHRA National Event title for Rick Jackson Racing. The Long Island City, NY driver did so in dramatic fashion after setting a National Record elapsed time while winning the Top Alcohol Funny Car division at the 51st Annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Valvoline contested at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. The victory was Bartone's 32nd of his career and his third national event victory driving for Rick Jackson Racing.

Bartone's march to the event title began with a round two match-up against Alexis Dejoria, the daughter of Paul Mitchell Hair Products and Tequila Patron founder John Paul Dejoria. The race, which was the first time Dejoria and Bartone had met in NHRA competition, was over before it officially began; as Dejoria had difficulty staging her Tequila Patron sponsored Monte Carlo bodied TAFC within the 7-second time limit. This triggered the red-light in her lane and sent the Centre Pointe Collision Center sponsored Mustang on a solo run. Bartone covered the quarter mile track in 5.521 seconds at a speed of 263.92 miles per hour and propelled him to a semi-final rubber match with West Covina, Calif.'s Steve Gasparrelli.

Prior to the semi-final round, the Jackson Racing team made some significant tuning changes to their Blown Alcohol Funny Car after they noticed how well the car had improved during the weekend. The changes to the Steve Boggs and Darren Mayer tune up paid off in spades as Bartone proved his amazing 5.449 of last season was no fluke, with a stellar 5.460 second elapsed time at a booming speed of 264.08 MPH to capture the round win and send the Santa Clarita, Calif. team to the money round. Gasparrelli recorded his best elapsed time of the weekend, a 5.553 ET in a losing effort.

The final round opponent for Bartone would be Doug Gordon, who consistently had improved his cars performance during the entire event. Both drivers left the starting line with identical reaction times; however Boggs and Bartone saved their best effort of the weekend for the finale'. The Centre Pointe Mustang won the race and recorded a 5.452 second elapsed time at 264.70 mph, while Gordon trailed with a 5.579 ET to earn the runner-up position. Bartone's 5.452 eclipsed the existing record 5.455 set by TAFC kingpin Frank Manzo.

"This was a total team effort and it's been a long time coming," stated Bartone, who's last NHRA National Event victory came in 2009 in Las Vegas. "Steve, Darren, Chris, Lew, Javier, Scott and of course the big guy Rick Jackson work their tail off, week in and week out. To be able to kick off the 2011 season with a National Event victory and having both ends of the National Record is an incredible feeling. We'd like to thank our families who let us come out here and have fun at the race track and of course all our fans and marketing partners for their continued support. This is an awesome feeling and I look forward to building on this victory during the entire year."

-source: rick jackson racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Bartone , Frank Manzo , Doug Gordon , John Paul Jr. , Alexis Dejoria
Tags funny car, winternationals