JACKSON RACING RIDES LOW ET TO SUNDAY ELIMINATIONS
Pomona, Calif. - It is believed by many the phrase, "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," is the official creed of the United Postal Service. The Rick Jackson Racing team will happily take possession of this motto today after recording the low elapsed time in eliminations during their first round victory at the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Valvoline contested in Pomona, California at Auto Club Raceway.
The Centre Pointe Collision Center sponsored Ford Mustang Top Alcohol Funny Car team of car owner Rick Jackson entered the pit area of one of NHRA's most hallowed grounds today under rain, near freezing temperatures and even some hail. The prospects of racing today seemed bleak; however, the sun came out, the track dried and the Santa Clarita, Calif. team prepared for the final qualifying session of the event. Although a tire-shaking mid-8 second elapsed time was the result, driver Tony Bartone was quietly optimistic his Steve Boggs lead crew could fine tune their Blown Alcohol Funny Car for a round one rematch from last week's disappointing loss against Ken Webster in Phoenix.
"In qualifying we try very hard to inch up with the tune-up," noted Bartone, the Long Island City, NY business owner who claimed his 30th National Event victory at this event two years ago in his driving debut with Rick Jackson Racing. "We put down a good baseline run on Thursday but knew there was plenty left in the car. With weather and track conditions looking very good for Q-2, we were a little too aggressive and the car went right towards the wall. But, we learned a lot during that pass, so we'll be ready to go for round one tonight."
And the Centre Pointe team lived up to Bartone's optimism. Qualified in the 6th position, they lined up against Ken Webster, from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada who placed his Chevrolet Monte Carlo bodied TAFC in the 9th spot with a solid 5.685 ET. At the flash of the green the two drivers were virtually wired together, with Bartone grabbing a slight 0.003 second advantage. The Centre Pointe Collision Ford incrementally increased their lead down the entire 1,320 foot race course and captured the round win recording a 5.538 second elapsed time at an off pace speed of 257.24 miles per hour. Bartone will match up against Alexis Dejoria in round two tomorrow and holds the choice of lanes.
"The car got real loose at about half track on and Tony really had to drive it down there," noted team owner Rick Jackson. "We had some very good incremental numbers and with the weather forecast looking better tomorrow, we are very confident our car and driver will come to play tomorrow. I can't begin to thank the crew enough for the quality effort they put in day in and day out. We have a lot of friends and marketing partners here for this event so we'd like nothing more than to reward them with three round wins tomorrow."
-source: rick jackson racing