Force's final round streak ends in Sonoma semis Highlights: The streak ran out for John Force at Infineon Raceay where the 12-time champion's streak of consecutive final round appearances along with his bid for a sweep of the three events in...
Force's final round streak ends in Sonoma semis
The streak ran out for John Force at Infineon Raceay where the 12-time champion's streak of consecutive final round appearances along with his bid for a sweep of the three events in the Western Swing ended in a semifinal loss to Gary Scelzi in the 16th annual Fram/Autolite Nationals.
Force, the defending event champion, failed to reach the final round for the first time in five races when his 5.028 second time in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang was not quite good enough to run down Scelzi's 4.954 in the Oakley Dodge.
Despite his failure to successfully defend his championship in the Fram/Autolite Nationals, Force did manage to make up some more ground on the two drivers immediately ahead of him in the NHRA POWERade point standings. The 108-time tour winner gained 42 points on teammate Tony Pedregon and 23 on second place Whit Bazemore.
Pedregon, driving the CYastrol SYNTEC Ford, was ousted in the first round for the third consecutive event and saw his lead shrink to 44 points as the tour moves to Brainerd, Minn., for the Aug. 15-17 Lucas Oil Nationals.
POWERade Series points (Unofficial after 15 of 23 races):
FUNNY CAR: 1. Tony Pedregon, 1210; 2. Whit Bazemore, 1166; 3. John Force, 1011; 4. Del Worsham, 944; 5. Gary Densham, 836; 6. Ron Capps, 830; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 780; 8. Gary Scelzi, 718; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 706; 10. Johnny Gray, 689.
TOP FUEL: 1. Larry Dixon, 1462; 2. Doug Kalitta, 1152; 3. Darrell Russell, 880; 4. Cory McClenathan, 778; 5. Tony Schumacher, 773; 6. David Baca, 731; 7. John Smith, 685; 8. Doug Herbert, 682; 9. Brandon Bernstein, 629; 10. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 620.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, 1337; 2. Kurt Johnson, 1298; 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 982; 4. Warren Johnson, 978; 5. Allen Johnson, 707; 6. Ron Krisher, 671; 7. Mike Edwards, 649; 8. Scott Geoffrion, 638; 9. Bruce Allen, 579; 10. Greg Stanfield, 540.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Geno Scali, 784; 2. Angelle Savoie, 596; 3. Shawn Gann, 567; 4. Craig Treble, 503; 5. Antron Brown, 500; 6. Reggie Showers, 482; 7. Tie, Mike Berry and. Andrew Hines, 455 each; 9. Fred Collis, 451; 10. Karen Stoffer, 436.
TEAM CASTROL Details:
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car Qualifying position and performance: 1st at 4.814 seconds, 316.90 mph. Race results: Beat Dale Creasy Jr., Tommy Johnson Jr.; lost to Gary Scelzi.
Gained 23 points on second place Whit Bazemore and 42 on points leader and teammate Tony Pedregon despite failing to reach the final round for the first time in the last five events.
"Main thing we've got to do is fix Tony's car. That will be our primary focus. I gained some ground today but not enough to make much difference (in the race for the championship). JOHN FORCE.
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.837 seconds, 309.70 mph. Race results: Lost to Keith Jackson.
Third consecutive first round defeat enabled Whit Bazemore to reduce his points lead to just 44 with eight races remaining.
"What can you say? Same clutch problems we've had the last two weeks. There's something there that isn't obvious to (Crew Chiefs) John Medlen and Dickie Venables. Obviously, we've got to fix it and soon." TONY PEDREGON.
GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:
Qualifying position and performance: 17th at 5.076 seconds, 295.85 mph. Race results: Failed to make the 16-car starting lineup.
First time outside the show in 37 races. He last failed to qualify in October, 2001, at Las Vegas.
"I know the car isn't cursed, but you want to blame it on something. The last three races, we haven't broken the 5.00 second barrier, haven't run 300, haven't won a round and have fallen back to fifth in points. But we'll fix it and we'll be back after 'em at Brainerd (and the upcoming Lucas Oil Nationals)." GARY DENSHAM.
Next events: Lucas Oil Nationals, Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 15-17; Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis, Ind., Aug. 29-Sept. 1; Keystone Nationals, Reading, Pa., Sept. 14; O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Memphis, Tenn., Sept. 21; NHRA Route 66 Nationals, Joliet, Ill., Sept. 28.