Sonoma: Post race notes

Post Race Notes: 16th Annual Fram-Autolite Nationals Aug. 1-3, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. TOP FUEL * Larry Dixon, from Indianapolis, earned his eighth victory of the season when he defeated first-time Top Fuel finalist David Baca in the...

Post Race Notes:
16th Annual Fram-Autolite Nationals
Aug. 1-3, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif.


* Larry Dixon, from Indianapolis, earned his eighth victory of the season when he defeated first-time Top Fuel finalist David Baca in the final round, becoming the fourth driver in NHRA history to sweep the Western Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.). Dixon drove his Miller Lite dragster to a run of 4.640 seconds at 319.67 mph to outdistance Baca, who recorded a performance of 4.805 at 298.47 behind the wheel of his American Racing Wheels dragster. This was Dixon's 33rd career victory and first at Infineon Raceway. The victory marks the first time in his career that Dixon has won three consecutive events. Dixon needs one more victory to tie the mark for most Top Fuel victories in a season (nine), which he holds with Gary Scelzi.

* In qualifying, Doug Kalitta qualified in the No. 1 position for the eighth time this season and 15th of his career. Kalitta blasted his Mac Tools dragster to a track record run of 4.531 at 325.77 to lead the Top Fuel order.

* With the victory, Dixon extended his points lead in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel standings to 310 points over Kalitta. With eight events remaining in the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Dixon is more than 15 rounds of competition ahead of Kalitta.


* Gary Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., became the 13th driver in NHRA history to earn victories in Top Fuel and Funny Car. Scelzi, who earned 25 career Top Fuel victories, drove his Oakley Dodge Stratus to the Funny Car victory over Dean Skuza's Pontiac Firebird, which featured a special paint-scheme tribute to rock-and-roll singer Meat Loaf. Scelzi used a slight starting line advantage and a performance of 4.958 at 312.21 in his Dodge to edge Skuza's Pontiac, which recorded a run of 4.966 at 306.74.

* With the victory, Scelzi becomes the first driver in NHRA history to have earned victories in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car.

* John Force powered his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to his third No. 1 qualifying position of the 2003 season and 115th of his career. Force clocked a track record elapsed time of 4.814 at 316.90 to pace the Funny Car field.

* Scelzi set the Infineon Raceway track speed record at 318.93 mph during qualifying.

* Scelzi's victory vaulted him into the top 10 of the NHRA POWERade Funny Car standings. He currently sits in the eighth position with 718 points. Funny Car points leader Tony Pedregon, who fell in the opening round of eliminations for the third consecutive event, has seen his points lead over Whit Bazemore dwindle from 143 points following the Sears Craftsman Nationals, outside St. Louis, to 44 points after the three-race Western Swing.

* Notable DNQ's: Gary Densham and Bob Gilbertson.


* Defending POWERade Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin won his first race since last November by knocking off category points leader Greg Anderson in the final round. Coughlin used a .019 reaction time and a run of 6.839 at 201.07 in his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier to earn the holeshot victory over Anderson's Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am, which clocked a quicker, but losing, run of 6.798 at 203.37. The victory was Coughlin's first in four final round appearances this season.

* Anderson continues to be the class of the Pro Stock field as he earned his ninth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 12th of his career when he powered his Pontiac to a track record performance of 6.750 at 205.10 to anchor the 16-car Pro Stock field.

* Coughlin earned a $1,000 bonus by winning the Motel 6 'Who Got The Light' award when he edged Anderson by 0.0104 of-a-second margin of victory in the Pro Stock final.

* Coughlin's victory moved him into third place in the POWERade Pro Stock standings, surpassing six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson, who was defeated in round one of eliminations by his son Kurt. Anderson extended his points lead when he defeated K. Johnson in the semifinals. He now leads K. Johnson by 139 points and Coughlin by 355 points.

* Notable DNQ's: Darrell Alderman, Jim Yates and George Marnell.


* Geno Scali continued his career-best season by winning his third event of the year and fourth of his career. Scali clocked a run of 7.177 at 189.68 on his Trim-Tex Suzuki to hold off first-time finalist Andrew Hines, who turned in a run of 7.264 at 180.48 on his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson.

* Craig Treble rebounded from his recent performance slump to capture his first career top qualifying position. Treble rode his Matco Tools Suzuki to a track record elapsed time of 7.062 at 189.79 to lead the Pro Stock Bike field.

* Hines clocked the fastest Pro Stock Bike speed in NHRA history when he rode his V-Rod-powered Harley-Davidson to a speed of 195.28 mph during qualifying. Hines failed to record a run within one-percent of the 195.28 (193.33 mph or faster) speed to certify it as a national record.

* In the first round of Pro Stock Bike eliminations, six riders fouled at the start. Only one red light was recorded during the rest of eliminations.

* With six events remaining on the Pro Stock Bike schedule, Scali's victory extended his points lead to 188 over Angelle Savoie, who lost in round one for the third consecutive race, and fifth time in 2003. Savoie entered the 2003 season with six first round losses in her career.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , David Baca , Gary Densham , Craig Treble , Geno Scali , George Marnell , Andrew Hines