MADISON, Illinois- The promise of qualifying gave way to race day disappointment for Team Castrol in the fourth annual Sears Craftsman Nationals Saturday at Gateway International Raceway. In the Funny Car class, No. 2 ...
MADISON, Illinois- The promise of qualifying gave way to race day disappointment for Team Castrol in the fourth annual Sears Craftsman Nationals Saturday at Gateway International Raceway.
In the Funny Car class, No. 2 qualifier Tony Pedregon, a winner the previous week at Kirkersville, Ohio, was beaten in round one by Dean Skuza and No. 4 qualifier John Force succumbed to points leader Jerry Toliver in the semifinals ending at five races Team Castrol's winning streak.
In Pro Stock Truck, rookie Rob Slavinski rolled into a four-race hiatus on a positive note by overcoming an engine fire and qualifying his Castrol Super Clean Chevy S-10 for the first time in the last five events.
Slavinski, a seven-time winner in the sportsman class, qualified 15th before falling to reigning Winston Champ Bob Panella Jr. in the first round.
Super Clean teammate Steve Johns, the No. 12 qualifier, pulled off another first round upset when he beat No. 5 qualifier Todd Patterson. Unfortunately, his 7.657 second time wasn't quite good enough to overcome Brian Self's 7.640 in round two.
Slavinski ran into problems on his third qualifying run. As he hit fifth gear, he felt something go very wrong in the engine. The resultant fire burned all the fuel lines, vacuum lines and electrical lines as well as the hood and engine shroud but the crew made repairs quickly enough that the Wallingford, Conn., driver didn't even miss the last qualifying round.
WINNERS: Top Fuel, Gary Scelzi defeated Kenny Bernstein; Funny Car, Jerry Toliver defeated Dean Skuza; Pro Stock, Ron Krisher defeated Greg Anderson; Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Hines defeated Angelle Seeling; Pro Stock Truck, John Coughlin defeated Bob Panella Jr. NEXT EVENT: Winston Showdown, Bristol Dragway, July 7-9.
JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 4th at 4.928 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Cory Lee, Bruce Sarver; lost to Jerry Toliver.
Notable: Force rebounded from a first round loss the previous week to set a trackspeed record of 315.27 mph.
Quotable: "We let it get away, but that's drag racing. It's a long season and we're going to be there for the long haul." - John Force
TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang
Qualifying position: 2nd at 4.911 seconds
Race Results: Lost to Dean Skuza.
Notable: Pedregon's SYNTEC Ford dropped a cylinder in round one.
Quotable: "This sport can be pretty humbling. I know the nature of it but I've gotten pretty tough. It's like a bad day fishing. We'll just make a bigger hook and go after some bigger fish out there." - Tony Pedregon.
ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: 15th at 7.645 seconds.
Race Results: Lost to Bob Panella Jr.
Notable: Made the 16-truck starting lineup for the first time in the last five races.
STEVE JOHNS, Castrol Super Clean Chevrolet S-10 Truck
Qualifying position: 12th at 7.636 seconds.
Race Results: Beat Todd Patterson; lost to Brian Self.
Notable: Earned an upset victory in the first round for the second straight race and came within .017 of a second of another upset in round two.