Topeka: Team Castrol event summary

Event: 14th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX, ninth of 23 races comprising the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Site: Heartland Park-Topeka, Topeka, Kan. Date: May 26, 2002. Event winners: TOP FUEL Darrell Russell,...

Event: 14th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX, ninth of 23 races comprising the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Site: Heartland Park-Topeka, Topeka, Kan.

Date: May 26, 2002.

Event winners: TOP FUEL  Darrell Russell, FUNNY CAR  Tony Pedregon, PRO
STOCK  Troy Coughlin, TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER  Bill Reichert, TOP ALCOHOL
FUNNY CAR  Larry Miner, COMPETITION  Mike Trumble Jr., SUPER STOCK  Terry
Emmons, STOCK  Jim Hughes, SUPER COMP  Tommy Phillips, SUPER GAS  Craig
Anderson, SUPER STREET  Ray Todd.

PEDREGON REPEATS AT O'REILLY SUMMER NATIONALS

Tony Pedregon upset boss and teammate John Force in the semifinals and beat Tim Wilkerson in the finals to win the O'Reilly Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX for the second straight year.

Pedregon, the No. 3 qualifier, drove his Castrol SYNTEC Ford to top speed of the meet at 320.58 miles per hour, in the final round, earning his second win of the season and the 15th of his career.

The victory propelled the 37-year-old Californian into third place in the POWERade Funny Car driver standings behind his Castrol teammates.

The result enabled the Team Castrol Mustangs to extend to nine the number of consecutive races in which at least one has reached the final round. Each of the team drivers Pedregon, Force and Gary Densham has won two times this year.

TEAM CASTROL Details:

JOHN FORCE, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car Qualifying position and performance: 7th at 4.914 seconds, 318.39 mph.

Race results: Beat Whit Bazemore, Johnny Gray; lost to Tony Pedregon.

Notable: Remained two points behind teammate Gary Densham in the points race.

Quotable: "What a team and what a race. I thought maybe I had caught Tony (in the semifinals) but he came on the radio and said, 'John, I don't think so.' I'm so proud of everyone. Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly, Tony, (Gary) Densham, John Medlen, Dickie Venables, Jimmy Prock. They're the ones who make it go." JOHN FORCE

TONY PEDREGON, Castrol SYNTEC Ford Mustang Funny Car

Qualifying position and performance: 3rd at 4.886 seconds, 314.97 mph.

Race results: Beat Dale Creasy Jr., Frank Pedregon, John Force and Tim Wilkerson.

Notable: Repeated as Funny Car Champion, earning his 15th career victory and moving up to third in points behind teammates Gary Densham and John Force.

Quotable: "Our car picked up the performance when it needed to. When John beat (Whit) Bazemore in round one, that opened up the door for us to move up (in points). Now I feel like we're back in the hunt for the championship."

TONY PEDREGON.

GARY DENSHAM, Team Castrol/Auto Club of Southern California Ford Funny Car:

Qualifying position and performance: 8th at 4.924 seconds, 308.71 mph. Race results: Beat Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham; lost to Tim Wilkerson. Notable: Retained two-point lead over John Force in race for the 2002 NHRA POWERade points championship. Quotable: "We had a magneto problem in the semis but, all-in-all, to put three of these Mustangs in the semifinals was awesome and we're still in the points lead. It's all good." GARY DENSHAM.

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol AccuVision Pontiac, Competition Eliminator Qualifying position and performance: Did Not Participate.

ROB SLAVINSKI, Castrol Super Clean dragster, Super Comp Eliminator Qualifying position and performance: Did Not Participate. * * * *

Next event(s): Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals, Joliet, Ill., May 31-June 2; Pontiac Excitement Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, June 13-16; Sears Craftsman Nationals, Madison, Ill., June 27-30; Mopar Mile-High Nationals, July 19-21, Denver, Colo.; Lucas Oil Northwest Nationals, July 26-28, Seattle, Wash; Fram/Autolite Nationals, Aug. 2-4, Sonoma, Calif.

-tc/jfr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Troy Coughlin , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Dale Creasy Jr. , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Tim Wilkerson , Johnny Gray , Jim Hughes , Mike Trumble , Bill Reichert , Austin Coil , John Medlen