Final Elimination's (Carlson Photos)
Don Schumacher's "Army of One" Top Fuel team (if I can use the quote) "put an exclamation point" on the championship with a win over upstart Morgan Lucas in the final run in the 2005 POWERade Top Fuel season. The team also set the record for most Top Fuel wins in a season with their amazing tenth victory of the year in 13 final round appearances. Runner-up Lucas was in his second straight final round, in his eighth race in the Joe Amato dragster. They will be a strong force in 2005. Based on the average point total of Morgan a the late Darrell Russell, the car would of finished in 5th place just ahead of David Grubnic in the standings. Morgan's first round win over Larry Dixon was THE race in Top Fuel, as both drivers went 4.51, with Morgan's .024 holeshot as the difference in the race.
No changes in the top 10 at this race, as all spots were pretty well spaced out heading into the event. The race saw the quickest bump in history with a great 4.64 becoming the new bench mark in the class. With new sponsors possibly multi car operations and potential new teams coming on board, 2005 looks to be promising. Hopefully Goodyear can develop a new safer tire, and the NHRA will consider going back to 90% as that was the biggest complaint I heard from fans of the sport. The sound has changed alot with the reduced percentage of the go fast juice.
01 Tony Schumacher 1994
Top Fuel round one
(W) Morgan Lucas (Lucas
Oil Dragster) 0.073 4.519 325.77
(W) David Grubnic (Zantrex
3 Dragster) 0.097 4.543 329.42
(W) Cory McClenathan (Carrier
Boyz/Berryman Drag0.088 4.546 325.69
(W) Brandon Bernstein (Budweiser/Lucas
Oil Drags0.079 4.718 304.46
(W) Scott Kalitta (Mac
Tools/Jesse James Dragste0.072 4.542 326.95
(W) David Baca (D. Baca
& Family Dragster) 0.089 4.568 325.06
(W) Tony Schumacher (U.S.
Army Dragster) 0.102 4.494 325.45
(W) Doug Kalitta(MAC Tools
Dragster) 0.117 4.598 274.61
Funny car had a little more drama heading into the final event of the year, because there were a number of potential changes to the top ten. None bigger than the race for #2 in the standings, as both Gary Scelzi and Del Worsham were locked in a tie heading into the 'Finals'. It got even more exciting when Gary dispatched Del in qualifying in the final session only to have Del retake the higher spot, by virtue of MPH (they has the exact ETs). Talk about close competition. Gary Densham and Eric Medlen were only separated by six points (4th and 5th) heading into the race, and Whit Bazemore was only another 16 points back. Tim Wilkerson (7th), Cruz Pedregon (8th), Tony Pedregon (9th) and Phil Burkart (10th) had only 81 points between them. (There was major drama in the final results).
In elimination's, the race became a huge advantage for the quicker car, The track became a one lane race track as the right lane went away big time, and got worse when Ron Capps oiled the track, causing a major clean-up. In round one Del got an easy win (4.99-8.58) over ex-teammate Johnny Gray when Gray smoked the tires. He would face the winner of the Burkart Cruz race. Teammate Burkart won that match-up handily and ran a much quicker 4.80, giving him lane choice. Would team orders take place. Having Cruzer go out in round one, opened the door for brother Tony to pass him in the standings, and he took advantage with a win over fore mentioned Capps. Gary Scelzi kept pace with Del, when he took out Bob Bode in the first round. Bazmore loss to TJ Jr., relegated him to 6th in the standings, and a tirade to 'Chief Starter' Rick Stewart on how lousy the right lane was. It captured on ESPN2 and had the Internet message boards humming in both support and bashing of Bazemore. Kudos to Whit for speaking his mind. The competitive spirit is very important so the fans can relate. Medlen defeated Wilkerson to keep pace with Densham, who defeated Jim Head. So the Del Worsham/ Phil Burkart race was huge. The two teams apparently had a meeting, and Phil gave Del the lane choice as he has much more at stake. A 50K difference in 2nd and 3rd, was what was at stake. And in Drag Racing, 50K is a hole bunch of Margarita mix. The lane choice was probably enough to guarantee a win,as by the end of racing for the top fuel classes, five right lane wins and 25 left lane victories were was end result. In their race both drivers were late off the starting line and Burkart did the expected, and smoked the tires giving Del the win. Del did go 4.78 in that race, so he would of been tough to beat. Scelzi kept pace though, with a shocking right lane victory over Tony Pedregon. The two drivers were one win away from a final round for what could be a $70,000 difference in each others bank account. Densham and Force won the other two 1/4 final races and both had lane choice, meaning there would be no advantage for either Scelzi or Worsham. More drama to a great finish.
In the semi finals, the Force Scelzi pairing was first. Shockingly, John gave Gary a tenth of a second at the starting line, but Gary could not capitalize, and he smoked the tires. Force blitzed low et of elimination's with a 4.72 and that gave Del the #2 spot in the final standings regardless of what Del did against Denhsam. Worsham won out of the bad lane with a great 4.78, while Densham smoked the tires.
Force was looking for his fifth win and Del wanted his record sixth of the season. A great start for both driver, but Del could not throw enough at the track and Force, "Put an exclamation mark" on the Funny Car season with a win and the 13th FC championship of his illustrious career.
01 John Force 1883
(W) Del Worsham (Checker
Schuck's Kragen Monte C0.096 4.993 285.17
(W) Tony Pedregon (Quaker
State Monte Carlo) 0.103 4.766 325.06
(W) John Force (Castrol
GTX Mustang) 0.114 4.780 323.27
(W) Gary Densham (AAA of
So. Cal. Mustang) 0.108 4.750 321.42
(W) Phil Burkart (Checker
Shuck's Kragen Monte C0.089 4.807 324.83
(W) Gary Scelzi (Hemi Oakley Stratus)
0.148 4.790 321.96
(W) Tommy Johnson Jr. (Skoal Racing Monte
Carlo)0.074 4.831 323.81
(W) Eric Medlen (Castrol Syntec Mustang)
0.033 4.817 319.90
Greg Anderson also Put an Exclamation mark" on his class a the POWERade series champion won the event. To the script, he took out #2 in the standings and teammate Jason Line. Anderson won an unprecedented 15th national event in 19 final rounds. Line was in his 8th final of the year. Most notable in the class, was the announcement that Warren Johnson would retire as a driver at the end of the 2005 season. After season in which he did not win a race for the first time in a couple decades and the first time he has not finished in the top 10. No replacement had been named yet, but it is expected that Gene Wilson will fill the seat. 4th to 7th place was also up for grabs as 57 points separated those four positions. Kurt Johnson was in fourth but since the 13th race of the season, Kurt has only gone past round one once, and has three dnq's in the last ten races. On the other hand, Larry Morgan has gone past the first round eight times in that same time span. After elimination's, Kurt was gone in round one, and Morgan had gone to round two, surpassing Johnson for fourth. Sixth and seventh place drivers, Jeg Coughlin and Bruce Allen stayed in their spots respectively, with first round losses.
01 Greg Anderson 2402
(W) V. Gaines (Kendall
Oil Stratus) 0.102 6.742 204.45
(W) Rickie Smith (Dart
Cavalier) 0.041 6.801 204.51
(W) Mike Edwards (Young
Life/A.R.T. Grand Am) 0.022 6.744 203.19
(W) Steve Johns (LivinIt.org
Cavalier) 0.102 6.732 204.11
(W) Jason Line (KB Racing
Grand Am) 0.052 6.756 204.42
(W) Larry Morgan (Mopar
Stratus) 0.071 6.727 204.91
(W) Greg Anderson (Summit
Racing Equipment Grand0.070 6.704 205.47
(W) Ron Krisher (Valvoline
Cavalier) 0.108 6.756 203.86
PS Bike, saw Andrew Hines win his first championship and him becoming the youngest professional competitor in history to win a season championship. But it wasn't easy. He broke in the first round of qualifying and then destroyed his bike when the chain broke in the third session and injured his leg. The team thrashed to make repairs, with parts coming off their display bike in the repair process. He did stay in the field (in the bottom half though) and clinched the title. He did go out in round one. In a great gesture to the camaraderie of the drag racing fraternity, the team donated the broken bike to the Darrell Russell auction, which in turn they bid on, winning the bid with by a $10,00 final offer. While Andrew won the war, Angelle Savioe won the battle, when she raced her teammate Antron Brown in the final. Savioe was dominant in elimination's, running low et every round, and running a great 7.03 in the final round. She moved into second from third in the standings with the win. Antron finished third and Shawn Gann finished fourth despite him being disqualified for a fuel violation.
(W) Geno Scali (Trim-Tex
Suzuki) 0.027 7.147 184.95
(W) Steve Johnson (K&N High Flow Filters
Suzuki)0.048 7.215 184.80
(W) Craig Treble (Matco Tools Suzuki)
0.033 7.191 184.04
(W) Chip Ellis (G2/Star/S&S Buell)
0.018 7.153 186.82
(W) GT Tonglet (Screamin' Eagle/Vance
& Hines Ha0.000 7.165 187.34
(W) Michael Phillips (Phillips Racing
Suzuki) 0.053 7.250 182.23
(W) Antron Brown (US Army Suzuki) 0.030
(W) Angelle Savoie (US Army Suzuki) 0.174
Saturday final qualifying (Joel Gelfand photos)
(Just a quick note, The "Russell Auction"
nets a quarter million dollars)
Anderson paced the Pro Stock field Saturday at the 40th annual Automobile
Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.
Anderson set the single-season NHRA record for No. 1 qualifying awards by vaulting to the top of the Pro Stock field for the 16th time this season. Anderson powered his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am to a track record E.T. of 6.705 at 205.38 mph.
1. Greg Anderson Summit Racing Equipment
Grand 6.705 205.94
"I think that's the last (record) I'm going to break this year," Anderson said. "I don't think that there's any more for me to break. It feels great to break this record; I'm awfully excited any time I break records, but I think this one means more to me than some of the races I've won this year. It's a pretty serious accomplishment, and it feels even more special because my old boss, Warren Johnson, held the record I broke. "I thought we could go in the 60s here today, but it didn't come on like I thought it would, but no one else got any quicker either and we stayed ahead of the pack."
"That was pretty exciting," Kalitta said. "At least it was from where I was sitting. I hope the fans liked it. That was probably the best we could do under those conditions so it was encouraging to back up what we did when there was a bunch of cloud cover Thursday.
"We spent the last few days trying to get ready for race day and I'd have to say we're as prepared as we can be. All three Kalitta cars look strong so we'd like to end the season with a good race day and walk out of here with the trophy."
Cory Mac felt the pressure all weekend as he was not in the field in what would end up being the quickest field in history. He had to run quicker that 4.64 just to play on Sunday and he did it with a solid 4.59 that put him in the #11 spot. Morgan Lucas was running a special edition Joe Amato dragster in memory of Darrell Russell. The auction Saturday night raised in excess of $250,000 for the wife of Darrell Russell. Included was a bid of 14,000 for a specially built table that Kenny Bernstein won and then gave it to Russell's closest friend NHRA.com's Rob Gieger.
1. Doug Kalitta MAC Tools Dragster 4.472
Force, who clinched the Funny Car championship for the 13th time in his career two weeks ago in Las Vegas, collected his seventh top qualifying award of the season and 124th of his career with a track-record pass of 4.698 at 329.18 in his Castrol GTX Startup Ford Mustang. Force's elapsed time was the third quickest for a Funny Car in NHRA history.
"Austin (Coil) said that he thought the car could run in the 4.60's," Force said. "I promised my daughter (Ashley) that if she would come and watch me run that we would run a 4.60 for her birthday. I have never made a promise like that before and we were able to do it so we are having a great night."
Del Worsham made a clutch final shot Saturday evening. He was displaced
by Gary Scelzi earlier in the final session, and Scelzi moved in front
of Del for second place in the standings. The two entered this event
in a tie for second place. Del took the lead and had the lead over Scelzi
in qualifying for the first three rounds, but Gary went 4.728 to sit
#1. The next pair out Gary Densham over took Scelzi, but was still ahead
of Worsham. Eric Medlen along side Densham, burned up his 'Stang as
it ignited right at the finish line. He was quoted as saying his boss,
that John must have a higher power or something. Force told him in the
staging lanes prior to his lap, "Don't be a hero out there, 'You
don't have to be a hero. We've got AAA insurance.' I'm not letting him
talk to me no more before I run." In the final pairing, NHRA announcer
Bob Frey guaranteed a 4.60 run, but he also made a for sure 6.60 prediction
in Pro Stock (it was close but a 6.705 was the best), so he was hoping
he would hit the nail with his Flopper prognostication. Del faced off
with John Force and it was a run for the ages. Del drove past Gary by
the slimmest of margins (it had to be broken by MPH), as both cars ran
identical ets. But it was overshadowed by John Force's 4.698 lap. The
third quickest in history and the quickest ever at the fabled Pomona
Chip Ellis took home the top qualifying award for Pro Stock Bike for the second time in four races this season on his G-Squared S&S Star Buell with a track record pass 7.024 at 188.38.
"I was surprised with that 7.02 run," Ellis said. "I was looking for a 7.08 or 7.09. As usual the tune-up was right on and everything went like it was supposed to. It was the best run since I joined the team. Anytime you can be No. 1 is awesome. It doesn't matter whether it's NHRA or Little League, we're happy to get it. Tomorrow we forget about No. 1 and take it one run at a time. I'm going to try to cut good lights. The hope is to go four rounds."
Andrew Hines qualified for the 16-bike elimination round, earning him enough points to clinch his first career season championship in Pro Stock Bike and the first for Harley-Davidson.
"The first thought I have is what an outstanding accomplishment for my dad (Byron) this championship is," said Hines, who at 21 becomes the youngest pro category champion in NHRA history. "He's been in this sport for a long time and he's won a bunch of championships but to take this program with Harley-Davidson and build it up to a championship level this fast is really something.
"I'm so happy that I'm the guy on the seat. I have an outstanding team around me. From my dad and my brother Matt, to Joe Vanderbrink, Greg Cope, Meredith Schultz, and Ray Veirs, I'd take this group over anyone. There isn't a better team in all of motorsports in my opinion. I'm really just another name on the Vance & Hines roster of champions."
1. Chip Ellis G2/Star/S&S Buell 7.024@
Saturday photo highlights
Medlen experienced his first fire in Funny Car competition.
Andrew Cowin sat in the bubble at the quickest race in history
Tony Pedregon is running a 4 hole injector hat
Tim Wilkerson found a little more performance this weekend.
Bruce Allen made it in the field on the last lap.
Mark Whisnant failed to qualify and has had a very tough season after all the promise of 2003
Gordie Rivera went 0 for 6 in his six events in 2003.
November 12, 2004 Friday Qualifying (Rich Carlson and Joel Gelfand photos)
Densham and Tony P. Friday afternoon.
Friday, day two qualifying
Doug Kalitta raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel
Friday at the 40th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA
Finals at Pomona Raceway.
It wouldve been great to get in a quick time tonight but it wasnt meant to be, Kalitta said. We had it loaded it up and it lost traction. Tony (Schumacher) had a good run in the opposite lane. Tomorrow well get the car in race mode and prepare for Sunday. Schumacher posted the quickest run of the day at 4.485 seconds in the U.S. Army dragster, which moved him into second in the 16-car order.
1. Doug Kalitta MAC Tools Dragster 4.472
Worsham, who entered the race tied with Gary Scelzi for second place in the Funny Car point standings, drove his Checker Schucks Kragen Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 4.737 at 328.54 to pace the category. Worsham has won this race two of the previous three seasons.
"That was a good run for us, much cleaner than last night's pass," said Worsham, who lives in Chino Hills, Calif. "We were probably a little lucky last night. There was a lot of tire shake during that run and I almost had to lift but it cleared up right at the last minute. Today's run was just smooth and perfect.
"We'll push it a little bit tomorrow to see if it goes back to tire shake or if we can get a little more E.T. out of it. The air should be good so we'll stand on it and see what happens. We have to be smart because we want to stay No. 1 if we can. It's so much fun having all your friends and neighbors reading your name in the headlines."
1. Del Worsham Checker Schuck's Kragen
Monte 4.737 328.54
Tony Bartone made one of his best laps of the season with a 4.85
Anderson stayed at the top of the Pro Stock field by virtue of his Thursday performance of 6.713 at 205.10 in his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am. Should he remain at the top spot Anderson will pass Warren Johnson for the most single-season No.1 qualifying awards in NHRA history.
"I'm kinda surprised that more people didn't step up today, even though it was hotter. Larry Morgan did but not many others. After the tire spinning we saw yesterday I figured a lot of people would get better. I'm sure they will by tomorrow morning. It should be exciting."
Morgan clocked the quickest run of the day in Pro Stock in his Dodge Stratus at 6.725 at 205.22, which moved him into second in the 16-car lineup.
1. Greg Anderson Summit Racing Equipment
Grand 6.713 205.94
Geoffrion and Panella square off.
Ellis leads the Pro Stock Bike category, running a track record time of 7.063 at 187.36 on his G-Squared S&S Star Buell. The former AMA Pro Star champion, who is in search of his second career No. 1 qualifying award, captured the honor at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis earlier this season. Andrew Hines, rider of the Screamin Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, is currently 11th in the Pro Stock Bike qualifying order. Should he remain qualified, Hines, 21, will win the category points title and become NHRAs youngest world champion.
Everyone keeps coming up to me congratulating me, but we havent done anything yet, Hines said. Its great to be qualified for now, but the pressure isnt gone. Im concerned about race day and we need to step up and get ready for Sunday. I want to earn one more win before the season is over and thats where the pressure comes from.
1. Chip Ellis G2/Star/S&S Buell 7.063
A couple other photo highlights
Boyd and Bradford
Hough and Hope
Cory Mac and John Smith
Clay Millican left and Ron Hope and Don Green's "Rat Trap" Fuel Altered
The Bradford Fiat and Mike Boyd in THE most famous Fuel Altered of all time, the "Winged Express".
November 11, 2004
Day one Qualifying
Top Fuel round one
Doug Kalitta ripped off a 4.47 on Thursday
David Baca ran a career best 4.48
Joe Hartley struggled
--------- Not Qualified ---------
Force is #2 with a 4.74
Cruz Pedregon is #7
Gary Scelzi is out side
Gary Densham was on a hot lap until 1000 feet
Johnny Gray is outside after one round.
--------- Not Qualified
Ron Krisher made a great first lap.
Dave Connolly is #6
Not Qualified ---------
Nov. 10, 2004 POMONA,
WHERE: Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif. Track is located off I-10 at Fairplex Drive. Go north on Fairplex drive to the Fairplex.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 11-14.
PURSE: Cash and contingency awards of approximately $1.7 million.
SCHEDULE: THURSDAY, Nov. 11 -- Sportsman qualifying and time trials beginat 8 a.m. PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSION at 2 p.m.
FRIDAY, Nov. 12 -- Sportsman qualifying and eliminations begin at 8 a.m. PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSION at 2 p.m.
SATURDAY, Nov. 13 -- Sportsman eliminations begin at 8 a.m PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
SUNDAY, Nov. 14 -- Pre-race ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.
2003 EVENT WINNERS: Kenny Bernstein, Top Fuel; Del Worsham, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Craig Treble, Pro Stock Bike.
Top Fuel -- 4.451 seconds by Tony Schumacher, Feb. 2004; 333.25 mph
by Doug Kalitta, Nov. 2003
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at ticketmaster.com or at nhra.com.
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