The Bud Shootout is here

Pro Stock follows the two pro classes. Points are up

The finals

Top Fuel.......................It had all the trappings of a monumental David and Goliath final. A half season of experience against one of THE best Top Fuel racers in history. Doug Kalitta has been on top of the class since he came into the class a half decade years ago. Morgan stepped into the seat of Joe Amato's race car under trying circumstances and the fans of the sport were really on the side of the young Lucas. It was not to be as, the veteran left (by .01) on Morgan and outran his like he has done for a good part of the last four years to all comers. The win will guarantee his #2 spot in the Top Fuel standings.

(W) Doug Kalitta (MAC Tools Dragster) 0.045 4.530 329.02
(L) Morgan Lucas (Lucas Oil Dragster) 0.055 4.612 306.40


Funny Car......................... This one was a fitting final with two of the most dominant teams in the class and two of the most popular drivers facing off. Both cars qualified in the top half and both had great numbers throughout elimination's. John Force was looking to put an exclamation point on his 13th championship season, and Gary Scelzi want the win bad to move back into second in the standings tied with Del Worsham who he took out in the semis. Scelzi was on his game as he went in deep and had a psychic .020 light and held on for a huge holeshot win. Force ran a weekend quick 4.754 to Scelzi's equally good 4.790. Scelzi took a .025 stripe at the finish line and a tie for second place in the point standings with one race to go.

(W) Gary Scelzi (Hemi Oakley Stratus) 0.020 4.790 326.32
(L) John Force (Castrol GTX Mustang) 0.081 4.754 322.81

Semi Finals............. Top Fuel..............Rhonda Hartman-Smith sees the clock strike midnight at mid-afternoon, as her slight holeshot and solid 4.63 pass is just edged out by Doug Kalitta's slightly better 4.58 lap. Very good race, and a testament to the intelligence, dedication and hard work of both teams.

(W) Doug Kalitta (MAC Tools Dragster) 0.136 4.589 327.43
(L) Rhonda Hartman-Smith (Fram Filters Dragster)0.104 4.631 318.02

Next up are the young guns, Morgan Lucas and Andrew Cowin, both itching
to get a shot at Kalitta in the final. I thought the previous race was
close, but this one is so close that even the instant replay can barely
find a gap between them. Twelve ten thousandths of a second is all the
margin, with Lucas's holeshot aided 4.63, holding off Cowin's 4.60 pass.
We may be down for a few minutes for cleanup as Lucas blew the engine
at the finish line.

(W) Morgan Lucas (Lucas Oil Dragster) 0.073 4.630 311.13
(L) Andrew Cowin (Cowin Family Racing Dragster) 0.101 4.603 317.42

Wow! What a semifinal round of Top Fuel. Bring on the Funny Cars. Oh,
oh, we must have a serious oildown here as the T-Shirt brigade are
warming up the launcher to entertain (read: annoy the hell out of) the
audience for the next while.

Funny Car..............Thank goodness for small mercies, the safety safari performs their magic and we're back in action with the all-Force battle, as John takes out Gary Densham in a very close, flame spitting, engine smoking race by a
small margin. John's 4.80 took the win by half a car length over Gary's
4.80, the difference being Force's holeshot.

(W) John Force (Castrol GTX Mustang) 0.056 4.804 322.34
(L) Gary Densham (AAA of So. Cal. Mustang) 0.100 4.776 324.05

With all the ugly flames coming out of the cars from half track to the
finish line, I wouldn't be surprised to see some oil on the track. At
the very least, we have to wait for Force to be towed up the hill and
off as he, like so many others, has the twin chutes slow his progress to
the extent that cresting the hill and making the last turnout can be a
hit or miss proposition at times.

One more pair of floppers and then all that's left to do is size up the
finalists and get ready for their final battles at 4:30. Hark, what does
one hear but the sound of two more fuel motors springing to life as Gary
Scelzi burns out in preparation to meet Del Worsham in their penultimate

It's another excellent race as Scelzi's "TimeBomb" doesn't detonate and
lasts long enough to oust Worsham's great effort. Scelzi not only wins
the race but gets lane choice over Mr. Force in the final round.

(W) Gary Scelzi (Hemi Oakley Stratus) 0.088 4.794 324.05
(L) Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Monte C0.064 4.852 320.05

Great stuff and when the sun sinks a little lower an hour or so from
now, and the temperature drops a bit (air and track) then we could be
looking at two absolutely stunning final rounds. Stay tuned.

Sunday Fuel round two.............the show starts with a major bang, as Morgan Lucas edges out Scott Kalitta in a tremendous battle, 4.53 to 4.54. Wow, what a drag race! Can this show possibly get any better? Stay tuned.

(W) 743 Morgan Lucas 0.020 4.538 324.59

(L) 319 Scott Kalitta 0.058 4.544 329.18

Next up are McClenathan and Cowin, with the odds stacked against the
young Aussie. But odds are for gamblers, and the dice sometimes come up
snake eyes and they certainly do for Cory Mac as he blazes the tires and
Cowin streaks away to victory and a matchup with Morgan Lucas in the

(W) 835 Andrew Cowin 0.083 4.607 309.56
(L) 5 Cory McClenathan 0.077 8.889 81.34

Beauty and the Beast next, and the odds are even longer on this matchup,
but as we all know only too well by now.... yes, you guessed it,
Rhonda Hartman-Smith beats up on the Army of One and dispatches Tony
Schumacher back to the barracks. She wastes yet another engine in a
finish line fireball, but Schumacher's tires were still smoking at that
point. We may be down for a short cleanup that will give Rhonda enough
time to pull another bullet out of her rapdily diminishing arsenal.

(W) 10 Rhonda Hartman-Smith 0.103 4.678 313.88
(L) 3 Tony Schumacher 0.102 5.582 175.30

All that remains in this round is the Doug (Kalitta) vs. Doug (Herbert)
battle that could provide some more fireworks. The performance edge
obviously goes to Kalitta, but Herbert has been known to pull out a big
number on occasion, and the Kalitta's do tend to walk the tightrope
between disaster and world records. We'll find out in just a few minutes.

Both cars get down the track without any drama, and the expected
happened, as Kalitta outran Herbert, by a 4.55 to 4.63 margin to move
into the semifinal round, with lane choice over the real Cinderella,
Rhonda Hartman-Smith. The other third round pairing will see Morgan
Lucas with the choice over Andrew Cowin.

(W) 2 Doug Kalitta 0.048 4.559 329.759
(L) 9 Doug Herbert 0.066 4.637 298.34

Without missing a beat......................, we head straight into Funny Car and open with Del Worsham again, this time facing Tim Wilkerson. It's another very
good race, with the numbers a little closer than the actual margin of
victory as Del's 4.815 edges out Tim's 4.818. Most of the gap between
them at the finish line was courtesy of Worsham's slight holeshot.

W) Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kragen Monte 0.089 4.815 319.60
(L) Tim Wilkerson (Levi, Ray & Shoup Monte 0.099 4.818 321.88

Cruz Pedregon takes on Gary Scelzi in the next pairing, and despite the
best efforts of whatever JuJu or MoJo or whatever Carlos Santana was
able to bring to the Pedregon pits today, Scelzi's "TimeBomb" thunders
to a 4.77 to finish Cruz's weekend. Pedregon gave it a good try, but his
4.82 was clearly outclassed on the top end.

(W) Gary Scelzi (Hemi Oakley Stratus) .101 4.770 325.45
(L) Cruz Pedregon (Advance Auto Parts Monte .108 4.824 321.19

The next battle featured an all-Force match, with young Eric Medlen
going against the boss and losing very badly and very early as the tires
erupted mere nanoseconds after he opened the throttle. Force's pass was
not without incident however, as he got out of shape early, pedalled,
lost the engine at the 1000 foot mark and crossed the finish line
trailing smoke and flames. His 5.04 time didn't look like a good
candidate for lane choice in the semifinals.

(W) John Force (Castrol GTX Mustang) .121 5.043 284.56
(L) Eric Medlen (Castrol Syntec Mustang) .113 9.606 95.03

The last pair of the round, Gary "Popeye" Densham against Tony Pedregon
looked to be something of a tossup, until Pedregon blew the tires off
early and let Densham cruise into the next round, with lane choice over
his boss. Hmm, what sort of tuning decisions will be made in the Force
pits before the semis, one might wonder.

(W) Gary Densham (AAA of So. Cal. Mustang) .097 4.775 325.37
(L) Tony Pedregon (Quaker State Monte Carlo) .076 12.223 72.62

And the other semifinal match will see Scelzi with choice over Worsham.
That's it for another hour or so from Las Vegas.


(What happens in Vegas???) know the rest!!!

Sunday Elimination's.......Top Fuel.............The upsets started in the first pairing and by the end of round one, four bottom half qualifiers were into round two. In the first pairing Morgan Lucas hit strongly on all eight with a 4.57 win over Larry Dixon. Doug Herbert was up next as the #10 qualifier and they took out Brandon Bernstein with a 4.65. The next two pairings saw top half qualifiers Tony Schumacher and Cory Mac advance with 4.58 and 4.62 victories over a tire smoking Brady Kalivoda and a game 4.73 by John Smith. Then two more bottom end cars got the win lights, as Andrew Cowin went 4.69 to David Baca's 4.85 and Rhonda Hartman shocked team Kalitta's David Grubnic, when Rhonda went a solid 4.66 to the tire smoking effort by the Aussie. The final two pairings had team Kalitta get revenge from Saturday's first round "Bud Shootout" oustings, as both Doug and Scott Kalitta got wins over two very game bottom half qualifiers. Doug got by rookie Gary Ormsby Jr. 4.56 to 4.68, and Scott defeated the other Scott (Weis) with a 4.61 to 4.68. Second round parings will see Morgan get lane choice over Scott Kalitta, Doug Kalitta gets the choice over Doug Herbert, Tony Schumacher picks the lane over Rhonda Hartman and Cory MacClanathan pick the side over Andrew Cowin.

(Here is the live on track report from Bob Wilson pair by pair).

First pair out of the gate matches Larry Dixon against Morgan Lucas. Oh,
oh, looks like Dick Lahaie backed up the Miller Lite tuneup a tad too
much and it drops a cylinder almost at the hit, dooming Dixon to a
losing 4.72 against the Wayne Dupuy orchestrated 4.57 for young Mr.
Lucas. On paper, this race was almost a tossup, with the #8 vs. #9
pairing usually being the closest of any first round, but for a change,
this was no contest.

Next up is a pair of red cars, with Brandon Bernstein going against Doug
Herbert. Again, we've got a serious case of "droppus cylinderus" as
Bernstein's engine sprays raw fuel all the way down track until it
expires at the finish line. Herbert cruises into the second round with a
strong clean pass.

Now we've got a bit of an underdog against overdog race, with the Army
car of Schumcacher capable of seriously outgunning the relatively
low-buck operation of Bill Miller Engineering. Rolling the dice (what
did you expect? we're in Las Vegas aren't we?), Kalivoda annihilates the
tires in the first car length and can only watch Tony Shoe breeze into
the next round with a solid 4.58 pass.

This brings us to what could be interpreted as a bit of a grudge match
as the soon-to-be-unsponsored John Smith faces Cory McClenathan, who's
Carrier Boyz team has taken over the Fram-Prestone sponsorship for 2005,
from the Smith and Hartman operation. Cory Mac takes the lead early, but
Smith stays close until the 1000 foot mark, where a dropped cylinder
puts an end to his chances. The verdict: 4.62 to 4.71.

Two more lesser financed teams pull up next and both are of the family
persausion as the Cowin Family battles the Baca Family. On paper it
should be an easy win for Baca if he can come close to yesterday's very
good 4.52 lap. It's not to be though as Andrew Cowin pulls into an early
lead, then runs away when Baca starts smoking the tires. There's a lot
more smoke from both cars at the finish line as Cowin loses another
engine (third of the weekend I believe) and we could be down for a
little bout of track grooming.

Yep, it's official, the Motel 6 commercial is running and we're on hold.
Back in a few minutes, we hope. Wow, that was a short break as we're
back in less than two minutes.

Yesterday's big winner, David Grubnic, burnouts and prepares to face
Rhonda Hartman-Smith, hoping to continue on his hot streak. Nobody's
betting against him this time around either. Oops... looks like Wilson's
losing streak is intact. Grubnic blazes the tires harder on the launch than he did on his burnout and Rhonda moves down track nicely with a smooth, consistent 4.69 pass to move on in eliminations. In the press room, at least a dozen eyebrows are raised and asking "why didn't Grubnic do that on his last pass"
(against Dixon in the Bud Shootout final.

We have a major David vs. Goliath deal next as Ormsby Jr. goes against
Doug Kalitta. In a bit of a surprise, young Ormsby turns a career best
e.t. of 4.68 at a hugely improved career best speed of 314 mph in a
clean, dry, full pass, but to absolutely no avail. Kalitta tames the
raceday tuneup down to a 4.56 and trainlengths Ormsby to advance easily.

Now we're down to the last pair of the round and it's another big buck
against low buck duel. We can only hope that Scott Weis didn't bring a
knife to this gunfight. In another closer than expected match, Scott
Kalitta outruns Weis by little more than a car length, winning with a
very conservative 4.61 to Weis's improving 4.68.

There must have been a strategy change for Team Kalitta after the "test"
car of Grubnic blitzed the tires, as Scott's 4.61 and Doug's 4.56 could
be considered somewhat tame for the Kalitta gang. But conservative,
consistent and not earth rotating can be the way to the winner's circle
on race day.

That's it for Top Fuel and we're ready for the first of the Funny Cars
at 11:30 sharp. This looks like it could be a fast-paced action packed
show today. Don't go too far away.

Before we move on to the funnies though, we notice that Scott Kalitta
will face Morgan Lucas in the next round, while cousin Doug is on the
other side of the ladder and matched against Doug Herbert. In other
pairings, it's Cory McClenathan against Andrew Cowin and Rhonda
Hartman-Smith versus Tony Schumacher.

Funny Car.................. #1 qualifier was a surprising first up and he had one of the three Pedregon boys in the other lane. Del ran a sold 4.85 for the first round victory and a head start in the 75 minute turnaround to round two. Tony Pedregon and the other brother, Cruz, got the family honor backs as both in Santana livery got wins. Tony defeated Johnny Gray with a 4.82, Cruz went slower that his competitor Whit Bazemore but having a couple hundredths on the tree gave him a 4.839 to 4.820 victory. Eric Medlen was 4/100ths quicker than Bob Bode as his 4.83 was enough for a round two date. Gary Densham ran the first 4.70 on Sunday in his 4.79 win over Bob Gilbertson's 4.94. Gary Scelzi and Tommy Johnson were up next, and this one went to form as TJ only made one good lap in qualifyng all weekend, and Scelzi (who had three 4 second runs) went to round two. It was close, with Tommy leaving first by 2/100ths but his 4.88 was not enough for a 4.80 by the California kid. John Force would take on (possibly his new team mate) Ron Capps, and it was a barn burner. Force goes 4.78 to Capps quicker .04 activated 4.85. Ron runs possibly his best combination of runs for the season and is a round one casualty.The final pairing has Phil Burkart and Tim Wilkerson. Wilk gets the win 4.82 to a 4.85 for the other CSk team car.

(Wilson's live round round recap)

First of the flopper wars sees Del Worsham making good use of his top
qualifying spot to get back to the pits first after taking care of Frank
"Underdog" Pedregon. Even with new crew chief Mark Oswald onboard, Frank
can't keep the tires under control and smokes his way to defeat, as
Worsham moves on with a solid 4.85 pass.

Tony comes out next to uphold the Pedregon family honour and dispatches
Johnny Gray's WonderWagon in a close race with a very good 4.82 lap.
Gray is not far behind, and appears to have sorted out the gremlins that
afflicted his efforts until yesterday's last qualifying session.
Unfortunately, he's now got two weeks before he can make another lap.

Eric "The Chosen One" Medlen is paired against Bob Bode next and with a
ratio of cubic dollars vastly favouring young Mr. Medlen, the results
could be expected to be mailed in, couldn't they? Don't bet against this
Bob though, as Bode gives Medlen a major handful, despite a very light
front end that kept trying to go skyward until the 1000 foot mark.

Bode's near career best 4.87 - 311 result nearly upended Medlen's
slightly better 4.83 elapsed time. Good race and barely a car length
between them at the finish line.

Another Team Force employee, Gary Densham takes on Bob Gilbertson next,
and despite a good solid run by Gilbertson (4.94), Densham's best of the
round (so far) 4.79, easily does in the Trick Tank unit.

The last of the Pedregon clan rolls out of the bleach box next and has a
very tall order on his hand in the form of the Schumacher-backed Whit
Bazemore. With a full tenth of a second separating the two cars in
qualifying, the smart money is on Bazemore.

Did I say smart money? When you hear that, you'd better run the other
way, as Pedregon holeshots the Baze and turns a winning 4.839 to Whit's
quicker but later, 4.820 timeslip. Pedregon only pulled into the lead in
the last hundred feet and took a very popular and well deserved win.

Another of the Schumacher juggernauts, Gary Scelzi, in the Oakley
TimeBomb, takes on the first of Snake Racing's two funny entries, Tommy
Johnson Jr. They both leave together and run strong and clean, but
Scelzi gradually opens some daylight on Johnson and takes the win by a
4.80 to 4.88 margin. A good race, but as always, only one car can advance.

Two pairs remain in this first round, and the new world champion, John
Force, announces his presence with one of the strongest burnouts we've
seen from him in quite some time. Maybe with the championship decided,
Fedderly and Coil have decided to loosen the reins on the old boy for
the last two races.

His opponent is the other Snake entry, Ron Capps, in a car that is fully
capable of giving Force a serious battle. And he does, leaving first and
staying with Uncle John all the way down to the finish line. The only
blemish in Capps's performance was a slight drift to the centerline, but
it didn't really matter that much as Force's best of the round 4.787
barely eclipsed Ron's 4.85 effort. Another excellent race.

And we finish the round with an even better fight, as Tim Wilkerson
comes from behind to barely nip Phil Burkart at the finish line. Burkart
loses an engine right at the stripe too, but it didn't let go until the
winlight came on Wilkerson's side of the track. Wow, what a round of
funny car racing.

Looking at the pairings for the next round, John Force has to face
teammate Eric Medlen, while on the same side of the ladder, Gary Densham
takes on Tony Pedregon. If Force wants to get to the final today, he
might have to beat beat both of his employees to get there. On the other
side of town, Cruz Pedregon takes on Gary Scelzi, while Del Worsham
takes on Tim Wilkerson.


Pro Stock round one.............

.............Dave Connolly went double 0 on tree and defeated Greg Stanfield, V Gaines defeated his engine builder Larry Morgan 6.83 to 6.85, Jeggie went 6.82 to get buy a 4.83 by Krisher that would of had to of been a 6.73 based on his 1/10th off the pace reaction time. #1 Jason Line (6.82) defeated Ben Watson (6.87), Fernando Cuadra shocked Mike Edwards (who red lit) and got his first ever round win. Steve Johns could not get the better of Allan Johnson who got his 8th round win of the year. Kurt Johnson could not run the number against Greg Anderson as his 6.87 was light years away from Andersons 6.87 . Bruce Allen red lit by a couple thou and Kenny Koretsky goes into round two.

In the 1/4's.................... Cuadro's one round winning streak appears to be enough for the part timer racer as he is real late on the tree and Allen Johnson goes two rounds in a row without a red light and his 6.86 is enough for Fernando's 6.84

(W) Allen Johnson (Mopar Stratus) 0.026 6.865 200.56
(L) Fernando Cuadra (Corral Boots Cavalier) 0.107 6.848 200.23

Jason Line was up against young rival Dave Connolly, and Connolly made it easy for Line when he lit the botttom bulb and gave away his chance to take over second place in the standings. Line's 6.80 would of been tough to beat though.

(W) Jason Line (KB Racing Grand Am) 0.031 6.802 202.21
(L) Dave Connolly (Bullet Motorsports Cavalier) -0.005(R) 7.212 157.30

This match-up saw the same fate as the previous one, when Jeg Coughlin surprisingly lit the red bulb and gave away chance he might of had for a top five finish in the standings. In hind sight, Koretsky fell off by a tenth and Jeggie will be kicking themself bad.

(W) Kenny Koretsky (Nitrofish Wear Stratus) 0.044 6.937 200.29
(L) Jeg Coughlin (Jeg's Mail Order Cavalier) -0.006(R) 6.816 201.94

The final race of round two, was another woulda, coulda shoulda, as V.Gaines loses on a holeshot to Greg Anderson . Not too many cars have outpowered Anderson in the et deptartment, unfortunately, Vieri was 5/100ths behind Greg and the race track was not long enough for his to catch up.

(W) Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Grand0.021 6.826 201.97
(L) V. Gaines (Kendall Oil Stratus) 0.076 6.821 201.64

Pro Stock Semi finals.................Greg Anderson and Kenny Koretsky are the first pair and Anderson got the win on both ends of the track

(W) Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Grand am 037 6.808 202.00
(L) Kenny Koretsky (Nitrofish Wear Stratus) .055 6.853 201.34

Jason Line was going to try and make it an all Ken Black final round for what seems like the thousandth time. He does is on both end of the track as well. This will probably guarantee him second placee in the standings. Who will win the final, Line for two in a row, or Anderson to reset the sihgle season record for wins. (14)

(W) Jason Line (KB Racing Grand Am) 0.012 6.821 201.25
(L) Allen Johnson (Mopar Stratus) 0.016 6.876 200.32


Final round..............Greg Anderson was looking for history in the final and Jason Line had a dilemma. Solidify his chance for 99% guarantee of a second place finish in the standings, or go with all the Internet drew chiefs and lay down for the boss and give him history. Guess what, it like 95% of the races in the NHRA went straight up and Anderson did what he needed to do on both ends of the track. He got the holeshot in case Jason had a bit more power, and then outran him anyway. A great final for one of the most dominant drag racers of the last decade.

(W) Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Grand 0.028 6.796 202.52
(L) Jason Line (KB Racing Grand Am) 0.036 6.822 201.85



Saturday Oct. 30, 2004 Professional Qualifying

Saturday Oct. 30, 2004.........(scroll down for the final qualifying #'s)

Funny Car final session..............saw a few changes on both ends of the ladder. In the bottom half, Tony Bartone, Jerry Toliver and Canadian Jeff Arend all got bumped out of the field, as TJ, Bob Bode and Johnny Gray all ran better than the 4.885 bump to be able to play on Sunday. A couple of the lower budget teams, Steven Neese and Peter Russo both made respectable laps in their final attempts. Neese made a career best 5.257 and Russo made just the one run (with tuning help from Roland Leong) and it was a 5.290 effort.

Tony Pedregon and Whit Bazemore both jumped into the top half with 4.775 and 4.772 respectively. The other big jump was a costly one for Eric Medlen as in the final pairing with Del Worsham, Del shot to the top of the ladder from the #6 spot with a 4.751/328 to take the $4000.00 Bud qualifying money away from the "Team Force" rookie.

Final Funny Car Qualifying

1 4 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, '04 Monte Carlo 4.751 328.22
2 716 Eric Medlen, Yorba Linda CA, '02 Mustang 4.770 322.11
3 5 Gary Densham, Bellflower CA, '02 Mustang 4.771 325.45
4 2 Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis IN, '04 Stratus 4.772 326.95
5 6 Gary Scelzi, Fresno CA, '04 Stratus 4.772 322.42
6 1 Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills CA, '04 Monte Carlo 4.775 320.58
7 3 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, '02 Mustang 4.777 319.75
8 156 Phil Burkart, Yorkville NY, '04 Monte Carlo 4.783 319.29
9 7 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '04 Monte Carlo 4.796 323.97
10 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '04 Monte Carlo 4.820 318.39
11 31 Johnny Gray, Carlsbad NM, '03 Stratus 4.853 324.05
12 503 Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon IN, '04 Monte Carlo 4.857 316.52
13 71 Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo CA, '04 Monte Carlo 4.870 318.47
14 206 Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia NC, '02 Firebird 4.880 316.60
15 340 Bob Bode, Barrington IL, '02 Firebird 4.880 312.28
16 73 Frank Pedregon, Phillips Ranch CA, '02 Firebird 4.885 300.46


Final Fuel sessions .......Last call for qualifying starts on time at 3:30 pm. The air temps are down a little over the earlier session today, and the track is still looking very good. We may see some tire smoke generated by desperate
tuneups, but when the hitters come out later, the performances should be

First out of the gates are two of the non-qualifiers, and they retain
that status, as Steve Chrisman launches a headgasket early and shuts
off, while Mike Strasburg has a big explosion and fireball before half
track, leaving a trail of oil and parts all the way into the shutdown
area. Looks like we're down for a cleanup and we can cross two names off
the dance card for tomorrow's eliminations party.

Andrew Cowin and Steve Chrisman in round one Saturday.

With the bubble at 4.84 (held by Mitch King) and only four more possible
bumpers in the lanes (Rob Passey didn't appear again and Mitch King
isn't in the lanes either), the prospects for a substantially lowered
bump spot don't appear too great at the moment.

After a relatively short (10 minutes) cleanup, we're back with the
"Ancient One" Chris "The Golden Greek" Karamesines against Bill Anconca,
with both teams hoping to strike the right combination for a winning
hand and entry into the exalted Sweet Sixteen.

Karamesines seems to be on quite a pass until it starts dropping
cylinders just before the 1000 foot mark, then loses the blower belt and
slows to a 4.85 - 269 mph result. Despite the lost belt, he misses the
show by only a hundredth of a second.

Worse luck on the other side as Ancona lights up the afternoon right off
the starting line and continues to trail smoke, sparks and flame all the
way down the track. Needless to say, he doesn't make the grade and
leaves enough oil behind to initiate our second cleanup in two pairs.
Hmm, this could be a loooong session.

With the TV clock running, the Safety Safari goes into overdrive and
sets a new cleanup mark for the weekend, grooming the Ancona'd lane in
just seven minutes and allowing the Bud Shootout finalists to get their
network time just five minutes before the window closes. That's cutting
it close, though.

In the shootout, Dixon does not stay consistent, as Lahiae trys to find a way to run a low, low 50 or forty for the first tiem ans the Miller car blazes the hides. Larry left on Grubnic by a small margin, (.005), and led till 200 feet, from there it was all Grudnic, as he runs his weekend best, a 4.501. Dixon coasts to a 9 second et and fails in his bid to take the rivals money for the fourth time. Congrat's to Grubnic for his first ever NHRA win. While it wasn't a 'Wally', the 100k will probably ease the pain.

Back to TF qualifying. When we left you, we were down to only three cars with a chance to bump into the field, and we start off with Gary Ormsby on a solo.

Despite running three consecutive 4-second times, Ormsby's car has run
out of power before the 1000 foot mark each time. If they could just
keep it hitting on eight for 1320, then the wheel of fortune might stop
before it hits 17 or higher.

This effort looks better, as despite labouring all the way down, the
cylinders don't start dropping until past the 1000 foot mark for a
change and when the clocks stop, a 4.71 at 291 mph comes up on the
scoreboard. It's a career best e.t. for Ormsby, moves him into the field
at #15, bumps Mitch King and puts Scott Weis on the bubble at 4.735.

Two more hopefuls line up next, with Hartley hoping to pick up a tenth
or so on his 4.84 and 4.86 previous efforts, while Scott Palmer is
trying to get untracked and do far better than his 5.40 of yesterday.

Hartley falls off the cliff and lights up the tires at the 330 mark,
while Palmer keeps them hooked up and rumbles through at a decent 4.82,
but still falls nearly a tenth of a second short of the field. He moves
up to first alternate and will receive $2000 for his efforts. Small
consolation for a frustrating weekend for an up and coming team.

Scott Palmer failed to qualify

And on that note, all the bumping possiblities are over and all that
remains is to see if the field shuffles a few starting positions.

Another solo is on tap as Rhonda Hartman-Smith tries to improve on her
4.67 best and nearly matches it with a 4.68, but loses an engine in the
process. That's three dead bullets in four passes for her this weekend,
but since it's her last season, an inventory clearout is probably in
order anyways. But not the hard way, like she's been doing at this event.

Bubble Boy Scott Weis comes up next against Andrew Cowin and neither
driver improves. Weis starts mixing up cylinders early and the engine
explodes, while Cowin loses the blower belt before the 1000 foot mark
and slows to a 4.75 - 247 verdict.

The last single pass of the session sees David Baca crank out one of his
best runs in quite some time (Larry Meyer's assistance must be paying
some dividends) and leaps all the way from #12 to #4 in the field. An
almost perfect looking 4.526 at 325.92 glows brightly on the scoreboard
and the exultation on Baca's face as he exits the car is visible from
quite a distance.

In stark contrast, the next pair of young guns, Morgan Lucas and Brady
Kalivoda, blaze the tires early, with Kalivoda igniting them instantly
in the Bill Miller car and Lucas smokin em in Amato's ride going barely 200 feet before starting his own smokefest. For an added bonus, Lucas gets the tires spinning so hard that the engine freewheels hard enough to spit the blower belt.

The last three pairs of this session are among the better backed teams
and Cory Mac proves the point with a very strong 4.54 at 325 mph to move
up two spots on the ladder, while Herbert slips back a bit with a
decent, but not great, 4.70 pass.

Two of the strongest cars that aren't part of the Kalitta team came up
next and both pound out very strong 4.50 laps, with Tony Schumacher's
4.543 barely outdoing Quad "B" (Bud Boy Brandon Bernstein) 4.562. Brandon moves up one spot to #7, while Schumacher stays in the six hole.

The final pairing has been the class of the class, as Doug and cousin Scott faced off. Both had earlier 4.40 times, from Friday night and they were looking for consistency as much as a big number. Both got down the track with the quickest times of the session, but niether could hit a '40 (probably weren't trying to anyway). Doug goes 4.512/329 and Scott runs a 4.534/300 to make statements they are ready for Sunday. Two absolutely picture perfect passes to close the dragster portion of the show.

That leads us straight into the final session of Funny Car qualifying,
starting a little behind schedule at 4:30 pm. First out of the staging
lanes is my darkhorse (as in very, very dark) choice of the intinerant
Aussies, Peter and Helen Russo. They've struggled very hard all weekend
and just seeing them starting the car is an accomplishment.

Despite tuneup help (via cellphone from living legend Roland Leong) the
Russo's are only planning a short squirt to gather some data and
hopefully not hurt any of the new, and very expensive, parts they've
installed. But the best laid plans evaporate quickly, as Peter stays on
it past half track, past the 1000 foot mark and all the way to the
finish line for a near career best 5.29 at 286 mph. Good on ya' mates!

Unfortunately, that effort could be filed under the far too little, far
too late slot and the Australian flopper fanatics can only look forward
to making a few more laps at Pomona in two weeks.

Two more non-qualified cars come out next, down to their last chances,
and neither Jack Wyatt nor Dale Pulde are looking like good bets to bump
their way into the field. They both leave at a leisurely pace, and while
they show improvement, Pulde's best of the weekend 5.33 - 270 is miles
short of making the show, while Wyatt shuts off early to a 5.57 at
barely 200 mph.

Two of the usual hitters are running early this session, as they've
obviously had bad weekends so far, but Tommy Johnson and Johnny Gray
both blast into the field in a big way, with Gray's 4.853 - 324.05
jumping ten spots to move to #10, and Johnson's 4.857 - 316.52 going all
the way from #25 to the eleventh spot.

Those passes bump out Jeff Arend and Jerry Toliver, putting Tony
Bartone's 4.88 on the bubble. And there could be more movement before
this session is over.

Two more outsiders, looking to get in, Bob Bode and Terry Haddock, line
up next and meet with varying results. Haddock gives up early on his
run, with no apparent distress from the engine or tires and fails to
qualify or improve on his previous 5.07 best. Bode, on the other hand,
comes all the way back from the dead of last night's wallbanging
episode, to turn a tremendous 4.880 - 312.28 and move all the way up to
the #15 spot.

That bumps Tony Bartone from the show, and puts Frank Pedregon on the
hot seat. By the way, we can now report that John Force has officially
clinched his 13th NHRA World Championship in Funny Car when qualifying
finishes in a little while. The $400,000 check and huge trophy are being
prepared for him right now.

Another pair of hopefuls come out next, and Stephen Neese fails by a
bunch to qualify, but does run another career best at 5.257 - 284.39,
while Jerry Toliver continues his frustrating season with yet another
DNQ, blowing the tires off at 200 feet and staying in the third
alternate spot.

We have a single next, with Jim Head laying a good, but not good enough,
4.901 at 316 mph to move up two spots, but that's still two spots short
of qualifying. The run looked good, but it just wasn't enough. That
leaves just Jeff Arend and Tony Bartone unqualified and still to run.
Since Arend isn't in the staging lanes, that leaves Bartone as the last
contestant to attempt to dislodge Frank Pedregon.

Speaking of which, here come Bartone and Pedregon and they put on a good
show, both running 4.90s, but both fail to improve and Bartone remains
in the first alternate position as qualifying ends.

Moving into the stronger, smarter, richer crowd now, Tony Pedregon
punches out an excellent 4.77 at 320 mph, far outdistancing Bob
Gilbertson's 4.90 - 310 effort. Pedregon climbs ten spots on the ladder,
all the way to #3, while Gilbertson stays fourteenth.

Ron Capps and the Cruz Pedregon come out next and both turn on the
scoreboard little more than 4.8 seconds after the lights turn green.
Again, it's nothing spectacular, but both show good consistency, nearly
matching their best efforts for the weekend.

Getting near the end of the line now, Whit Bazemore is on deck now and
blasts a very strong 4.772 - 326.95 to jump all the way from #10 to the
second spot on the ladder. An excellent run and one that leaves Tim
Wilkerson's 4.91 - 315 mph effort in the proverbial dust.

Now we get a special treat of watching John Force receive the trophy and
check for the championship before he faces off with his soon-to-be-ex
employee, Gary Densham. Both make the best side by side passes of the
weekend, carding nearly identical 4.77's, with Densham's 325 mph
outclassing Force's engine blowing at the finish line 319 mph speed.

Another single now as Gary Scelzi burns out, backs up, stages and....
burns out again, coasting across the finish line beams just over 11
seconds later; well ahead of the the tire smoke clearing.

And we finally get down to the last pair, with the top two qualifiers,
Del Worsham and Eric Medlen meeting. Worsham steps up nicely, firing off
the best pass of the weekend for the class, leapfrogging over Medlen
into the top spot, with an awesome 4.751 - 328.22 time. Medlen nearly
matches him until the top end, blowing the engine just past 1000 feet,
and slowing to a "lame" 4.84 at "only" 272 mph.

It's just short of 5:30 and that's a wrap for fuel qualifying. Two days
down and one more to go. That's all from the race reporter for today.


Here Doug Herbert lost to Tony Schumacher in the Bud Shootout.

Top Fuel Final qualifying

1 319 Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, McKinney-TFX 4.491 333.00
2 2 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, McKinney-TFX 4.499 330.47
3 757 David Grubnic, Ennis MT, McKinney-TFX 4.501 328.46
4 7 David Baca, Brentwood CA, McKinney-BAE 4.526 325.92
5 5 Cory McClenathan, Anaheim CA, Hadman-BAE 4.543 325.14
6 3 Tony Schumacher, Mt. Prospect IL, Hadman-TFX 4.543 323.43
7 6 Brandon Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, McKinney-TFX 4.562 329.75
8 1 Larry Dixon, Indianapolis IN, McKinney-KB 4.567 323.50
9 743 Morgan Lucas, Corona CA, Hadman-TFX 4.579 317.79
10 9 Doug Herbert, Lincoln NC, McKinney-BAE 4.607 310.63
11 53 Brady Kalivoda, Seattle WA, Don Long-BAE 4.619 323.58
12 8 John Smith, Williamston SC, McKinney-BAE 4.627 316.08
13 835 Andrew Cowin, Saugas CA, McKinney-BAE 4.640 315.27
14 10 Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Williamston SC, McKinney 4.670 318.39
15 704 Gary Ormsby Jr, Granite Bay CA, Hadman-TFX 4.710 291.57
16 36 Scott Weis, Ashland VA, Attac-TFX 4.735 299.93

Funny Car Saturday session #1

After a hit and miss, and mostly miss to be sure, session of Top Fuel,
hopes weren't that high for a rebound with the Funny Cars. After last
night's excellent conditions, today's bright sunshine and warmer air
temps combined to take the bite out of the track. And, according to an
inside source who must remain nameless, a change in track prep for today
didn't produce the desired results.

Only one car bumped into the field, as Mitch King replaced Joe Hartley
on the bubble, and Andrew Cowin and Rhonda Hartman-Smith improved by a
few hundredths. In contrast, half of the Big Bud Shootout contestants
ran 4.50 et's, while the other half smoked the tires. It was simply a
case of the well-financed teams making the smart decisions that reflect
their status, while the lesser teams struggled.

We may well see the same in Funny Car.

First out of the gate are Bob Bode and Terry Haddock and neither gets
down the track. Bode appears to rebound nicely from last night's
wallbanging episode, but runs out of steam early and shuts off, while
Haddock blazes the tires before half track, gets waaaay out of shape and
shuts off.

Next up is Jeff Arend, who makes another solid 4-second pass at 4.99,
but has the motor go away with a huge bang at the finish line, with the
blower hanging askew as he goes up the shutdown hill. His opponent,
Tommy Johnson Jr., smokes 'em early, gets close to the wall and shuts
off before making contact with the concrete.

A pair of non-qualified cars come up next, and both remain in that
position when they finally cross the finish line. Leading the way is
ageless veteran Dale Pulde, who improves over last night's weak 5.57
effort, all the way to 5.47, still far too slow to have a hope of
qualifying. The most telling statistic is the 1.01 sixty foot time,
hanging like an anchor around their necks.

On the other side of the track is Jack Wyatt, who runs out of power
early, and shuts off with no visible distress from the car. He's not
much quicker than Pulde off the line, but slowed quickly before the 330
foot mark.

The next pair peform the synchronized tiresmoke ballet, both lighting
them up hard well before half track. While Tim Wilkerson was already
strongly qualified with yesterday's 4.79, his opponent, Johnny Gray is
now down to one last chance to get the WonderWagon in the show.

A couple of tough guys come out next, with Tony Bartone and Jerry
Toliver battling it out and neither one winning. Bartone goes the
furthest before falling victim to tiresmoke, but both drivers are off
the throttle well before half track.

Finally we have a full pass when Tony Pedregon pulls the chutes after a
nice 4.88 - 316 mph lap, while older brother Frank keeps pace until just
past the 330 foot mark, before shutting off to a 6-second tally.

Bob Gilbertson keeps the spark lit with another 4-second pass that isn't
an improvement over yesterday while on the other side of the track
Stephen Neese wiggles badly and shuts off at half track, getting very
close to the wall in the process.

Two veterans are up next, and neither makes the pass they wanted, with
Cruz Pedregon shutting off at half track with no visible problems, while
Jim Head smokes them hard at 200 feet, reducing his qualifying chances
to one last shot this afternoon.

After all the tire smoke, early shut offs and assorted carnage, we now
move into the top runners in the field and better performances can be
expected. Expected, but not guaranteed.

In the first side by side 4.80 race of the afternoon, Ron Capps leads
Whit Bazemore to the finish line, despite smoking the engine at the
finish line and apparently leaving some oil on the track in the shutdown
area. Bazemore improves by two hundredths of a second, while Capps is a
few thousandths slower than yesterday, and both drivers retain their
respective qualifying positions.

After a short cleanup delay, we're back with the King himself, John
Force and soon-to-depart employee Gary Densham in a matchup that's
happened many times over the past 30 years. Densham's pass is several
hundreths quicker than last night and moves him up one rung on the
qualifying ladder, while Force is just a touch slower than yesterday
with a 4.80 to Gary's 4.81, but the raceday tuneup seems to be working
to near perfection.

Now we move on to Gary Scelzi and Phil Burkart with another pair of
excellent laps. Scelzi smokes the engine at the finish line, but not
before recording a solid 4.86, while Burkart moves up two notches on the
charts with a best of the day 4.780 at nearly 320 mph. Even better: his
pass was clean as a whistle, straight as a string and very pretty to watch.

Finally we come to the last pair of the session, with rookie of the year
in waiting, Eric Medlen, against everybody's best friend, Del Worsham.
The braintrust at Force Inc. apparently miscalculated the track
conditions and had young Medlen up in very heavy smoke very early
(before the 330 mark), while Worsham nearly matches Burkart's pass with
a very strong 4.784, but sacrifices an engine in the pursuit, right at
the finish line. Even worse for Del, he fails to move up from the #3
spot, as his 4.776 last night was just a tad quicker.

So ends the third of four qualifying sessions for the plastic
fantastics. One more chance for the nine cars not in the show yet, and
another chance to solidify their positions for the currently qualified
cars. By the time they hit the track again late this afternoon, the
conditions should be conducive to better performances and some serious
bumping could occur.

Top Fuel Saturday

Welcome back to day two of the AC-Delco Las Vegas Nationals from The
Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The weather is gorgeous, especially
for this time of year, with clear skies, warm temperatures and light
breezes. It's a great day to be alive and drag racing.

Today gets loud earlier, with the first round of the revamped Big Bud
Shootout going off at noon sharp, followed closely by the first Top Fuel
qualifying session, then straight into Funny Car and Pro Mod. The show
barely slows down until late afternoon as the sportsman cars will be in
the pits and it will be strictly pro cars (and bikes) until 4:30 pm.
Again, the compact, rapid-fire show takes the stage and should keep the
spectators well entertained throughout the afternoon.

The event runs until 7:30 pm, but the last three hours of the day are
reserved for the sportsman racers and the grandstands and parking lots
should see a slow, but steady, exodus as the sun sinks lower in the
western sky, and eventually disappears over the snow-capped mountains in
the distance.

After a lengthy introduction, the eight chosen ones in the Shootout pull
up for the first round of eliminations and the first pair sets the tone
for the day, with Brandon Bernstein holeshotting Cory Mac enroute to a
very close 4.57 to 4.56 decision. The victory comes at no small cost
though, as a spent bullet leaves a trail of oily debris for the safety
safari to remove before the second pair of contestants fire up.

Ten minutes later we're back with an all-Kalitta battle, and in an
interesting turn of events, David Grubnic outlasts Scott Kalita, with a
troubled 4.91 turning back a tire-smoking six-second effort.

That is quickly followed by another tire-smoking episode by Doug
Herbert, shutting off very early and letting the Army car of Tony
Schumacher take an uncontested, but again, engine-blowing win. This time
there's no oil on the track and after the death smoke clears, the final
pair of the first round fires up.

And it's another tire smoker, as Doug Kalitta goes up in smoke,
(interstingly, all three Kalitta cars smoked the tires) and Larry "Last
Minute" Dixon blitzes into the semifinals of the shootout, also securing
lane choice over Bernstein in the process.

That's it for the shootout for now and we're into Top Fuel qualifying
for the next half hour or so.

First up are Andrew Cowin and Steve Chrisman. Young Chrisman provides a
real photo op with tireshake so hard that both rear tires were off the
track, twice, as he tried unsucessfully to salvage the run. Long gone on
the other side was younger Cowin as he improved marginally to a 4.64 lap.

Scott Palmer and Chris Karamesine are up next and neither really gets
with the program, with both cars mixing up cylinders early, and the
Greek going up in smoke at half track. Palmer soldiers on to the 1000
foot mark before his engine surrenders and coasts through the emergency
turnoff halfway up the hill.

And we're down for a (hopefully) quick cleanup of the racing surface.
Good guess, as less than five minutes later we have Brady Kalivoda and
Mike Strasburg firing up. While I was thinking that the left lane might
have been the preferred option today, I've seen enough good and bad on
both sides that lane choice is probably not an issue.

We have nearly synchronized tiresmoke as both cars ignite the balonies
before they've passed the 60 foot mark, and they coast slowly down track
to the first turnouts. Hmm, today seems to be a bit hit or miss, and
mostly miss, when it comes to tuning decisions for the fuel cars.

We move on to Scott Weis and Gary Ormbsy now and while Weis is solidly
in the field with a 4.73 for a safe #15, Ormsby is still trying to make
a full pull and improve on his 1000 foot 4.91 pass. No help for either
car today, as Weis lights them up early and shuts off, while Ormsby Jr.
goes to just short of the 1000 foot mark for a change and cards another
4-second pass (4.98) at just 232 mph. He's impressive to just past half
track each time, but is down to only one chance to make the complete
pass he needs to jump into the show.

Oh, oh, looks like there's "stuff" on the track and we're down for some
more of those ubiqutous (sp?) Motel 6 commecials. You know the drill...
"we'll leave the lights on for you, etc".

Half a box lunch later and we're good to go again as Joe Hartley comes
up to make a solo pass and try to improve his bubble position. The car
drops at least three cylinders on the left side on the launch and he
wisely shuts off before dynamiting the engine. It's not as if this team
hasn't had issues with NHRA over track deposits in recent years and for
once, they came out dry and clean.

Another single follows, and Rhonda Hartman-Smith improves slightly on
yesterday's best of 4.70 with a clean, consistent 4.67, but remains in
the #14 spot on the laddder.

With the big guns running first (due to the shootout), the usual run
order is scrambled and we're looking at the last pair of Bill Ancona and
David Baca. Apparently, Mitch King and Rob Passey decided to sit out
this session, and during my pit walk earlier today, I didn't even see
the Passey car out of the trailer.

No help for this pair, as they both strike the tires before half track,
with Anconca tempting fate by getting back into it until the front end
started going skyward. Baca shutoff without attempting to save the run,
and really didn't to as his back to back 4.60's yesterday have him
safely in the show.

Oops, looks like I missed one pair of cars as the last, really the last,
pair of dragsters fires up and goes through their burnout routines.
Mitch King makes a strong pass, and jumps all the way from third
alternate to the bump spot, removing Hartley from that position by two
thousandths of a second. Morgan Lucas backfires the blower at half track
and coasts through the lights.

Bring on the floppers.

Oct. 29, 2004 (story by Bob Wilson, photos by Bob Wilson and Mark King)


Friday final Pro qualifying

The most interesting developement in the Pro classes happened to the George Bryce "G Squared" Pro Stock Bike team. Chip Ellis the rider on the G2 Bike Team competed last weekend at Vegas in the AHDRA event, and when they tech in for this weekend, they found out they could not run in qualifying on Friday, because the rules in the NHRA state you cannot run at a track in the 7 days prior to a National event. Thus the penalty. They are supposed to be allowed to run on Saturday. Interesting in that if they competed last weekend and so did Craig Treble(in a different class than Ellis, and niether were in the Pro Stock class), why was he allowed to race on Friday. I must be missing something in the rules.

Friday night pit notes (courtesy Jamie Clerf).....Bob Bode took one of the wildest rides I've seen in Funny Car - a power
wheelstand at 660 feet, which sent him into the wall after the car came
back down.

Nitro qualifying Friday was awesome...the Kalitta cars are THE show
these days in Top Fuel.

The Funny Cars are great from top to bottom whereas the Top Fuel field
is a bit weak outside of the top 8 or so cars.

Spotted in the Greek's pit area - Glenn Mikres (a little tuning help

Also spotted legendary Funny Car racer Lil' John Lombardo in the Dale
Pulde pit area.

Friday Gallery #2

Friday Gallery #1

David Grubnic made it one, two, three for "Team Kalitta".


Friday night evening show prelude......The sun is long gone now and the temps are dropping quickly. Just like in the movies, once the sun sets, the desert gets cold in a hurry. But the lights are burning brightly and the entire facility is very well lit up. (So we should be able to take some good photos when the fuel cars come back into the staging lanes).

The grunts and snorts of the prehistoric nitro beasts echo in the
darkness, alternately threatening and inspiring as they go through their
pre-run rituals and prepare to battle the asphalt once more.

Bob Gilbertson is #12 after Friday.

Despite the cool evening, the grandstands are still nearly full on the
west side (the big stand), as the local spectators are better prepared
for a cool evening than some Canadian reporters.

Pro Stock qualifying

Pro Stock

1 2455 Jason Line, Terrell NC, '04 Grand Am 6.775@ 202.55
2 1 Greg Anderson, Concord NC, '04 Grand Am 6.790 202.85
3 107 Kenny Koretsky, Richboro PA, '04 Stratus 6.790 202.58
4 1021 Steve Johns, Mountville PA, '04 Cavalier 6.797 202.85
5 5 Mike Edwards, Broken Arrow OK, '04 Grand Am 6.803 201.91
6 3 Jeg Coughlin, Delaware OH, '04 Cavalier 6.808 202.15
7 55 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '04 Stratus 6.809 202.48
8 335 Dave Connolly, Elyria OH, '04 Cavalier 6.813 202.15
9 445 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '04 Cavalier 6.816 202.48
10 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '04 Stratus 6.817 202.42
11 7 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '04 Cavalier 6.819 202.55
12 2803 Fernando Cuadra, Leon MX, '04 Cavalier 6.827 201.88
13 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '04 Stratus 6.831 201.37
14 8 Bruce Allen, Arlington TX, '04 Grand Am 6.833 201.22
15 2 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '04 Cavalier 6.835 200.71
16 701 Ben Watson, Concord CA, '02 Cavalier 6.841 200.59

Koretsky is #3 with a 6.790

Pro Stock Bike

1 7 Andrew Hines, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 7.130 182.21
2 200 Chip Ellis, Salisbury NC, Buell 7.131 182.58
3 1 Geno Scali, Palatine IL, Suzuki 7.181 185.61
4 10 GT Tonglet, Metairie LA, Harley V-Rod 7.185 181.30
5 204 Matt Smith, King NC, Suzuki 7.195 179.80
6 3 Shawn Gann, Stoneville NC, Suzuki 7.205 181.35
7 751 Steve Johnson, Birmingham AL, Suzuki 7.225187.21
8 2 Angelle Savoie, Mathews LA, Suzuki GSXR 7.234 181.01
9 412 Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge LA, Suzuki GSXR 7.236 183.10
10 6 Antron Brown, Indianapolis IN, Suzuki GSXR 7.250 181.18
11 405 Blaine Hale, Midland TX, Suzuki GSXR 7.255 184.35
12 5 Craig Treble, Hensley AR, Suzuki GSXR 7.260 183.10
13 777 Karen Stoffer, Minden NV, Suzuki 7.266 182.97
14 467 Kurt Matte, Lafayette LA, Suzuki 7.282 180.81
15 316 Chip Hunter, Lebanon IN, Suzuki 7.291 183.42
16 9 Mike Berry, Littleton CO, Suzuki 7.303 182.35

Antron is #4 after running 7.250

Friday first nitro session.............The only no-shows were Peter Russo (still putting the car back together after two years without running) and Rob Passey (still waxing the body and firing up the BBQ). Bill Anconca could not fire and Phil Burkart was DQ'd after a great pass when he hit the finish line cones (4.94 - 291 mph).

No really big surprises from either faction, but Jeff Arend
(ex/former/sometime Canadian) continues to impress with solid 4-second
passes and Frank Pedregon laid down an excellent 4.94 - 309 mph on his
first pass under the tuning guidance of Mark Oswald. Nice way for the
"Wizard of Os" to get back into the sport.

Gary Densham debuted a Popeye paint scheme in his second to last race as
part of the J. Force entourage. And yes, there are rumors running rampant that Ashley Force will be driving a Top Fuel car next year, with
Jimmy Prock tuning (While this has been rumored for a while this is one that I would put money on not happening. John is too smart to rush a daughter in one of the big classes). The ed.

From the long skinny contingent, Brady Kalivoda laid down a very
impressive 4.61 - 323.58 in Bill Miller's car - a near a career best
for both team and driver. And it was healthy all the way to the finish
line. The Kalitta cousins, Doug and Scott made identical (to the
thousandth of a second) laps at 329 mph, and only the extra .81 of a
mile an hour put Scott on top of the list after the first session.

The Cowin family turned a respectable 4.68 - 314 at quite a cost, as
they left quite a trail of smoke, oil and parts on the top end of the
track. In contrast, Joe Hartley ran a decent 4,86 - 313, smoked the
engine yet again, but didn't leave any deposits in the oilbank for a change. A 4.96 at only 279 mph was a decent start for the rookie TF pilot Gary Orsmby .

The Friday "Insider" pro prelude

Part II..........Back to the computer after the first Pro Mod qualifying session, which was combined with the first round of the AMS Pro Mod shootout. The usual suspects won, including Shannon Jenkins shutting off early to a 6.42, Canuck Al Billes blasting out a 6.29, Mike Ashley ripping off a slightly
quicker 6.29, and Von Smith.

The show will kick into high gear in the next hour, as we're currently
grinding our way through Pro Stock Cycle, to be followed by Pro Stock
Car, then on to the good stuff, the fuel cars.

A quick perusal of the schedule indicates that the professional (nitro)
program is being run in a tight three to three and a half hour window
today. While it might be starting a little early on a Friday afternoon,
the idea of putting the bulk of the entertainment in a fairly tight band
of time is a good one.

Get the fans out to see the fuel cars, hot lap them twice, then let
everyone go home satisfied and excited by the spectacle they've seen,
instead of bored and frustrated by having to sit through four or five or
six hours of slow dragsters and even slower door cars, just to see an
hour or two of really fast cars.

Of the 585 cars and bikes on the grounds (official NHRA figures), less
than 100 are supercharged (or nitrous aided), and of the remainder, the
truly interesting ones could be counted on one hand, even one missing a
digit or two. That comment may ignite the flame mail mob, but that's the
only way I can look at this sport after nearly 30 years of watching (and
sometimes driving) cars down the 1320.

Pro Stock is on deck now, and the media centre is full of people who
should be either photographing or reporting on the action taking place
just a few feet away, but nearly everyone seems to be more interested in
the free lunch (so graciously provided by NHRA) and liquid refreshments
than in the best efforts of the professional door car racers.

It's only a few more minutes until the first round of fuel qualifying
and the centre will surely empty when the first strains of that
lamentable 85% medley start playing in earnest.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Day 1 of Race 23 of Year 4 of the new millennium.

Part I............

After several days of somewhat indifferent weather, including some
all-too-rare rain on Wednesday, today began under crsytal clear blue
skies. All the mountains surrounding this city were completely visible
and the grand spectacle of desert scenery was on brilliant display.

The temperatures aren't too high, and there is a substantial breeze
blowing, but conditions for racing are nearly ideal. With a 2100 foot
elevation, LVMS is never going to have mineshaft air, but in comparison
to earlier events this year, we may witness the best atmospherics yet
seen at The Strip.

A quick census of the nitro pits revealed exactly 50 inhabitants, evenly
split between the "sexes", with 25 blown fuel floppers and 24 blown fuel
dragsters. Hey math-man, that's only 49, where's that 50th car? Right
over there, at the end of John Force alley, where Ashley F. has pitted
her unblown A/FD. Hmm.... is this a story possibility, or just another
example of the tail wagging the dog?

The layout of this facility makes it very easy to negotiate one's way
around the pits and see all the cars in one easily defined/delineated
area. Starting from the north end of the fuel pits, a large group of
non-regular competitors is arrayed, with names like Chris Karmesines,
Bill Anconca, Rob Passey, Marhsall Topping, and Scott Palmer in the
dragster contingent.

On the other side of the alley, Jack Wyatt, Bob Bode, Steven Neese, Dale
Pulde, and Peter Russo fill in the funny car field, along with the usual
host of regular competitors. While taking inventory, a fellow SpeedZone
correspondent, Jamie Clerf, comes into view and we compare notes for a
few minutes.

We agree on the quality of this facility and the first-class way in
which the race is being presented and run, but then our views diverge
when the subject of rules for the fuel cars, especially the limits
currently in place, and even more so, the proposed changes for next
season are brought up.

Oct. 28, 2004 Odds for Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Oddsmaker Micah Roberts of Station Casinos in Las Vegas
today set the odds for this weekend's NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals
at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the usual suspects are at
the top of his list. Tony Schumacher, who recently clinched the 2004
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel title, heads the list at 5/2.
John Force leads the Funny Car parade at 3/1 and 2004 Pro Stock champ
Greg Anderson's odds are a decidedly unattractive 1/2. (That's correct:
bet two, win one.) Roberts' pick to win Saturday's Bud Shootout for Top
Fuel Dragsters is a toss-up: both Schumacher and Doug Kalitta are
favored at 5/2.

Tony Schumacher - 5/2
Doug Kalitta - 3/1
Scott Kalitta - 9/2
Brandon Bernstein - 5/1
David Grubnic - 6/1
Cory McClenathan - 10/1
Larry Dixon - 10/1
Morgan Lucas - 15/1
Doug Herbert - 15/1
Scott Weis - 20/1
Rhonda Hartman-Smith - 25/1
Field (all others) - 20/1

John Force - 3/1
Del Worsham - 7/2
Gary Scelzi - 4/1
Gary Densham - 9/2
Whit Bazemore - 7/1
Tim Wilkerson - 8/1
Eric Medlin - 8/1
Cruz Pedregon - 12/1
Tony Pedregon - 13/1
Jerry Toliver - 25/1
Ron Capps - 30/1
Field (all others) - 12/1

Greg Anderson - 1/2
Jason Line - 2/1
Dave Connolly - 5/1
Larry Morgan - 5/1
Jeg Coughlin Jr. - 6/1
Kurt Johnson - 10/1
Kenny Koretsky - 15/1
Warren Johnson - 20/1
Rickie Smith - 25/1
Allen Johnson - 30/1
Jim Yates - 30/1
Field (all others) - 6/1

Doug Kalitta - 5/2
Tony Schumacher - 5/2
David Grubnic - 4/1
Brandon Bernstein - 9/2
Scott Kalitta - 5/1
Cory McClenathan - 8/1
Doug Herbert - 10/1
Wild Card Entry - 8/1

The Event----------The Track

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Located on 1,600 acres, Las Vegas Motor Speedway officially opened in 1995. The state-of-the-art dragstrip at the multi-facility motorsports complex, completed in spring 2000, hosts two NHRA national events each year. A foot tunnel underneath the dragstrip allows spectators easy access between the west and east grandstands.

ADDRESS: 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N., Las Vegas, NV 89115

ELEVATION: 2,100 feet


TICKET INFORMATION: (800) 644-4444; (702) 644-4444; (702) 474-4000

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, follow Interstate 15 north to Speedway Boulevard (exit 54). Follow signs to the main parking area.

VISITOR INFORMATION: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, (702) 892-0711; Las Vegas Reservation Systems, (800) 397-3342;

Weekend photos courtesy Mark King, Bob Wilson and Rich Carlson

Sunday first round


Saturday Pro Stock

Pro Stock qualifying is half way down

Friday night staging lanes

Jeff Arends got a good deal

Franks back. Hopefully the backing is there.

Nice bread truck

The new Schick paint looks good.



Las Vegas track records:

Top Fuel - 4.472 sec by Doug Kalitta, April '04; 335.57 mph by Doug Kalitta, April '04
Funny Car -- 4.747 sec by Tony Pedregon, April '04; 327.27 mph by Gary Densham, April '04
Pro Stock -- 6.812 sec by Greg Anderson, Oct. '04; 202.03 mph by Greg Anderson, April '04
Pro Stock Bike - 7.165 sec by Craig Treble, Oct. '03; 191.08 mph by Matt Hines, Oct. '02

2003 AC Delco winners

Kenny Bernstein, Top Fuel; Tony Pedregon, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Craig Treble, Pro Stock Bike.

Saturday, Oct. 30, 30 minutes of Budweiser Shootout coverage at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2
Saturday, Oct. 30, 90 minutes of qualifying coverage at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2
Sunday, Oct. 31, NHRA 2Day, half-hour preview show at noon (ET) on ESPN2
Sunday, Oct. 31, three hours of eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2
























































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