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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Bob Gilbertson Wins First
Career Funny Car Race

Plus all NHRA Houston Results

By NHRA Communications

BAYTOWN, Texas - Bob Gilbertson won his first career Funny Car race Sunday at the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. The upstart Gilbertson, from Gastonia, N.C., covered the quarter mile in his Trick Tank Pontiac Firebird in 5.067 seconds at 304.25 mph to defeat Jerry Toliver, who left the line early and fouled, in the Funny Car finale. 

Gilbertson had a bit of luck working for him on his way to his first win in his first final round appearance. The No. 16 qualifier Gilbertson drove past John Force, Jim Epler had a red light in the second round and Ron Capps hit the center line and was disqualified in the semifinals prior to Toliver's foul at the line in the final. "Unbelievable, that's the only word I got," said Gilbertson. "Everybody did a good job and the crew worked hard all day. We just had some Lady Luck going for us as John Force would say, and we were glad to be here to beat him. When you got it going it doesn't matter who is over (in the other lane). I did see Capps come over in to my lane but I didn't want to rear end him. I thought I saw him touch the center but I just took my chances and kept driving. If we can take a win this way we will do it every race if we have to." 

Toliver's runner-up finish in his WWF Racing Chevrolet Camaro increased his points lead to 56 over Tony Pedregon. With the win Gilbertson jumped to sixth in the NHRA Winston championship points standings. Gilbertson has been the No. 16 qualifier at each event this year and had not advanced past the first round prior to Sunday's action. "I'm thinking we're going to kick some butt here the rest of the year," said Gilbertson. "We are going to go to Richmond (Va.) next. Maybe we can go up there and be the No. 16 qualifier again and do the same thing all over. That's all we can hope for. Take a round at a time and just give it everything we got." 

Larry Dixon, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Randy Daniels were also winners in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the fifth of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Dixon, from Indianapolis, won his first event of the year as he blasted his Don "The Snake" Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to a pass of 4.665 at 316.90 to hold off Tony Schumacher and his run of 4.761 at 309.98. It was the fifth different Top Fuel winner in as many races this season and the second straight victory for Dixon at HRP, the same track where he ran the first sub 4.5 second pass in NHRA history when he recorded a 4.486 pass. It was also quite a reward for the legendary Prudhomme who earlier in the week was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

"It's anybody's ballgame," said Prudhomme. "The trick is to have a tune up that lets you get up and down the track and put some good numbers on the board. Just keep running consistent. The name of the game is consistency. This will be a battle right to the end. Everybody has pretty much the same stuff now. It's just he who has the right setup at the right given time. Being consistent."

Dixon defeated Bruce Litton, Don Lampus, and Doug Herbert on his way to his final round showdown with Schumacher and the Exide Batteries dragster. The victory moved Dixon into third place in the Winston Top Fuel points standings, 86 behind Schumacher. Schumacher increased his points lead over Gary Scelzi to 66.

"This (trophy) is going to Snake," said Dixon. "It has been a great week all the way around for our racing team. With Snake going to the Hall of Fame and I got to go to it. That was a real special deal. I grew up on The Snake. Our car hauled all weekend long. The slowest we ran was a 4.67 and the quickest we ran was a 4.62. We also ran 320 mph this week. (Crew chief) Dick LaHaie should be up here. He won this race a year ago when he was tuning for Doug Herbert and then he came to our team and we won here in October. Now we come back here again and win. It helped us out points-wise too. It was a great, great weekend."

Columbus, Ohio's, Coughlin continued his dominant season as he sped down the track in his JEG's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass in 6.905 at 199.29 for his fourth Pro Stock victory of the season. Coughlin defeated Jim Yates in the final who ran a 6.926 at 199.55 in his Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird. Coughlin was able to defeat Mike Thomas, Kurt Johnson, Darrel Alderman and Yates on his road to the winner's circle. Coughlin has been nothing but impressive in his early season performance.

"This is all certainly flattering," said Coughlin. "Our group has been working real hard. We just have great harmony right now and we are reading the track and air really well. We are extremely optimistic and we are obviously realistic too. We will take everything home and prepare everything as best as we can again and go to Richmond for the next race and hopefully we will be prepared. Our goal is turn the win light on and that is my rush."

Daniels, from Grantsboro, N.C., made a pass of 7.538 at 179.59 but earned his second victory of the season behind the wheel of his Daniels Racing/Bailey Trucking Chevy S-10 when final round opponent Bob Panella fouled at the line. Daniels drove past Larry Seay, Rick Jones, Tim Freeman and Panella on his way to the win. Daniels also set a national record for speed at 180.02. He is the first Pro Stock Truck driver to eclipse the 180 mph barrier. "This was quite a surprise," said Daniels. "We didn't think we had the truck to win. We were fast but not quite fast enough to win the race. I saw my win light as soon as we left the line. Man, I couldn't believe he really did it, but we'll take it. That little Chevy S-10 was really dynamite."

The next event in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series is the sixth annual Moto1.net NHRA Nationals, April 27-30, at Virginia Motorsports Park.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.8 million race is the fifth of 23 events in the $45-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL: 1. Larry Dixon; 2. Tony Schumacher; 3. Doug Kalitta; 4. Doug Herbert; 5. Mike Smith; 6. Don Lampus; 7. Kenny Bernstein; 8. Joe Hartley; 9. Bruce Litton; 10. ; 11. Bob Vandergriff; 12. Gary Scelzi; 13. David Grubnic; 14. Joe Amato; 15. Cory McClenathan; 16. Rhonda Hartman-Smith.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird; 2. Jerry Toliver, Chevrolet Camaro; 3. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang; 4. Ron Capps, Camaro; 5. Scotty Cannon, Camaro; 6. Whit Bazemore, Camaro; 7. Dean Skuza, Dodge Avenger; 8. Jim Epler, Chevy Camaro; 9. Frank Pedregon, Pontiac Firebird; 10. Gary Densham, Firebird; 11. Al Hofmann, Firebird; 12. Cristen Powell, Firebird; 13. Todd Paton, Firebird; 14. John Force, Mustang; 15. Bob Weickgenannt, Camaro; 16. Ron Capps, Camaro.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jeg Coughlin, Cutlass; 2. Jim Yates, Pontiac Firebird; 3. Mark Pawuk, Firebird; 4. Darrell Alderman, Dodge Avenger; 5. Ron Krisher, Firebird; 6. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro; 7. Richie Stevens, Firebird; 8. Kurt Johnson, Camaro; 9. Jamie Yates, Firebird; 10. Bruce Allen, Firebird; 11. Brad Jeter, Firebird; 12. Robert Patrick, Ford Mustang; 13. Warren Johnson, Firebird; 14. Tom Martino, Firebird; 15. Troy Coughlin, Oldsmobile Cutlass; 16. Mike Thomas, Firebird.

PRO STOCK TRUCK: 1. Randy Daniels, S-10; 2. Bob Panella Jr, Chevrolet S-10; 3. Brian Self, S-10; 4. Tim Freeman, S-10; 5. Taylor Lastor, S-10; 6. Rick Jones, GMC Sonoma; 7. Scott Perin, S-10; 8. Greg Stanfield, S-10; 9. Jeff Gracia, S-10; 10. Steve Johns, S-10; 11. Larry Seay, S-10; 12. John Lingenfelter, Sonoma; 13. Scott Tidwell, S-10; 14. Lou Ficco, S-10; 15. Vinny Barone, S-10; 16. Rob Slavinski, S-10.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Sunday's final results from the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. The $1.8-million race is the fifth of 23 events in the $45-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Larry Dixon, Indianapolis, 4.665 seconds, 316.90 mph def. Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.761 seconds, 309.98 mph.

Funny Car -- Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., Pontiac Firebird, 5.067, 304.25 def. Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, foul.

Pro Stock -- Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6.905, 199.29 def. Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Pontiac Firebird, 6.926, 199.55.

Pro Stock Truck -- Randy Daniels, Grantsboro, N.C., Chevrolet S-10, 7.538, 179.59 def. Bob Panella Jr, Stockton, Calif., Chevrolet S-10, foul.

Federal-Mogul Dragster -- Jeff Wilson, Winfield, Mo., 5.481, 260.06 def. Troy Buff, Spring, Texas, 5.562, 257.14.

Federal-Mogul Funny Car -- Cy Chesterman, Sioux City, Iowa, Pontiac Trans Am, 5.670, 257.78 def. Tony Bartone, Manhasset, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 5.766, 251.25.

Comp Eliminator -- Don Stratton, Beloit, Ohio, '34 Chevrolet, 8.153, 162.10 def. Bill Kent, Midland, Texas, 7.376, 150.48.

Super Stock -- Jeff Taylor, Lumberton, N.C., Pontiac Grand Am, 8.919, 154.44 def. Tim Boudreau, Wilmington, Mass., Oldsmobile Achieva, 9.503, 142.16.

Stock -- Jeff Hefler, Mansfield, Texas, Pontiac Trans Am, 11.120, 115.08 def. Jimmie Hutto, Houston, Chevrolet Camaro, 10.716, 123.23.

Super Comp -- Jimmy Lewis, Mesquite, Texas, 8.910, 165.60 def. Erica Enders, Houston, 8.920, 168.62.

Super Gas -- Mike Ferderer, Buckley, Wash., Pontiac Firebird, 9.930, 149.96 def. Mark Buehring, Houston, Chevrolet Camaro, 9.908, 149.56.

BAYTOWN, Texas - Sunday's round-by-round results from the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, the fifth of 23 events in the $45-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL : ROUND ONE -- Doug Herbert, Cherryville, N.C., 4.692, 318.39 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Williamston, S.C., 10.188, 81.74; Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., 4.673, 309.77 def. Bob Vandergriff, Cumming, Ga., 4.812, 306.12; Tony Schumacher, Park Ridge, Ill., 4.619, 315.34 def. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., 5.274, 191.57; Mike Smith, Fish Creek, Wis., 4.805, 292.52 def. Cory McClenathan, Anaheim, Calif., 7.308, 109.21; Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest, Calif., 4.959, 212.83 was unopposed; Joe Hartley, Omaha, Neb., 5.114, 244.87 def. Gary Scelzi, Fresno, Calif., 5.231, 224.58; Larry Dixon, Indianapolis, 4.655, 319.67 def. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, 4.745, 314.09; Don Lampus, Garland, Texas, 4.719, 314.02 def. Joe Amato, Exeter, Pa., 5.977, 152.07; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Herbert, 4.749, 314.61 def. Bernstein, 4.928, 268.60; Kalitta, 5.530, 263.92 def. Hartley, 14.580, 61.21; Schumacher, 4.638, 314.02 def. Smith, 4.699, 318.17; Dixon, 4.669, 313.07 def. Lampus, 4.719, 313.44; 

SEMIFINALS -- Dixon, 4.627, 320.58 def. Herbert, 7.735, 110.98; Schumacher, 4.708, 311.85 def. Kalitta, 7.361, 108.36; 

FINAL -- Dixon, 4.665, 316.90 def. Schumacher, 4.761, 309.98.


ROUND ONE -- Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., Chevrolet Camaro, 4.970, 305.70 def. Del Worsham, Laguna Hills, Calif., Pontiac Firebird,8.945, 92.01; Whit Bazemore, Indianapolis, Camaro, 5.040, 307.37 def. Bob Weickgenannt, Columbia, Md., Camaro, 8.722, 97.43; Bob Gilbertson, Gastonia, N.C., Firebird, 5.023, 308.07 def. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Ford Mustang, 6.422, 151.44; Jerry Toliver, Huntington Beach, Calif., Camaro, 4.899, 318.39 def. Cristen Powell, Portland, Ore., Firebird, 5.127, 272.12; Dean Skuza, Brecksville, Ohio, Dodge Avenger, 4.911, 290.57 def. Gary Densham, Bellflower, Calif., Firebird, 5.065, 288.15; Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills, Calif., Mustang, 5.045, 309.84 def. Al Hofmann, Umatilla, Fla., Firebird, 5.078, 277.83; Scotty Cannon, Lyman, S.C., Camaro, 4.945, 306.74 def. Frank Pedregon, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Firebird, 5.036, 305.70; Jim Epler, Phoenix, Camaro, 4.950, 313.22 def. Todd Paton, Paris, Ont., Firebird, 5.931, 168.96; 

QUARTERFINALS -- T. Pedregon, 5.001, 312.93 def. Bazemore, 5.005, 305.08; Toliver, 4.936, 313.58 def. Cannon, 5.004, 313.00; Capps, 4.954, 304.39 def. Skuza, 7.872, 111.12; Gilbertson, 5.094, 293.73 def. Epler, foul; 

SEMIFINALS -- Gilbertson, 7.486, 142.73 def. Capps, DQ; Toliver, 4.937, 314.02 def. T. Pedregon, 5.057, 284.90; 

FINAL -- Gilbertson, 5.067, 304.25 def. Toliver, foul.


ROUND ONE -- Ron Krisher, Warren, Ohio, Pontiac Firebird, 6.965, 190.78 def. Robert Patrick, Fredricksburg, Va., Ford Mustang, 6.980, 198.50; Kurt Johnson, Lawrenceville, Ga., Chevy Camaro, 6.901, 200.23 def. Bruce Allen, Arlington, Texas, Firebird, 6.937, 198.35; Darrell Alderman, Morehead, Ky., Dodge Avenger, 6.932, 198.58 def. Troy Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Oldsmobile Cutlass, 7.494, 144.91; Mark Pawuk, Akron, Ohio, Firebird, 6.936, 198.64 def. Tom Martino, Farmingdale, N.J., Firebird, 7.295, 156.25; Richie Stevens, New Orleans, Firebird, 6.974, 196.59 def. Warren Johnson, Buford, Ga., Firebird, 6.981, 197.94; Rickie Smith, King, N.C., Camaro, 6.938,
198.32 def. Brad Jeter, Greenville, S.C., Firebird, 6.960, 197.45; Jeg Coughlin, Columbus, Ohio, Cutlass, 6.901, 199.70 def. Mike Thomas, Knoxville, Tenn., Firebird, 11.528, 77.04; Jim Yates, Alexandria, Va., Firebird, 6.918, 199.43 def. Jamie Yates, Alexandria, Va., Firebird, 6.930, 198.73; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Pawuk, 6.934, 198.67 def. Stevens, 6.967, 196.90; Alderman, 6.968, 197.77 def. Smith, 6.932, 198.00; Jim Yates, 6.922, 199.35 def. Krisher, 6.913, 199.49; J. Coughlin, 6.919, 199.49 def. K. Johnson, 9.193, 103.59; 

SEMIFINALS -- Jim Yates, 6.922, 199.37 def. Pawuk, 6.939, 198.12; J. Coughlin, 6.927, 198.85 def. Alderman, 6.952, 198.23; 

FINAL -- J. Coughlin, 6.905, 199.29 def. Ji. Yates, 6.926, 199.55.


ROUND ONE -- Taylor Lastor, Austin, Texas, Chevrolet S-10, 7.575, 179.02 def. Vinny Barone, Dix Hill, N.Y., S-10, 7.818, 127.85; Rick Jones, Galesburg, Ill., GMC Sonoma, 7.590, 178.40 def. Scott Tidwell, Pinson, Ala., S-10, 7.621, 177.51; Tim Freeman, Roan Mountain, Tenn., S-10, 7.567, 177.67 def. Jeff Gracia, Ontario, Calif., S-10, 7.557, 178.68; Brian Self, Houston, S-10, 7.552, 178.97 def. Rob Slavinski, Newark, Ohio, S-10, 8.480, 118.95; Bob Panella Jr, Stockton, Calif., S-10, 7.523, 179.42 def. Lou Ficco, Wheatridge, Colo., S-10, 7.622, 176.95; Scott Perin, Pen Argyl, Pa., S-10, 7.588, 176.88 def. Steve Johns, Lancaster, Pa., S-10, 7.564, 179.23; Greg Stanfield, Bossier City, La., S-10, 7.566, 178.02 def. John Lingenfelter, Decatur, Ind., Sonoma, 7.605, 176.93; Randy Daniels, Grantsboro, N.C., S-10, 7.529, 179.52 def. Larry Seay, Mayfield, Ky., S-10, 7.578, 177.39; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Freeman, 7.571, 178.02 def. Stanfield, foul; Self, 7.571, 178.17 def. Perin, 8.062, 131.88; Daniels, 7.527, 179.88 def. Jones, 7.575, 178.40; Panella Jr, 7.497, 179.06 def. Lastor, 7.570, 178.45; 

SEMIFINALS -- Daniels, 7.533, 179.54 def. Freeman, 7.603, 177.65; Panella Jr, 7.499, 179.49 def. Self, 7.552, 178.57; 

FINAL -- Daniels, 7.538, 179.59 def. Panella Jr, foul.

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, the fifth of 23 events in the $45-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series:

1. Tony Schumacher, 451; 2. Gary Scelzi, 385; 3. Larry Dixon, 365; 4. Kenny Bernstein, 359; 5. Joe Amato, 321; 6. Doug Kalitta, 296; 7. Cory McClenathan, 230; 8. Doug Herbert, 225; 9. Don Lampus, 197; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 188.

1. Jerry Toliver, 435; 2. Tony Pedregon, 379; 3. Ron Capps, 342; 4. John Force, 325; 5. Jim Epler, 279; 6. Bob Gilbertson, 235; 7. Del Worsham, 225; 8. Dean Skuza, 221; 9. Scotty Cannon, 219; 10. Whit Bazemore, 210.

1. Jeg Coughlin, 523; 2. Warren Johnson, 390; 3. Mark Pawuk, 313; 4. Ron Krisher, 291; 5. Jim Yates, 277; 6. Troy Coughlin, 270; 7. Richie Stevens, 265; 8. Kurt Johnson, 227; 9. Bruce Allen, 206; 10. Tom Martino, 204.

1. Tony Mullen, 193; 2. Angelle Seeling, 191; 3. David Schultz, 173; 4. Matt Hines, 155; 5. Craig Treble, 127; 6. Antron Brown, 107; 7. Geno Scali, 87; 8. Blaine Hale, 85; 9. (tie) Steve Johnson, 64; Brian Ayers, 64.

1. Bob Panella Jr, 390; 2. Randy Daniels, 342; 3. Greg Stanfield, 297; 4. Rick Jones, 214; 5. Steve Johns, 197; 6. Jeff Gracia, 190; 7. (tie) Brian Self, 188; John Lingenfelter, 188; 9. Taylor Lastor, 173; 10. John Coughlin, 170.

Christi Lewien


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