Russell, T. Pedregon, and T. Coughlin
Win At Topeka
By NHRA Communications
TOPEKA, Kan. - Tony Pedregon scored his second Funny Car
win of the year and second straight at Heartland Park Topeka Sunday, at
the 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.
Pedregon blasted his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang down
the quarter-mile in 4.910 seconds at 320.58 mph to hold off Tim Wilkerson
and his run of 4.999 at 302.69 in his Levi, Ray and Shoup Pontiac
Darrell Russell and Troy Coughlin also were victorious
in their respective categories at the $1.8 million race, the ninth of 23
events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Pedregon's 15th career win moved him into
third in the standings giving team owner John Force and his three-car team
the top three spots in the race towards the NHRA POWERade championship.
Each of the three drivers (Pedregon, Force, and Gary Densham) has two wins
this year and there has been at least one member of Force Racing in every
Funny Car final this season.
"It's pretty amazing how close our three cars are
running this season," said the 37-year-old Pedregon. "Although,
I'm trying to convince Force that his beef isn't with me, it's with
Densham since he is still in the (points) lead. It just goes to show you
that to have the resources, the experience, and the depth - it's really is
nice to be able to rely on that sometimes."
Pedregon needed his best pass of the day to hold off No.
4 qualifier Wilkerson, who was making his first final round appearance
since 1999. The youngest of the three Pedregon's had an opening round win
over Dale Creasy Jr. and then drove past Johnny Gray before defeating his
boss. For the first time since last year at Englishtown, N.J., all three
vehicles advanced to the semifinals, with Pedregon defeating Force en
route to the final.
"The race with John, man, it's hard to get happy
over," said Pedregon. "You get a little drained over the course
of the day and I wanted to have enough for Wilkerson. You try and get that
all out of your head and just rely on the car. (In the final) I thought I
was late leaving the starting line. Then right at the finish line my
helmet fell down over my eyes and I kept asking over the radio if we beat
(Wilkerson) because he just flew right by me. I couldn't hear what the
crew was saying over the radio, so I thought I would watch where the
television cameras went when I got out of the car."
Densham and Forced earned the same amount of NHRA
POWERade points over the weekend leaving Densham atop the Funny Car
standings, two points ahead of Force, heading to Chicago. Pedregon moved
in front of Whit Bazemore who lost to Force in the first round.
Russell scored his third career win when he powered his
Bilstein Engine Flush Top Fuel dragster to the finish line in 4.638 at
314.90 ahead of Larry Dixon who posted a 4.670 at 316.38 pass in his
Miller Lite dragster.
"When you race that Miller Lite car, you expect him
to be right there with you or way in front of you," said Russell, the
2001 NHRA Rookie of the Year. "I thought he broke or smoked the tires
because a little past half-track I didn't hear or see him, and I was
thinking we may win this thing. I just begging the car to stay
Prior to Sunday's final round, Russell was 0-2 versus
Dixon in eliminations this season and 0-7 against him in his career.
"(Dixon) has just worked us over like there's no
tomorrow," said Russell. "I didn't really think about that
though. (Crew chief Wayne) Dupuy called the shot and he called it
perfectly. The car just thundered through there. I couldn't believe how
fast it was going."
It was Russell's second final round appearance since
team owner Joe Amato hired Dupuy as the crew chief of the team following a
disappointing start to the 2002 season. Russell qualified a season-best
third and had round wins over Andrew Cowin, Melanie Troxel, and Cory
McClenathan before facing Dixon.
"We had some problems internally," said
Russell. "Joe made a business decision, even though it was a hard
decision for him, he made it and it is paying dividends now. The whole
group is starting to gel and we're getting to be more like a team. We have
definitely made the turn and we are starting to go in the right direction
Coughlin became the ninth different Pro Stock winner in
nine races as he recorded a pass of 6.924 at 198.44 in his Jeg's Mail
Order Cavalier against fellow Chevy driver Mark Whisnant. Coughlin, who
started the day from the No. 13 spot, defeated Greg Anderson on a
holeshot, rookie J.R. Carr, and younger brother Jeg on his way to the
"It's not very fun facing my brother in the semi's,
but it guarantees one of the Jeg's cars are going to the final," said
Coughlin, whose other win came last season at Reading, Pa. "This is
one of the most competitive classes out there. It takes an entire team
effort to make that Cavalier run. It's a good feeling to win. My second
victory feels just as good as my first. In fact, it seems like it even
feels better. I think a great race car, a great driver, and a great engine
and maintenance program is needed to win in this category. And a little
luck, of course."
Jim Yates moved ahead of Warren Johnson by 40 points in
the standings marking the fifth different lead change this season.
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the
fifth annual Chicagoland Dodge Dealers NHRA Nationals, May 30-June 2, at
Route 66 Raceway.
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Final finish order (1-16) for
professional categories at the 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals
presented by Castrol GTX at Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.8 million race
is the ninth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing
1. Darrell Russell; 2. Larry Dixon; 3. Cory McClenathan; 4. Tony
Schumacher; 5. Melanie Troxel; 6. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; 7. Doug Kalitta;
8. Kenny Bernstein; 9. Chris Karamesines; 10. Paul Romine; 11. Andrew
Cowin; 12. Doug Herbert; 13. John Smith; 14. Mitch King; 15. David
Grubnic; 16. Scott Weis.
1. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang; 2. Tim Wilkerson, Pontiac Firebird; 3.
John Force, Mustang; 4. Gary Densham, Mustang; 5. Frank Pedregon,
Firebird; 6. Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T; 7. Del Worsham, Firebird; 8.
Johnny Gray, Firebird; 9. Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica; 10. John Lawson,
Firebird; 11. Whit Bazemore, Firebird; 12. Scotty Cannon, Firebird; 13.
Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird; 14. Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro; 15. Bob Bode,
Dodge Avenger; 16. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird.
1. Troy Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier; 2. Mark Whisnant, Cavalier; 3. Jim
Yates, Pontiac Grand Am; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier; 5. Richie Stevens,
Grand Am; 6. Mark Osborne, Grand Am; 7. Bruce Allen, Grand Am; 8. JR Carr,
Pontiac Firebird; 9. Greg Anderson, Cavalier; 10. Allen Johnson, Dodge
Neon R/T; 11. Ron Krisher, Cavalier; 12. George Marnell, Grand Am; 13.
Gene Wilson, Neon R/T; 14. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am; 15. Warren Johnson, Grand
Am; 16. Darrell Alderman, Neon R/T.
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Sunday's final results from the 14th
annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at
Heartland Park Topeka. The $1.8 million race is the ninth of 23 in the $50
million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Darrell Russell, 4.638 seconds, 314.90 mph
def. Larry Dixon, 4.670 seconds, 316.38 mph.
Funny Car -- Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.910, 320.58
def. Tim Wilkerson, Pontiac Firebird, 4.999, 302.69.
Pro Stock -- Troy Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier, 6.924,
198.44 def. Mark Whisnant, Cavalier, 6.991, 197.59.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Bill Reichert, 5.508, 258.37
def. Alan Bradshaw, 5.950, 199.91.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Larry Miner, Chevy Camaro,
5.783, 247.16 def. Von Smith, Pontiac Firebird, 5.763, 251.34.
Competition Eliminator -- Mike Trumble, Pontiac Grand
Am, 18.709, 83.06 def. Tom Schmidt, Pontiac Grand Prix, foul.
Super Stock -- Terry Emmons, Pontiac Firebird, 10.555,
125.44 def. Ernie Penner, Firebird, 10.937, 114.80.
Stock Eliminator -- Jim Hughes, Chevy Nova, 10.924,
120.20 def. Steve Brack, Chevy Camaro, 11.475, 114.98.
Super Comp -- Tommy Phillips, Dragster, 9.065, 165.21
def. Tim Ekart, Dragster, foul.
Super Gas -- Craig Anderson, Chevy Corvette, 9.922,
154.16 def. John Blezien, Pontiac Firebird, 9.870, 156.68.
Super Street -- Ray Todd, Chevy II, 10.913, 124.93 def.
Robbie Mayse, Chevy Camaro, 10.887, 123.72.
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Final round-by-round results from the
14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at
Heartland Park Topeka, the ninth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA
POWERade Drag Racing Series -
ROUND ONE -- Doug Kalitta, 4.734, 311.20 def. Doug Herbert, 4.901, 275.22;
Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 4.858, 288.70 def. David Grubnic, 6.419, 114.99;
Melanie Troxel, 4.797, 298.54 def. Chris Karamesines, foul; Kenny
Bernstein, 4.633, 320.36 def. John Smith, 5.068, 238.98; Tony Schumacher,
4.649, 322.81 def. Paul Romine, 4.784, 300.33; Darrell Russell, 4.680,
309.34 def. Andrew Cowin, 4.898, 277.03; Cory McClenathan, 4.667, 316.90
def. Mitch King, 5.119, 207.98; Larry Dixon, 4.656, 318.02 def. Scott
Weis, 6.726, 124.32;
QUARTERFINALS -- Russell, 4.706, 305.49 def. Troxel,
4.830, 290.88; McClenathan, 4.689, 313.66 def. Hartman-Smith, 5.402,
175.80; Dixon, 4.635, 319.98 def. Kalitta, foul; Schumacher, 4.716, 314.09
def. Bernstein, foul;
SEMIFINALS -- Russell, 4.761, 301.54 def. McClenathan,
4.714, 313.66; Dixon, 4.657, 318.84 def. Schumacher, 4.758, 313.37;
FINAL -- Russell, 4.638, 314.90 def. Dixon, 4.670,
ROUND ONE -- Tim Wilkerson, Pontiac Firebird, 4.908, 304.39 def. John
Lawson, Firebird, 4.999, 296.18; Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 5.004,
302.21 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Firebird, 5.173, 231.04; Del Worsham,
Firebird, 4.937, 307.72 def. Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica, 4.910, 304.25;
Johnny Gray, Firebird, 5.066, 307.79 def. Bob Bode, Dodge Avenger, 6.336,
150.26; Dean Skuza, Dodge Stratus R/T, 4.974, 306.46 def. Ron Capps, Chevy
Camaro, 5.949, 188.81; Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 5.001, 305.08 def. Scotty
Cannon, Firebird, 5.102, 305.29; John Force, Mustang, 4.876, 320.43 def.
Whit Bazemore, Firebird, 5.075, 287.53; Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.958,
305.98 def. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird, 8.738, 91.25;
QUARTERFINALS -- Wilkerson, 4.946, 309.56 def. Skuza,
5.040, 296.57; Densham, 4.980, 310.13 def. Worsham, foul; Force, 4.905,
318.69 def. Gray, 5.080, 304.53; T. Pedregon, 5.050, 270.59 def. F.
Pedregon, 4.997, 306.60;
SEMIFINALS -- Wilkerson, 4.962, 305.77 def. Densham,
5.410, 226.16; T. Pedregon, 4.925, 311.92 def. Force, 4.871, 316.60;
FINAL -- T. Pedregon, 4.910, 320.58 def. Wilkerson,
ROUND ONE -- Bruce Allen, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.925, 198.50 def. Warren
Johnson, Grand Am, 6.987, 198.96; Troy Coughlin, Chevy Cavalier, 6.924,
198.23 def. Greg Anderson, Cavalier, 6.894, 200.14; Jeg Coughlin,
Cavalier, 6.921, 198.96 def. George Marnell, Grand Am, 6.919, 198.96;
Richie Stevens, Grand Am, 6.907, 198.85 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Neon
R/T, 6.907, 200.56; Mark Whisnant, Cavalier, 6.916, 199.29 def. Gene
Wilson, Neon R/T, 6.928, 199.37; Mark Osborne, Grand Am, 6.932, 198.47
def. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, 6.928, 198.00; JR Carr, Pontiac Firebird,
6.918, 199.52 def. Darrell Alderman, Neon R/T, broke; Jim Yates, Grand Am,
6.935, 198.26 def. Ron Krisher, Cavalier, 6.908, 199.85;
QUARTERFINALS -- Jim Yates, 6.965, 197.42 def. Allen,
foul; J. Coughlin, 6.949, 198.73 def. Osborne, 6.938, 198.99; Whisnant,
6.936, 198.38 def. Stevens, 6.929, 198.52; T. Coughlin, 6.952, 198.03 def.
Carr, 8.117, 123.78;
SEMIFINALS -- T. Coughlin, 6.918, 198.64 def. J.
Coughlin, 6.966, 198.12; Whisnant, 6.940, 198.52 def. Jim Yates, 6.959,
FINAL -- T. Coughlin, 6.924, 198.44 def. Whisnant,
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA
professional categories following the 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer
Nationals presented by Castrol GTX at Heartland Park Topeka, the ninth of
23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series -
1. Larry Dixon, 914; 2. Kenny Bernstein, 727; 3. Cory McClenathan, 616; 4.
Tony Schumacher, 595; 5. Doug Kalitta, 489; 6. Darrell Russell, 455; 7.
David Grubnic, 413; 8. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 396; 9. Doug Herbert, 372;
10. John Smith, 342.
1. Gary Densham, 658; 2. John Force, 656; 3. Tony Pedregon, 581; 4. Whit
Bazemore, 553; 5. Del Worsham, 508; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 423; 7. Tim
Wilkerson, 416; 8. Johnny Gray, 407; 9. Scotty Cannon, 402; 10. Ron Capps,
1. Jim Yates, 628; 2. Warren Johnson, 588; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 497; 4. Ron
Krisher, 476; 5. Darrell Alderman, 464; 6. Greg Anderson, 462; 7. George
Marnell, 434; 8. Kurt Johnson, 428; 9. Mike Edwards, 426; 10. Bruce Allen,