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The latest update as of February 28, 2016

Carquest Auto Parts Nationals

Carquest Nationals News for Sunday - Day Three - Final Eliminations


With the traditional 11:00 am start for the first round of Top Fuel, the nitro burners got a chance to show what they could really do under the best weather/atmospheric conditions of the weekend. A low air temp of just 72 F, coupled with a track reading of only 96 F and corrected altitude under 2500 ft, gave the tuners a window to really open up the horsepower floodgates.

Showing that they were ready to throw everything at the track, in the first pairing Courtney Force bombed Shawn Langdon with a low e.t. of the meet 3.723 at nearly 326 mph to set the bar higher than Doug Kalitta's 3.741 top qualifying effort. Courtney's stay at the top of the charts only lasted until Kalitta erased her number in the third pairing with an even better 3.716 - 328.22 to take out both top marks. As the round continued, five of the winners improved on their best qualifying marks and only one oildown, that of Leah Pritchett (for the second race in a row), interrupted the session.

Quickly moving on to Funny Car, the hits kept coming as Courtney Force equalled her top qualifying 3.930 e.t., and improved her best speed to 326.79 mph in a first round dismissal of Terry Haddock. But those great numbers only occupied the top rung on the ladder for three more pairs until JFR teammate Robert Hight punched out new event and personal bests of 3.905 at 327.11 mph. Those marks held up for the rest of the round as only one of the seven winners failed to break into the 3's (Tommy Johnson Jr. at 4.003), while one of the losers (Alexis De Joria) also broke into the 3-zone.

Also of note in the round was Jeff Diehl's new career bests of 4.037 at 303.37 in a losing cause to Ron Capps. Making the whole exercise somewhat academic was Diehl's redlight. And in what may be some sort of record, John Force ran his fifth consecutive 3-second pass of the weekend to defeat John Hale. With teammate Robert Hight on the other side of the eliminations ladder, and daughter Courtney not scheduled to meet him until the semi- finals, it oould be a big day for the Yorba Linda gang. On the other hand, the Don Schumacher crew has exactly the same setup for their three cars remaining in eliminations.

Pro Stock saw the EFI'd contingent finally post some decent numbers after a tough weekend for the naturally aspirated racers. Six of the seven winners in the first round (only 14 cars qualified) improved on their best qualifying numbers, and two of them, Jason Line and Bo Butner, dipped into the 6,50's. Leading the way in the last pair of the round was low qualifier Butner, as he notched the best numbers - so far - of the event at 6.590 - 209.30.

It would be nice to expect the racers to equal or even improve on their first round performances but as the afternoon sun takes over and raises the track temperature and adjusted altitude it's going to take some fancy tuning to stay close to the great numbers posted in the first round. Stay tuned as we come back later in the afternoon with later round results.