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The latest update as of November 19, 2021

Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo


Paul Lee --- Jeff Diehl

Warming up the tires prior to their first round matchup were Paul Lee (LEFT) and Jeff "The Surfer" Diehl (LEFT) as the first pair of Funny Cars down the track on Sunday morning.

Jeff Diehl (near lane) vs Paul Lee 
(far lane) --- Jeff Diehl (near lane) vs Paul Lee 
(far lane)

When the lights flashed, Diehl (near lane) left first by a few hundredths on Lee (far lane), but started smoking the tires almost immediately and shut off to a 9-second clocking, while Lee sped to the finish line with his best run of the weekend at 3.908 - 327.98.

Robert Hight --- Jim Campbell

In the second pairing, low qualifier Robert Hight (LEFT) (bannering the event and track sponsor Auto Club), faced off against the bubble qualifier Jim Campbell (RIGHT) in the retro-inspired MOONeyes sponsored Jim Dunn Racing car.

Jim Campbell (near lane) vs Robert Hight 
(far lane) --- Jim Campbell (near lane) vs Robert Hight 
(far lane)

Both drivers left together (.100 to .101 lights), but Hight (far lane) ran into immediate trouble, (note the tire smoke in the right photo), and had to pedal to a 6.043 - 253.56 clocking. But it wasn't all clear sailing for the underdog Campbell, as his car ran out of power early and was only able to muster a 5.403 - 184.57 that was just enough to turn on the winlight. A BIG upset win for the hard working So-Cal team.

Bobby Bode --- Alexis DeJoria

(LEFT) Burning out before his first round race was Bobby Bode in the bright red AR-BEE car, while on the (RIGHT) the Bandero Tequila entry of Alexis DeJoria did her pre-race tire prep.

Bobby Bode (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria 
(far lane)

Launching first in the near lane, Bode took a slight reaction time advantage but shook the tires before the 330' mark, and slowed to a 5-second pass, while Dejoria (far lane) kept the pedal down all the way to a strong 3.936 - 327.66 time.

Terry Haddock --- Terry Haddock

The ultimate underdog Terry Haddock gets top billing in this pair of photos as he prepares to face one of the championship contenders.

Ron Capps --- Terry Haddock (near lane) vs Ron Capps 
(far lane)

(LEFT) That "contender" was none other than points leader Ron Capps in the NAPA Dodge in a crucial first round race that he needed to win if he wanted to take the 2021 Camping World NHRA Funny Car Championship.

(RIGHT) The suspense was over quickly as Haddock, (near lane) was late, by a .159 to .093 margin, then fell further behind as he was forced to pedal his way out of tire smoke while Capps (far lane) had clear sailing to the finish line, exactly matching his qualifying e.t. with a 3.908 - 325.06 coming up on the scoreboards.

Chad Green --- Chad Green (near lane) vs John Force 
(far lane)

(LEFT) In the Wilkerson "team" car, Chad Green prepared to meet a formidable opponent (John Force), but he wasn't too far behind in performance during qualifying and with a good light and a solid run could be trouble for the 16 time champion.

(RIGHT) Leaving first was Force (far lane) by just two hundredths, and he had plenty of oomph on the top end with a strong 3.938 - 329.75 pass to hold off the valiant try by Green, who trailed with a very respectable 3.986 - 319.37 timeslip.

Tony Jurado --- Matt Hagan

(LEFT) Coming a long way in a hurry since making his "Big Show" debut at Sonoma in July, California's Tony Jurado looked to follow up on his great showing at Las Vegas where he ran a 3.98 off (out of) the trailer, and carded three more low 4.0 passes. Here he qualified strongly with another 3.98 to show that he was ready to race with the big dogs.

(RIGHT) Facing what was shaping up to be a tough opponent, and needing to win to keep his championship hopes alive, Matt Hagan warmed the tires as he prepared to face Jurado.

Tony Jurado (near lane) vs Matt Hagan 
(far lane)

Doing what he had to, Hagan (far lane) left on Jurado (near lane) by a slim one hundredth of a second margin, then put down enough power to take a one-car length win. Jurado gave it a great shot, clocking in at 3.973 - 322.34 (both career bests) but fell short of Hagan's winning 3.935 - 323.04 effort.

Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane) --- Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Looking like something out of the past, it was side-by-side burnouts for Tim Wilkerson (near lane) and Cruz Pedregon in the far lane. The only thing lacking was the copious amounts of tire smoke as was so common in the past.

(RIGHT) Knowing that he was already eliminated from the Funny Car championship chase due to Ron Capps' first round win, Pedregon could only hope for a good showing in eliminations and a #3 finish in the points standings. Even better would be a third event win to close the 2021 season in his best position of the last ten years.

Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane) --- Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane)

Leaving first by a small margin (.050 to .073) Wilkerson (near lane) steadily pulled away from Pedregon (far lane) as the Snap-On driver had the tires break loose before the 660' mark, slowing to a 4.808 - 170.58 clocking, while Wilkerson powered to the finish line with the third quickest clocking of the round at 3.922 - 325.30 for the win. Wilkerson became the second bottom-half qualifier to advance after Campbell's earl iershocker over Hight.

Bob Tasca III --- Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs J.R. Todd 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Wanting to finish the season on a high note, Bob Tasca III looked to put the Motorcraft Mustang into the winners circle for the third time in 2021 and improve on his previous best of a #5 finish in the points standings. He qualified decently in the #9 spot, but lane choice was in the hands of his opponent, the #8 qualifier, J.R. Todd.

(RIGHT) Leaving first by a smidgen, Tasca (near lane) was closely pursued by Todd (far lane) for a few hundred feet before giving up the chase past the 660' lights, and lifting to a 4.095 - 251.67 clocking, while Tasca put down a solid 3.955 - 321.65 to advance to the second round with lane choice over Jim "Lucky Man" Campbell.