Friday, June 26, 2009

No sure things in NHRA funny cars

The last two finals in the NHRA funny car division have been Tony Pedregon vs. Ashley Force Hood. Pederegon has won both times and leads the funny car division by 20 points over Force Hood.
The funny car division has been anything but predictable. Ron Capps started the season hot out of the gate, won four events and led the standings for most of the season. But he stumbled a bit, leaving the door open for Pedregon to rise to the top.
“Of course, it’s been nice to have led the points,” said Capps, who is seeking his first funny car championship. “We’ve kind of been floating out there in first, and here and there it got a little bit close. But then, on a couple of occasions, at the next race we were able to extend the lead.
“It allowed us to do some testing and try some things. To be honest with you, now that we’re in third, it kind of lights a little bit of a fire under us because we now have a reason to get back to our race mode and try to get the points lead back.”
Jack Beckman, Bob Tasca and Del Worsham all have claimed funny car victories this year. The top three drivers in the funny car standings are separated by 28 points.
“The next few races are going to be [run in] hot temperatures,” Force Hood said, “and we have a car that runs good in the heat. It’s great to be moving up in points, but we’re gonna keep our sights set on that No. 1 spot. We just kind of need to stay focused."
Force Hood has stayed consistent, posting three straight runner-up finishes and maintaining a stranglehold on second place in the funny car standings. Perhaps Norwalk can produce another finals appearance, and for Force Hood’s sake, another win.
“You always want to win and you’re bummed when you don’t," she said, “but the important thing is that our Mustang is running really well in all kinds of conditions.
“It’s a great feeling to go to the semis and finals week after week, [so] we’ll just keep trying to do that and see what happens.”

Photo: Ashley Force Hood has made it to three straight finals in the NHRA funny car division. She lost the past two to Tony Pedregon, who leads the funny car standings. Force Hood is second in the funny car standings.

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