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Old 11-01-2011, 10:08 AM   #1
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The last NHRA event of 2011 is in 8 days at Pomona. The Funny Car points battle has had all sorts of twists and turns going into this race. It will be worth watching.

Quote:
COUNTDOWN MANUFACTURES FUNNY CAR DRAMA FOR LAST EVENT
Written by Bobby Bennett Tuesday, 01 November 2011 16:30

One by one they fell. Meanwhile, a longshot continued a rise against the odds to turn the seemingly three-car race into a quartet battle.

This was how the Funny Car championship point battle materialized on Sunday during final eliminations at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.

Mike Neff, who won five regular season races in eight final rounds, fell in the first round to Paul Lee. The loss dropped him from third to fourth in points.

Then Jack Beckman, who entered the event as the point leader, lost in the second round to teammate Ron Capps. He had fallen out of the point lead based on the bonus points awarded in qualifying.

Matt Hagan, who had retaken the point lead headed into eliminations, went out in the pair behind Beckman exploding the supercharger to lose against Cruz Pedregon.

Cruz Pedregon, who entered the event 26 points out of the third spot, defeated Jeff Arend and then Matt Hagan to reach the semi-finals. If he would have won the event, he would have left with the point lead. Instead, he lost to Ron Capps and his bid ended at third place headed into Pomona.

Hagan understands missed opportunities are a tough to deal with but this time, he had no control of the situation.

“This is not our first missed opportunity,” said Hagan. “I have a lot of confidence in my guys and we have been here before. It’s going to come down to the last day. Stuff happens and parts break. We had a parts failure and that’s nobody’s fault. S*** happens."

If anyone understands the opportunity to capitalize on breakage it’s Hagan, who overtook John Force for the 2010 Funny Car point lead with two races to go last season when the 15-time series champion broke a throttle cable in the first round of the Reading [PA.] event. Parts failure in the first round of the final event for Hagan inevitably enabled Force to recapture the lead and win the crown.

This time around, Hagan, the point leader once again, heads into the final stop with three other foes to battle for the series championship.

“You can look at us and ask why we didn’t capitalize on it, and then look down the ladder and realize we’re not alone,” said Hagan. “We’ve had four opportunities to run away with this thing but so has everyone else. No one else is doing it either. It’s a dogfight and I want a good fight for it in the end.”

For Neff, the fight has been an excruciating one. Since the Countdown opened Neff has only one round win in the last four events. He’s won only four of 16 possible Countdown rounds.

“This has been a strange Countdown,” said Neff. “It seems as if the top cars cannot go the distance. The car who has been running the best is Johnny Gray, and he’s not even in it. It has been crazy and now it is coming down to the last race. We’re going to be at a disadvantage [headed into Pomona] but last year we were behind and it turned out good for us.

Just like last year it’s out of our hands.”

Pedregon, who stated at the onset of the Countdown, he was going to slowly work his way into contention, did just that with his strong Las Vegas performance.

The winningest driver in the Countdown thus far has been Johnny Gray, a non-qualifier for the playoffs, with three final round appearances. Pedregon was in a similar situation last season by failing to make the top ten yet winning two national events.

“Every round is important in this Countdown,” Pedregon said. “We are in a great position and couldn’t have scripted it better. Everybody has tried to get a big lead but have been unable to. We’re in a great position and the car is running good.”

In this odd scenario of driver shortcomings, Beckman believes the race fans will be the real winners.

“Funny Cars fans are going to get the show they paid their money to see,” said Beckman. “This is unbelievable.”

As much as the fans will be rewarded, Beckman believes the drivers aren’t getting rewarded with the current point system in place.

“I hate to gripe about things that could sound like sour grapes but we are one point behind and that one point and a whole bunch others are those one qualifying points that have taken things so out of proportion relative to round wins,” explained Beckman. “So, we are one round behind because we qualified two positions lower. It shouldn't equal one round, but the points are what they are.”

Neff couldn’t mask his disappoint for hitting a patch of misfortune at the most inopportune time. When the points reset, Neff surrendered 215 points, or ten rounds and 15 points.

“We usually don’t fumble around for more than a couple of races. This isn’t an easy game. It’s hard to make a car run good all year long without going through a turn of events where it’s just not working good for you.

“The fact of the matter is this car has run great for two years with a couple of hiccups here and there. It’s just timing. That’s what the Countdown is. It turns the season into six races. If it wasn’t for a Countdown, we’d be getting another ring.”
http://www.competitionplus.com...drama-for-last-event

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Old 11-01-2011, 10:08 AM   #2
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The last NHRA event of 2011 is in 8 days at Pomona. The Funny Car points battle has had all sorts of twists and turns going into this race. It will be worth watching.

Quote:
COUNTDOWN MANUFACTURES FUNNY CAR DRAMA FOR LAST EVENT
Written by Bobby Bennett Tuesday, 01 November 2011 16:30

One by one they fell. Meanwhile, a longshot continued a rise against the odds to turn the seemingly three-car race into a quartet battle.

This was how the Funny Car championship point battle materialized on Sunday during final eliminations at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.

Mike Neff, who won five regular season races in eight final rounds, fell in the first round to Paul Lee. The loss dropped him from third to fourth in points.

Then Jack Beckman, who entered the event as the point leader, lost in the second round to teammate Ron Capps. He had fallen out of the point lead based on the bonus points awarded in qualifying.

Matt Hagan, who had retaken the point lead headed into eliminations, went out in the pair behind Beckman exploding the supercharger to lose against Cruz Pedregon.

Cruz Pedregon, who entered the event 26 points out of the third spot, defeated Jeff Arend and then Matt Hagan to reach the semi-finals. If he would have won the event, he would have left with the point lead. Instead, he lost to Ron Capps and his bid ended at third place headed into Pomona.

Hagan understands missed opportunities are a tough to deal with but this time, he had no control of the situation.

“This is not our first missed opportunity,” said Hagan. “I have a lot of confidence in my guys and we have been here before. It’s going to come down to the last day. Stuff happens and parts break. We had a parts failure and that’s nobody’s fault. S*** happens."

If anyone understands the opportunity to capitalize on breakage it’s Hagan, who overtook John Force for the 2010 Funny Car point lead with two races to go last season when the 15-time series champion broke a throttle cable in the first round of the Reading [PA.] event. Parts failure in the first round of the final event for Hagan inevitably enabled Force to recapture the lead and win the crown.

This time around, Hagan, the point leader once again, heads into the final stop with three other foes to battle for the series championship.

“You can look at us and ask why we didn’t capitalize on it, and then look down the ladder and realize we’re not alone,” said Hagan. “We’ve had four opportunities to run away with this thing but so has everyone else. No one else is doing it either. It’s a dogfight and I want a good fight for it in the end.”

For Neff, the fight has been an excruciating one. Since the Countdown opened Neff has only one round win in the last four events. He’s won only four of 16 possible Countdown rounds.

“This has been a strange Countdown,” said Neff. “It seems as if the top cars cannot go the distance. The car who has been running the best is Johnny Gray, and he’s not even in it. It has been crazy and now it is coming down to the last race. We’re going to be at a disadvantage [headed into Pomona] but last year we were behind and it turned out good for us.

Just like last year it’s out of our hands.”

Pedregon, who stated at the onset of the Countdown, he was going to slowly work his way into contention, did just that with his strong Las Vegas performance.

The winningest driver in the Countdown thus far has been Johnny Gray, a non-qualifier for the playoffs, with three final round appearances. Pedregon was in a similar situation last season by failing to make the top ten yet winning two national events.

“Every round is important in this Countdown,” Pedregon said. “We are in a great position and couldn’t have scripted it better. Everybody has tried to get a big lead but have been unable to. We’re in a great position and the car is running good.”

In this odd scenario of driver shortcomings, Beckman believes the race fans will be the real winners.

“Funny Cars fans are going to get the show they paid their money to see,” said Beckman. “This is unbelievable.”

As much as the fans will be rewarded, Beckman believes the drivers aren’t getting rewarded with the current point system in place.

“I hate to gripe about things that could sound like sour grapes but we are one point behind and that one point and a whole bunch others are those one qualifying points that have taken things so out of proportion relative to round wins,” explained Beckman. “So, we are one round behind because we qualified two positions lower. It shouldn't equal one round, but the points are what they are.”

Neff couldn’t mask his disappoint for hitting a patch of misfortune at the most inopportune time. When the points reset, Neff surrendered 215 points, or ten rounds and 15 points.

“We usually don’t fumble around for more than a couple of races. This isn’t an easy game. It’s hard to make a car run good all year long without going through a turn of events where it’s just not working good for you.

“The fact of the matter is this car has run great for two years with a couple of hiccups here and there. It’s just timing. That’s what the Countdown is. It turns the season into six races. If it wasn’t for a Countdown, we’d be getting another ring.”
http://www.competitionplus.com...drama-for-last-event
__________________
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:50 AM   #3
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That was a good race. Cant wait for the final.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:17 AM   #4
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