Bartone back on top following win by ProQuest


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									                            TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR — 10th annual NHRA Nationals, April 2-5, Las Vegas
                            Bartone back on top following win

Tony Bartone, near lane, concluded what he called a storybook weekend when he defeated Roger Bateman in the final round,
5.64 to a tire-spinning 11.10.

by Brad Littlefield

A     ll three of Tony Bartone’s national
      event appearances this season have
generated great interest, though not                                                                                                      Bartone ended Jay Payne’s
always for the right reasons. His                                                                                                         winning streak at this event at 10
triumphant comeback in Pomona was                                                                                                         consecutive round-wins by
followed by a shocking DNQ in                                                                                                             defeating him in the semifinals,
Houston, but one week later in Las                                                                                                        5.60 to 5.66.
Vegas, Bartone stepped back over the
status line that separates zero and hero
by capturing his second win of the                                                                                                              Bartone took care of Jason
season amid a flawless weekend.                                                                                                              Rupert in the first round on
    Bartone ensured that he left his                                                                                                         Saturday with a 5.62. He began
troubles in Houston by unloading a 5.58                                                                                                      Sunday’s eliminations with a
at 255 mph off the trailer. He qualified No. 1, set low        Bartone’s performance was indicative of what           5.63 to defeat two-time national event winner Dennis
e.t., and ran no slower than a 5.64 en route to his        Rick Jackson’s Centre Pointe Collision Centers team        Taylor. He had a tough task in taking on defending
27th Top Alcohol Funny Car title.                          is capable of. Unlike his Pomona win, in which he          event champ Jay Payne in the semifinals, but he was
    “The only thing we didn’t have was top speed of        didn’t run at his performance level until the              able to overcome a small starting-line disadvantage
the meet. That’s [crew chief] Steve Boggs’ problem —       semifinals, the 1996 TAFC champ had the car to             to win, 5.60 to 5.66.
he’s got to get us more miles per hour,” Bartone           beat right from the start of the race.                        In the final, Bartone, who was 26-22 in previous
joked. “We had a storybook racing weekend. We ran              “We had issues with the car since we started           finals, faced opponent Roger Bateman, who had yet
good and didn’t hurt any parts. Everything went            racing at the beginning of the year that we had to         to win in four final-round appearances. Bateman ran
right from the first lap of qualifying until the final     keep sorting through,” Bartone explained.                  the quickest e.t. in each of the first two rounds of
round of eliminations. If we weren’t the quickest car      “Obviously, I think we got the car baseline again this     eliminations, making him the only driver at the
down the track, we were probably no worse than             weekend. We had a great tune-up. We didn’t have            event to go quicker than Bartone in a given round or
second quickest.”                                          any electronic troubles like we had in the past.”          qualifying session.
                                                                                                                         Bateman cut a great .024 light, but that was the
                                                                                                                      last bit of good news for the veteran driver. He spun
                                                                                                                      the tires at the hit of the throttle and watched
                                                                                                                      Bartone streak to victory with a 5.64.
                                                                                                                         “It was getting a little hotter in the day, and we
                                                                                                                      adjusted accordingly,” said Bartone. “Maybe Roger
                                                                                                                      didn’t. We have the tuning master, Steve Boggs.”
                                                                                                                         The team of Bartone, Jackson, Boggs, Lew
                                                                                                                      Larsen, Chris Perl, and Mike Pavia will continue to
                                                                                                                      search for performance gains as they pursue the
                                                                                                                      season title.
                                                                                                                         “[Frank] Manzo’s got the quickest car in the
                                                                                                                      country,” said Bartone. “We’re trying to make this
                                                                                                                      car as fast as his, if not faster, and that’s what
                                                                                                                      everybody should be trying to do. We’re trying some
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