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Sun, 6 Nov 2005, 02:29 PM

Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 41st annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

    7 Cory McClenathan                       91 Larry Dixon                  
E1                   0.066  5.361 208.36     ****WINNER****  0.097  4.534 325.22
 Qualified:             #9  4.534 324.20                        #8  4.522 326.79
11:00 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 70 degrees, relative humidity 35 percent, barometer 29.33 inches, adjusted altitude 1,599 feet, track temperature 83 degrees.According to the crew chiefs I asked, the first-round lane choice will be the right lane.

Dixon comes in with 398 round wins and a 26-15 record against Cory Mac. McClenathan won this event in '92 and '02. Cory Mac was away first and quicker, then started dropping cylinders and Dixon pulled away for an easy win with a flawless-looking run. Dick LaHaie, "in his last day at the office," nodded his head and bit down on his toothpick.

    8 Doug Herbert                          743 Morgan Lucas                 
E1                   0.080  4.553 319.60     ****WINNER****  0.084  4.528 324.59
 Qualified:            #10  4.537 321.19                        #7  4.503 323.74
Lucas won this event twice in Top Alcohol Dragster and was the Top Fuel runner-up last year. Herbert came in with a 4-3 edge against Lucas and was the runner-up here at the Winternationals.

This was a nice, close drag race all the way, Lucas in the lead and Herbert right with him, dropping a cylinder or two on the top end. Morgan Lucas' incremental margins: 60ft(0.020), 330 ft(0.019), 660ft(0.016), 1,000ft(0.015). MOV: 0.0216 seconds (approximately 10 feet).

    5 David Grubnic                         552 Rod Fuller                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.068  4.528 327.66                     0.098  4.512 325.45
 Qualified:            #12  4.543 327.51                        #5  4.501 316.08
Fuller holds a 3-1 record against Grubnic. This is Grubnic's 152nd start.

THis was another very close drag race and the lanes look pretty even from here. On a holeshot, it's Grubnic advancing to the second round. David Grubnic's incremental margins: 60ft(0.034), 330 ft(0.007), 660ft(0.013), 1,000ft(0.013). MOV: 0.0144 seconds (approximately 7 feet).

    3 Brandon Bernstein                       2 Doug Kalitta                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.093  4.498 327.82                     0.265  5.382 204.17
 Qualified:             #4  4.491 325.45                       #13  4.555 326.24
This is Bernstein's 54th straight start and he is 5-5 against Doug Kalitta. This is only the 32nd time Kalitta has started in the bottom half of the field in 183 starts.

Kalitta was way late, then lost traction about 300 feet out. Bernstein would have been tough to beat, running his second "forty" of the weekend. He will have lane choice against Grubnic in the second round.

  241 John Smith                              1 Tony Schumacher              
E1                  -0.139  9.647  74.97     ****WINNER****  0.077  4.486 326.63
 Qualified:            #16  4.621 321.81                        #1  4.466 324.83
Schumacher set a record by qualifying in the #1 spot for the 11th time this season. He is the defending event champion and has a 9-1 record against Smith. For Smith, this is the 11th time in his career he's qualified 16th.

Smith knew he needed a great light and took a shot at the tree, missing. It probably did not matter because the Army dragster was once again flawless, streaking down the track for low ET of the round so far. Schumacher will have lane choice against Dixon in round two.

 1301 Doug Foley                            507 Melanie Troxel               
E1                   0.040  4.741 284.21     ****WINNER****  0.090  4.510 328.22
 Qualified:            #15  4.607 315.64                        #2  4.473 329.83
This is Troxel's best qualifying position ever and this is a rematch of the first round in Las Vegas, two weeks ago. Foley won that one for his first-ever round win.

Foley went in deep, but this time around Troxel's car went right down the track, easily pulling away for the win. She will have lane choice against Lucas next round.

   71 Jack Beckman                           13 David Baca                   
E1                   0.079  6.799 141.71     ****WINNER****  0.089  4.509 321.88
 Qualified:            #14  4.590 319.67                        #3  4.485 324.28
Beckman has qualified at all 12 events he's entered this year and holds a 1-0 record against Baca. Baca made one good qualifying pass in two tries.

Beckman was chattering the tires and pedaled early in the run, then dropped a bunch of cylinders and gave up. Baca made his second nice run of the weekend, right down the groove for an easy win.

    4 Scott Kalitta                         104 Clay Millican                
E1                   0.178 10.030  74.68     ****WINNER****  0.031  4.566 324.20
 Qualified:            #11  4.542 328.86                        #6  4.503 326.08
Kalitta is 4-3 against Millican. His best Finals finishes were runners-up in '96 and '03.

Kalitta was up in smoke almost immediately and Millican had an easy time of it, posting the slowest winning time of the round. Millican faces Baca next round, Baca will choose the lanes.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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