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Sun, 2 Sep 2007, 02:12 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #4
By Dan Bennett

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 4 qualifying in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time/top speed this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Right Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 11.308/81.24, Now #23; Best prior run: 6.501/130.18, Was #23

1:15 p.m. and we're getting ready for the 4th - but not final - Top Fuel qualifying session. Remember, we're at Indy, which is the only track on the tour with 5 Pro sessions due to the race day being on Monday.

The Safety Safari is doing a quick scrape on the starting line, tweaking the surface after the Funny Car session.

Clay Millican is on the bump spot at 4.595.

Weather conditions: air temperature 87 degrees, relative humidity 31 percent, barometer 29.27 inches, adjusted altitude 2,798 feet, track temperature 117 degrees.

Hartman rolls about 10 feet before the smoke comes, and when it comes it covers the entire starting line.

Left Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 5.216/203.83, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.046/217.11, Was #22
Right Lane: Rod Fuller Runs 4.638/319.82, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.524/325.85, Was #6

Lagana lifts early, at least the car wasn't under power the entire length of the track.

The big Cat runs a good ET for the conditions and is just about in final race tune.

Left Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 4.610/325.30, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.513/329.91, Was #3
Right Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 10.551/79.27, Now #20; Best prior run: 4.657/318.09, Was #20

Cannon's crew will probably want to talk to him after they get back to the pits.

The car won't back up from the burnout so all of them dash out to where the car sits. Just as they get there, it finally clicks in reverse and Scotty starts backing up faster than I drive on most city streets. Like any good racer, he doesn't want to hold up the other guy.

So his crew watches him disappear back to the starting line and take off running after him. It sorta looked like wind sprints at basketball practice. Their individual tongues hanging out, the crew watches him stage.

Cannon goes into shake and has to lift after a quick slap on the pedal.

In the meantime, Vandergriff lays down a safe, clean pass and gains race day information.

Left Lane: Alan Bradshaw Runs 6.411/128.09, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.594/314.61, Was #15
Right Lane: J.R. Todd Runs 6.072/146.10, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.601/319.67, Was #19

Both cars leave well and then strike the tires at very near the same point downtrack - about 800 feet.

Todd was in the media center yesterday, apparently to straighten out the incorrect information that was recently aired regarding him joining the Bernstein team.

Left Lane: Doug Foley Runs 5.803/155.11, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.527/324.20, Was #7
Right Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 6.069/141.77, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.601/330.23, Was #18

1:36 p.m. We're on a short delay due to a cleanup at the very end of the shutdown area in the right lane. I'm not sure if it's chargeable, but if it is JR had a freebie to give.

As in the previous days, it's pretty breezy here though not quite as brisk as yesterday and probably down to no more than 5 mph. The colorful Pontiac hot air balloon was up earlier today for the first time since the higher winds in the past few days weren't good for landing in the same area, let alone state.

1:40 p.m. The burnouts are finished and we see the Matco car backing up. No doubt Bazemore has a lot on his mind since he's not in the show.

He won't be in the show after this session, either. Both cars hit the tires right at half track.

Left Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 10.079/76.63, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.597/307.02, Was #17
Right Lane: T.J. Zizzo Runs 5.200/195.68, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.578/322.11, Was #14

Kalitta absolutely melts the tires just before half track, while Zizzo looks pretty sporty until the blower belt goes sailing at 800 feet.

Left Lane: Luigi Novelli Runs 4.911/262.18, Now #21; Best prior run: 4.706/295.46, Was #21
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.608/320.43, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.523/329.91, Was #5

Grubnic gets a decent run in a lower than average session. There's a bright flash from the left side of Novelli's engine and his run is done.

Left Lane: Clay Millican Runs 4.618/324.67, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.595/326.95, Was #16
Right Lane: Bruce Litton Runs 6.757/123.95, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.575/324.12, Was #13

The two have faced off many times before, but not necessarily at an NHRA track.

Litton loses grip at halftrack, Millican makes it through but doesn't get off the bump.

Left Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 5.790/150.72, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.568/324.36, Was #12
Right Lane: Hillary Will Runs 5.496/168.68, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.553/329.83, Was #10

Both cars lose grip at 660 feet.

Left Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.667/309.84, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.561/308.92, Was #11
Right Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 8.352/84.55, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.544/281.54, Was #9

Cory at 330, Herbert makes it through with very little ring smoke going across the line.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.743/263.77, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.520/329.18, Was #4
Right Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 11.306/85.06, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.537/325.45, Was #8

This is a matchup of the infamous pair from Reading.

Lucas smokes early. Melanie looked pretty good but the engine sounded like it laid over right before the finish line.

They're checking out the right lane shut down area.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 6.353/128.93, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.477/333.66, Was #1
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 6.376/133.82, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.481/327.74, Was #2

Evidently, no track problems so the last pair of this session rolls forward.

You want to talk about dominance? Check the Sarge's ETs so far. The worst is 4.598

Nothing doing here. Both cars lose the tires early in the run.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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