CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from final, round 5 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:
Left Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 4.809/272.01, Now #22; Best prior run: 6.501/130.18, Was #23
5:17 p.m. and we're entering the last group of qualifiers for the 2008 US Nationals.
Weather conditions: air temperature 87 degrees, relative humidity 28 percent, barometer 29.15 inches, adjusted altitude 2,901 feet, track temperature 121 degrees.
Left Lane: Scotty Cannon Runs 12.933/76.96, Now #20; Best prior run: 4.657/318.09, Was #20
Right Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 12.138/76.94, Now #23; Best prior run: 5.046/217.11, Was #23
Both move 70 feet, both start boiling tire smoke.
Left Lane: J.R. Todd Runs 11.897/86.85, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.601/319.67, Was #19
So far, qualifying has been a story of shocking surprises. This run will determine whether another item will be added to the list.
It's hard to believe that a racer with the past performance and talent of J.R. is still not qualified at this point.
It's every drag racing fan's loss as the tires immediately disappear in a cloud of smoke. Todd will not race tomorrow.
Left Lane: Whit Bazemore Runs 4.612/327.03, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.601/330.23, Was #18
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.717/312.93, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.597/307.02, Was #17
Another surprise, perhaps not as big as Todd, is the car in the left lane.
Bazemore lays down a good run but doesn't make it. Kalitta also looked good in the other lane and misses by .003.
That sets the field and the next pair will warm up for tomorrow's competition.
Left Lane: T.J. Zizzo Runs 9.357/84.96, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.578/322.11, Was #14
Right Lane: Clay Millican Runs 4.620/326.56, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.595/326.95, Was #16
Zizzo gets a wisp of smoke at 400' and shuts off. Millican goes right down the track.
Right Lane: Alan Bradshaw Runs 8.547/83.88, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.594/314.61, Was #15
Bradshaw gets a bit less than halfway and strikes the tires.
5:33 p.m. It looks like we're going to quickly switch over to the finals of the Skoal Showdown in order to hit a live television window.
Left Lane: Hillary Will Runs 4.612/315.12, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.553/329.83, Was #10
Right Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 4.622/321.42, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.568/324.36, Was #12
5:37 p.m. Not to spill the beans, but this is the first time Don Schumacher racing has won the Skoal Shootout.
Even after five times, I'm still having trouble associating the white Elvis car with Bernstein.
Both cars get smooth, clean, passes with good data for tomorrow.
Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 15.679/60.90, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.544/281.54, Was #9
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.616/317.94, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.561/308.92, Was #11
Left Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 4.789/311.41, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.537/325.45, Was #8
Right Lane: Doug Foley Runs 11.866/80.82, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.527/324.20, Was #7
Instant smoke for Foley, decent pass for Lucas.
Left Lane: Rod Fuller Runs 4.641/319.75, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.524/325.85, Was #6
Right Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.617/325.85, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.520/329.18, Was #4
Both teams are going to be pleased. The track temp is still over 120 degrees and they're going right down it.
Left Lane: David Grubnic Runs 5.778/151.68, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.523/329.91, Was #5
Right Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 4.654/314.97, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.513/329.91, Was #3
5:54 p.m. We've just finished a short ceremony awarding Fast Jack a cool $100,000 in Skoal cash and we fire the next pair.
Grubnic only has a half track fuse and loses cylinders. Vandergriff gets tuned up for tomorrow.
Left Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.600/308.28, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.481/327.74, Was #2
Right Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 10.558/77.18, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.477/333.66, Was #1
It's a tough choice for Schumacher. He's trying to join Gary Beck as the only racer to qualify #1 three years in a row. On the other hand, the jinx is unbroken in which the top qualifier has yet to win a race in the 2007 season.
Then again, holding a 4.494 at this point, he might not have much choice about it.
Dixon's the star of this pair as he runs low ET of the round.
That wraps up qualifying. Now we're on to racing.