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Mon, 1 Sep 2008, 11:28 AM

Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Michael L Jex





CLERMONT, Ind. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals:

 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  123 Antron Brown                           44 David Grubnic                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.094  3.870 308.50                     0.095  4.045 294.11
 Qualified:             #8  3.878 309.91                        #9  3.879 311.05
11:00 a.m. It's time to go racing here at the US Nationals - go first, or go home!

Weather conditions: air temperature 81 degrees, relative humidity 42 percent, barometer 29.24 inches, adjusted altitude 2,851 feet, track temperature 101 degrees.

This is the 11th Indy for both Brown and Grubnic. Brown has won twice here in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Grubnic secured a spot in the Countdown yesterday. In prior races, Brown is 2-0 against Grubnic, both round wins coming in the first round.

Brown's Hadman built dragster did the perfect "Hadman Hike" off the line, wheels up about a foot, he carried them out at least 100-feet, then pulled steadily away from Grubnic.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    6 Doug Herbert                          255 Clay Millican                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.067  3.918 311.85                     0.061  8.402  74.18
 Qualified:             #7  3.878 312.06                       #10  3.893 311.20
This is Herbert's 14th Indy, Millican's 7th. Herbert qualified with a career-best 1,000-foot speed. Herbert holds a 2-4 record against Millican, 1-1 in first rounds and a staging duel between the two at Maple Grove gave birth to the "Dougzilla" legend.

Millican struck the tires early and pedaled once, but gave things up when Herbert thundered away.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    7 J.R. Todd                              22 Doug Kalitta                 
E1                   0.069  4.212 253.14     ****WINNER****  0.104  3.957 304.12
 Qualified:             #5  3.873 309.91                       #12  3.901 309.70
This is Todd's third Indy, Kalitta's eleventh. Kalitta was runner-up in '04, has never won - but car owner Connie Kalitta won here in '94. Todd is 3-2 against Kalitta, 1-0 in the first round.

Todd lead this till the halfway point, then started skating around with the tires starting to trail, then billow smoke at the top end. That opened the door for Kalitta, who cards the first upset of the day. Doug Kalitta's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.043), 330 ft(-0.060), 660ft(0.054) MOV: 0.2208 seconds (approximately 82 feet).


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    3 Brandon Bernstein                       2 Rod Fuller                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.090  3.906 310.98                     0.091  3.945 303.78
 Qualified:             #4  3.868 311.99                       #13  3.903 304.67
This is Bernstein's fifth Indy, Fuller's fourth. Neither has DNQ'ed here. Bernstein was runner-up in '05. Bernstein is 4-3 against Fuller, 0-1 in round one (on a red light).

Great drag race! It was even off the line, Brandon had better incremental numbers the whole way. Fuller makes the quickest pass so far today in the right lane, but at the stripe he trailed by a dragster length. Brandon will race Doug Kalitta in the next round, and the Bud car will have lane choice.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
  796 Cory McClenathan                      303 Pat Dakin                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.150  3.871 306.95                           No Time      
 Qualified:             #2  3.852 312.57                       #15  3.943 305.70
This is Cory Mac's 17th Indy, Dakin's 11th, but this is his first appearance at Indy since 1998. His first was in 1971. Cory Mac has won this event twice, in '96 and '99, and he was runner-up in '97. McClenathan is 5-0 against Dakin, 1-0 in first rounds, and they last faced off in 1998.

The winner will take on Doug Herbert in round two, and a 3.917 or quicker will give them lane choice...

Dakin left VERY early - so early the tree was not yet activated. Cory didn't have a great light as a result, but missed running low ET of the round by just .001. At the top end Cory said "I thought OMG! I'm late!" when he described the run. Cory will have lane choice in round two.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   48 Hillary Will                          475 Steve Torrence               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.064  3.914 310.13                     0.095  3.948 305.91
 Qualified:             #3  3.854 314.53                       #14  3.914 302.41
This is a rematch of the Top Alcohol Dragster final here in 2005, Torrence getting the win. It is Will's third Indy, Torrence's first as a pro. Torrence won the only other time these two squared off in Top Fuel, at Brainerd two weeks ago.

Will had a much better reaction time, then runs big speed - Hillary Will's MOV: 0.0651 seconds (approximately 29 feet).


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
    1 Tony Schumacher                         5 Bob Vandergriff              
E1   ****WINNER****  0.068  3.842 316.90                     0.041  3.972 300.66
 Qualified:             #6  3.877 313.58                       #11  3.901 311.34
This is Schumacher's 13th Indy, Vandergriff's 11th. Schumacher has six wins and three runner-up finishes here. Vandergriff was runner-up in '95. Schumacher is 14-5 against Vandergriff, 5-3 in round one faceoffs.

How bout low ET of the round, and 2nd best ET of the weekend by .001, it also ties his record of consecutive round wins at 21. If he wins next round, he'll starting add to a new record. In round two Team Army will race Hillary Will, and Schumacher will have lane choice.


 Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-----Car#-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT----ET---Speed
   91 Larry Dixon                           497 Troy Buff                    
E1   ****WINNER****  0.086  3.909 308.71                     0.125  3.915 304.46
 Qualified:             #1  3.841 307.23                       #16  3.968 297.02
This is Dixon's 14th U.S. Nationals, Buff's first as a pro. Dixon has won this race three times, been runner-up twice and he qualified #1 with a 1,000-foot career-best ET. Dixon is 4-0 against Buff in prior races, 3-0 in the first round.

Buff was right with Dixon most of the run, but there was a pretty big difference off the line. Buff's numbers were better till the 660-foot mark, but Dixon had a better top end charge. Dixon will not have lane choice in round two, and from what we've seen so far, he'll be over in the right lane against Antron Brown. 11:22 a.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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