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Sun, 28 Sep 2003, 11:17 AM

Top Alcohol Dragster Round 1 Eliminations
By Jonathan Adams

JOLIET, Ill. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Alcohol Dragster at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Third annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals:

  318 Dave Hirata                            65 Mike Cofini
E1                   0.090  5.358 270.21     ****WINNER****  0.012  5.359 263.10
 Qualified:             #9  5.433 267.37                        #8  5.425 259.51
9:45 a.m. Current weather conditions: 48 degrees, 81 percent relative humidity, the barometer 29.91 inches.

It is cold and windy out there, as summer has ended here in Joliet. Our first pair features Cofini in the blown car vs. Hirata and his nitro machine. Overall, 10 A/FD's qualified this weekend.

Cofini with the big holeshot, and he holds off the hard-charging Hirata with a career best run. Hirata misses his career best by a thousandth.

  303 Todd Datweiler                          9 David Wells
E1                   0.103  5.390 267.64     ****WINNER****  0.041  5.294 267.91
 Qualified:             #7  5.387 258.62                       #10  5.434 239.95
Once again, it's B/AD vs. A/FD. And once again, it's the blown car with the holeshot and the career best run to get the win. Wells is the fourth B/AD in the 5.20's.

Folks, this is gonna be one amazing round of Top Alcohol Dragster.

    7 Marty Thacker                          10 John Haley
E1                  -0.011  5.486 259.06     ****WINNER****  0.068  5.354 265.64
 Qualified:             #6  5.359 268.01                       #11  5.463 243.94
Two blown cars now. In round two of the Allstars yesterday, Thacker went 5.293, 270.70 mph, the fastest mph ever for a blown car.

Thacker fouls out, and Haley runs his career best. These are just unbelievable conditions right now.

  326 Robin Samsel                          391 Bill Reichert
E1                   0.213 No Time           ****WINNER****  0.067  5.280 275.17
 Qualified:            #15  5.479 246.89                        #2  5.257 276.52
Nothing like side-by-side nitro cars before 10 a.m. This one is all Reichert, as Samsel barely moved at the green. Reichert will have lane choice over Wells next round.

   51 Alan Bradshaw                         117 Fran Monaghan Jr
E1   ****WINNER****  0.077  5.289 269.94                     0.027  5.452 258.07
 Qualified:             #5  5.338 261.02                       #12  5.465 261.42
Here comes our third match-up between a blown car and a nitro car. The best of Division 1 (Monaghan) takes on the guy who just might be the next TAD champion (Bradshaw).

Monaghan drills the Tree, but Bradshaw has too much power and reels him in.

Alan Bradshaw's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.087), 330 ft(-0.092), 660ft(-0.017), 1,000ft(0.066). MOV: 0.1134 seconds (approximately 43 feet).

  200 Tony Bartone                           24 Michael Gunderson
E1   ****WINNER****  0.031  5.276 270.97                     0.064  6.119 192.19
 Qualified:             #1  5.255 275.51                       #16  5.484 277.89
This one should be good. Bartone is the national e.t. record-holder, and Gunderson drives the fastest Top Alcohol Dragster in the country. Gunderson will have to be more aggressive early in the run to have a chance to beat Bartone.

This one is all Bartone, as Gunderson had smoke coming out of the right bank at the hit. Bartone will have lane choice over Cofini in round two.

  603 Mitch Myers                          7438 Morgan Lucas
E1                   0.048  5.437 256.41     ****WINNER****  0.034  5.259 262.13
 Qualified:            #13  5.470 252.85                        #4  5.306 270.64
Two more A-Fuel cars here. Lucas won the Allstars yesterday and begins his quest for a double against a fellow West Coast racer.

Good race, but Lucas wins with room to spare. That sets up a huge race between Lucas and Bradshaw, Lucas with lane choice.

    8 Shelly Howard                         312 Keith Stark
E1                   0.115 No Time           ****WINNER****  0.041  8.140  87.36
 Qualified:            #14  5.477 261.37                        #3  5.266 268.22
The round ends as it began, A/FD vs. B/AD. Howard will probably need a career best to get by Stark.

This one was wild. Stark shook so hard that the chutes came out, and he was dead in the water. But Howard's car took a hard right toward the centerline and she hit the 330-foot cone and crossed into Stark's lane. In an effort to straighten it out, she nearly crashed, but did a fine job of keeping the car upright. Stark loses lane choice to Haley in the next round. All told, 5 nitro cars and 3 blown cars won in the first round.

10:12 a.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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