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Sat, 27 Sep 2003, 06:13 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Bob Orme

JOLIET, Ill. - Notes from final, round 2 qualifying in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Third annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA 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: Tim Cullinan No Time, Now #24; No Prior Run
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.637/320.58, Now #13; No Prior Run

4:22 PM Current weather conditions: 59 degrees, 47 percent relative humidity, the barometer 29.79 inches.

Both drivers are trying to make the field on a single shot. I've been told Cullinan didn't run the first round because his wing was too high. Cullinan left before the tree was activated and his engine was on fire in the shut down area. Grubnic makes it down the track cleanly and moves into the field for now.

Left Lane: Darrell Russell Runs 4.621/320.81, Now #12; Best prior run: 8.834/93.87, Was #21
Right Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 4.897/285.53, Now #18; Best prior run: 11.640/87.37, Was #23

Hartley was to the left of the groove on the top end of the track, and while the run was respectable, it wasn't good enough to make this field.

Left Lane: Mike Strasburg Runs 10.866/80.16, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.741/280.54, Was #16
Right Lane: Scott Weis Runs 4.763/292.46, Now #17; Best prior run: 9.258/136.93, Was #23

Strasburg had traction problems immediately, dropped a cylinder or two and he clicked it off. Weis needed a 4.74 and couldn't quite get there.

Left Lane: John Smith Runs 4.542/314.02, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.631/311.92, Was #13
Right Lane: Rit Pustari Runs 4.787/299.33, Now #18; Best prior run: 7.453/118.96, Was #23

Smith moves several steps up the ladder, his elapsed time very close to a personal best. A good looking run for Pustari, but not good enough.

Left Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 6.748/117.22, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.614/308.21, Was #12
Right Lane: Chris Karamesines Runs 4.946/292.39, Now #21; Best prior run: 5.946/155.24, Was #22

Hartman-Smith lifted the front wheels into the air at 100 feet, and they continued to climb. She had to click it off after the wheelie brought the front of the car about 5 feet off the racing surface. No visible problems for Karamesines, but he won't be racing tomorrow.

Left Lane: Paul Romine Runs 23.205/30.13, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.588/313.66, Was #11
Right Lane: T.J. Zizzo Runs 4.936/233.28, Now #21; Best prior run: 5.057/215.62, Was #22

Romine was up in smoke on the hit. Zizzo was on a very good looking pass until he pitched the blower belt at about 1000 feet.

Left Lane: Shirley Muldowney Runs 10.407/83.30, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.579/327.66, Was #10
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 8.388/101.08, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.838/273.33, Was #19

Muldowney smoked the tires almost immediately. Herbert lost traction at about 150 feet and he does not make the show.

Left Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 10.607/78.32, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.573/319.52, Was #9
Right Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.637/257.97, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.555/320.97, Was #7

Kalitta struck the tires at about 100 feet and he clicked it off. Schumacher was on a very good looking pass until he blew up the engine at about 1200 feet. The Safety Safari is doing a little clean up in the right lane just past the finish line.

Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.463/332.10, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.573/323.27, Was #8
Right Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.498/323.50, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.525/329.75, Was #4

4:54 PM That was beautiful! Side-by-side "40's"! McClenathan has the second quickest Top Fuel pass ever. He needs to run a 4.507-second (or better) elapsed time to set the record.

Left Lane: Jim Head Runs 4.605/328.62, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.532/331.20, Was #6
Right Lane: David Baca Runs 5.673/158.24, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.508/321.12, Was #5

Baca struck the tires just before half track and he lifted. No problems for Head on this pass.

Left Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.549/329.91, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.507/332.10, Was #4
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.478/331.85, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.428/333.00, Was #1

Kalitta falls short of backing up the elapsed time record but he does back up the speed record.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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