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Fri, 12 Sep 2003, 02:21 PM

Top Alcohol Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Jim Samuel

MOHNTON, Pa. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Left Lane: Jeff McCulloch Runs 7.280/181.94, Now #1
Right Lane: John Fiorini No Time, Now #2

1:13 PM - At the start of the first qualifying session for Top Alcohol Funny car, the air temperature was 69 degrees at 46 percent humidity. The barometric pressure was at 30.24 inches and steady under overcast skies.

McCulloch shook the tires as he launched and never really got into this run. In the right lane, Fiorini's car was leaking oil after he staged and some of the oil got on the rear tires. He launched and the rear end of his car immediately started to swing back and forth. He almost took out the 60-foot marker and television camera. Fiorini crossed over the center line, then the back end of his Saab swung out again, leaving him sideways and headed toward the wall. Fiorini -- travelling at a slow speed by now -- kept spinning and brushed the wall with the left front corner of his car and came to rest facing the starting line.

Left Lane: Dave Keddy Runs 6.257/222.69, Now #2
Right Lane: Dan Pomponio Runs 6.134/235.27, Now #1

After a 40 minute break to clean up the oil left at the starting line by Fiorini's car, Keddy and Pomponio were able to do their burnouts and stage. Pomponia got out of the groove and ran close to the wall from the 330 foot marker down to about 1,000 feet. Keddy went down the middle of his lane but was not as quick as Pomponio.

Left Lane: Scott Woodington Runs 6.167/219.33, Now #2
Right Lane: Bob Newberry Runs 6.477/244.34, Now #4

Newberry spun and chattered the tires for the first 100 feet. He pedaled it and got back into the run. Woodington ran down the middle of his lane for a smooth run.

Left Lane: Frank Manzo Runs 5.588/258.62, Now #1
Right Lane: Jim Sickles Runs 9.588/101.01, Now #7

Manzo showed everyone how it should be done with a smooth, clean run that put him at the top of the order for now. Sickles shook the tires for the first third of the track, then backed off for the rest of the way down the track.

Left Lane: Darrel Cox Runs 5.936/234.49, Now #2
Right Lane: Bucky Austin Runs 14.602/64.53, Now #9

This was Austin's first run ever here at Maple Grove Raceway. He shook the tires as he came off the starting line and shut it down by the time he came to the 330 foot marker. Cox had a clean run in the left lane.

Right Lane: Todd Veney Runs 5.780/250.27, Now #2

The right lane has seen lots of tire shake since Fiorini dropped oil in the starting area. It didn't seem to bother Veney as he had a good run from start to finish and moved into the second spot in the qualifying order for now.

Left Lane: Paul Gill Runs 6.049/247.16, Now #4
Right Lane: Bruce Mullins No Time, Now #14

Mullins and Gill both did long burnouts, the difference being that Gill stopped at about 1,000 feet and backed up to stage. Mullins did his burnout and then just kept on going. Gill launched hard but shook the tires at 100 feet. He got close to the wall so he pedaled it a couple of times and got back into the groove. Gill's run wasn't pretty but it was enough to put him in the middle of the field with just a couple more drivers waiting to make their first qualifying attempts.

Left Lane: Paul Lee Runs 6.112/246.89, Now #6
Right Lane: Fred Tigges Runs 5.824/241.63, Now #3

Lee's car was sporting a nice, new grey paint scheme. The car looked good and launched hard but started to shake the tires at about 100 feet. Tigges shook a bit as he launched but drove through it.

Right Lane: Eric Lourie Runs 5.809/230.45, Now #3

Lourie had a strong run going but popped the supercharger as he crossed the finish line and launched the burst panel. His career best ET is 5.805 so he missed it here by just four thousandths of a second.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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