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Mon, 3 Sep 2001, 10:13 AM

INDY - Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Michael L. Jex

The Big Go!



CLERMONT, Ind. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals:

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   8 Tony Schumacher     4.605 318.77  Q    9 Andrew Cowin        4.606 319.82
                  0.578  4.823 298.47  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.504  4.693 311.56
10:30 AM The US Nationals! After almost a week of runs, races and first round jitters we're ready to go with round one of Top Fuel. The fans got a special driver introduction today, the drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car were escorted down the track in bright red 35th Anniversary SS Camaros. Cowin got a big holeshot on the Sarge, and stayed there. Schumacher looked like he might make a charge at the top end of the track, but the Army car started hazing the tires at the top end of the track ending his bit to repeat here at Indy. The 2000 winner is gone in round one!

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
  10 Doug Herbert        4.610 319.82  Q    7 Tim Gibson          4.597 316.75
                  0.530  4.697 313.66  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.511  4.676 307.86
Gibson continues to improve in the consistency department, but it was close at the start. Both cars went .880 seconds to the 60-foot marker, from there Gibson's BME machine started to pull away. Herberts Snap-On Tools machine started moving around at the top end, but no tire smoke was visible. Margin at the stripe was about a dragster length.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   6 Gary Scelzi         4.592 273.77  Q   11 David Grubnic       4.618 315.64
 *****WINNER***** 0.498  4.613 318.39  E1                  0.521  4.702 313.22
Gary Scelzi had some good advice for Pro Stock Bike rider Shawn Gann in the staging area this morning. "You only have to go a mile today Shawn." Gary's own one mile bid starts with this all important first quarter mile. Like a titanium rocket Gary makes his first full throttle pass of the weekend. His qualifying effort was quicker, but this was faster, the Winston machine looks very strong today.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   5 Darrell Russell     4.591 322.34  Q   12 Shirley Muldowney   4.647 319.98
 *****WINNER***** 0.518  4.675 316.60  E1                  0.066  5.169 315.49
Muldowney routinely deep stages, but this time when she deep staged the car didn't stop. Whether it was a mechanical problem or not we couldn't see from here, but the result is a big redlight. Russell would have been tough to beat based on the incremental numbers, but his speed at half track, and top end charge were both better than Shirley's.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   4 Larry Dixon         4.568 314.83  Q   13 Bruce Litton        4.674 316.97
 *****WINNER***** 0.502  4.605 317.49  E1                  0.429  4.833 312.64
Dixon and Dick LaHaie sent another message on this run - Try And Beat Us! This was an awesome pass for the conditions - a Miller bullet shot all the way. Litton's better light kept him in front only to the 330-foot mark, after that it was all Dixon, Miller, and LaHaie to the finish line.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   3 Doug Kalitta        4.555 316.82  Q   14 Paul Romine         4.688 320.28
                  0.506  9.777  74.64  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.525  5.020 264.96
Kalitta went about 100 feet before he lifted the blower off the motor. On the TV replay we watched the blower lift and bang, then the blower belt sail past the camera mounted on the rear wing. Romine's,numbers were real good down low, then started to slow at the top end of the track, the result of "stuff" coming out the motor once again at the top end. For the seventh time in six races Romine has oiled the track, so he'll lose 10 points and pay 2,000 dollars for this run. 10:50 AM

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   1 Kenny Bernstein     4.505 323.74  Q   16 Scott Weis          4.732 316.67
 *****WINNER***** 0.499  4.671 318.62  E1                  0.439  5.531 176.58
10:55 AM The cleanup of Romines lane was only in the shutdown area, so it took just a few minutes. Holeshot! If Weis had been able to run the same ET he did in qualifying this would have been VERY close. Instead he lost traction at the top end and could only watch the Bud King march past him and into round two. Word comes from the top end Weis lost the blower belt after losing traction. Kenny will race Andrew Cowin in round two.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   2 Mike Dunn           4.530 327.82  Q   15 Don Garlits         4.720 303.37
 *****WINNER***** 0.507  5.108 301.47  E1                  0.517  6.235 157.41
Everything about this race is BIG! There was a brief delay in staging, finally Dunn bumped in followed closely by Garlits. Both cars started hazing the tires in the middle of the track, Dunn did a better job of pedaling the car, the Yankees machine hooked back up, Garlits Matco machine didn't. So the two legends are gone in round one. Dunn will fact Tim Gibson in round two and Gibson will have lane choice. In the other matchups Gary Scelzi will race Paul Romine, The Bud King Kenny Bernstein and the young Aussie Andrew Cowin will square off, and Larry Dixon will race Darrell Russell. 11:02 AM

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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