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Sat, 6 Oct 2001, 09:25 PM

READING - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Larry Sullivan

MOHNTON, Pa. - Notes from final, round 4 qualifying in Top Fuel at the 17th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals presented by Greased Lightning 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: Darrell Russell Runs 4.554/296.24, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.615/314.97, Was #8
Right Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 4.642/316.23, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.776/244.43, Was #11

5:01 PM Two nice runs to open the round. Russell's header flames went out well before the finish line. Hartman-Smith ran it out the back door.

Left Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 14.335/66.94, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.589/318.84, Was #7
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.672/314.02, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.662/310.63, Was #10

Cowin lost traction before going 20 feet. Herbert was on a good pass early, but the header flames started mixing it up as he neared the lights and there was a lot of white smoke out the headers when he shut it off.

Left Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.572/318.24, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.570/317.94, Was #6
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.498/323.19, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.602/309.63, Was #8

Looks like the bottom five cars on the ladder are skipping this final session, so there will only be five pairs down the track. Both cars left hard, with 0.83 60-foot times, but Dixon's car puffed a bit of tire smoke on the top end while Kalitta's was firmly glued down. Kalitta becomes the fifth driver in the forties with a career-best ET on this run.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.513/316.90, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.544/320.13, Was #5
Right Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.496/332.18, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.514/312.78, Was #3

Two very nice runs here, Scelzi was right with bernstein until about 1,000 feet down the track, then the Winston dragster's header flames started dancing and Bernstein's were solid. That's a career-best speed for Bernstein, who needs a 328.86 to back it up as a national record.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher No Time, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.523/333.08, Was #5
Right Lane: Mike Dunn Runs 10.304/77.65, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.494/320.97, Was #1

Everyone was primed to see the speed record shattered by one of these two, but when the light turned green, Dunn lost traction in the first 100 feet and Schumacher's car never came off idle, most likely breaking the throttle cable.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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