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Sun, Nov 1, 11:02 PM

BAYTOWN - Top Fuel Round 2 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

You Ain't Going to Believe This!

BAYTOWN, Texas - Results of round 2 eliminations in Top Fuel at the 2nd annual Matco Tools Supernationals:
  13 Bob Vandergriff     4.672 318.02  Q   5 Larry Dixon         4.584 318.02
   (E Hill      ) 0.503  4.652 317.68 E1   (C Kalitta   ) 0.531  4.627 318.58 
 *****WINNER***** 0.484  4.613 320.28 E2                  0.489  4.641 311.20 

12:45 PM We open with a bit of an upset, Vandergriff with the holeshot and then pulling away from the usually-swift Miller Light dragster.

   3 Cory McClenathan    4.574 319.26  Q  11 Jim Head            4.650 313.15
   (S Anderson  ) 0.542  4.617 316.78 E1   (D Kalitta   ) 0.491  4.857 287.44
 *****WINNER***** 0.510  4.602 296.34 E2                  0.437 11.341  93.51

Head got a huge holeshot, but lost traction before going 100 feet. Cory Mac made another quick, clean, straight pass, but the engine started eating itself on the top half of the run, the header flames getting alternately taller and shorter on alternating sides of the engine and melted pieces of engine visible as they came out the headers, like shooting stars.

   7 Kenny Bernstein     4.603 313.15  Q  15 Tony Schumacher     4.761 285.53
   (M Dunn      ) 0.473  4.586 321.42 E1   (J Amato     ) 0.459  4.707 321.54
                  0.473  5.659   0.00 E2 *****WINNER***** 0.420  5.619 291.35

Rookie Schumacher got a surprising holeshot and then this turned into a pedaling contest, which the rookie also won, getting the rear tires hooked back up while the veteran Bernstein continued smoking the tires. Then, in the lights, Schumacher's engine let go on a huge ball of flame, the heat and infrared so intense that it stopped the clocks in both lanes, so Bernstein's time is bogus and no speed was recorded in that lane. Schumacher's left rear tire went flat from the shrapnel and the rookie also did a good job of keeping the car straight and bringing it to a stop so the Safety Safari could hose him down. He'll face Cory Mac in the semifinals, Cory Mac with lane choice.

   1 Gary Scelzi         4.549 322.23  Q   9 Doug Herbert        4.636 311.95
   (A Hartley   ) 0.544  4.544 324.32 E1   (B Sarver    ) 0.509  4.713 310.45
 *****WINNER***** 0.470  4.530 326.44 E2                  0.491  4.641 317.79

As Harry Carey said, "Holy Cow!" Doug Herbert turned in one of the best runs of his career, and next to Scelzi he looked like he was backing up! That was a visible extraordinary run, leaping past 325 mph and well past 326. His prior runs back that up as the national speed record - one even John Force will have trouble breaking. Scelzi meets Vandergriff next round, with lane choice, of course.

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