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Sun, 10 Oct 1999, 05:31 PM

MEMPHIS - Top Fuel Dragster Round 2 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

Lots of Changes in Points Chase



MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Results of round 2 eliminations in Top Fuel Dragster at the 12th annual AutoZone Nationals presented by Pennzoil:
  
 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   8 Terry Mullins       4.655 287.23  Q   16 Joe Amato           4.756 303.57
   (R Parks     ) 0.478  4.693 296.63  E1   (D Grubnic   ) 0.483  5.668 265.22
 *****WINNER***** 0.494  4.708 295.72  E2                  0.519  4.751 298.01
3:57 PM The track temperature is up considerably from round one, the skies now partly cloudy and the track in sunshine for much of the afternoon.

Mullins plays the spoiler here, taking out the number two man in the points (and helping Mike Dunn stay in contention as a result). Scelzi, number 3, is already out, as are Dunn and Doug Kalitta, so Tony Schumacher has a chance to really stretch his lead now.
  
 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
  11 Bob Vandergriff     4.688 299.60  Q   14 Jim Head            4.716 299.60
   (G Scelzi    ) 0.507  4.681 302.28  E1   (S Kalitta   ) 0.463  4.747 302.48
                  0.504 12.428  68.58  E2 *****WINNER***** 0.481  4.708 297.61
Vandergriff went up in smoke after less than 100 feet while Head left hard, with the wheels up, and marched right down the groove. He matches Mullins' winning ET to the thousandth, a statistical oddity.
  
 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   7 Kenny Bernstein     4.648 314.39  Q    2 Tony Schumacher     4.591 316.75
   (L Dixon     ) 0.490  4.573 306.53  E1   (M Smith     ) 0.497  4.651 312.93
 *****WINNER***** 0.489  4.653 300.73  E2                  0.501  6.102 149.93
Schumacher had a chance to open up a lead over his closest contenders in the points, but he lost that when his tires started smoking about 100 feet off the starting line. That put Bernstein back into the points chase - but only for an instant. Bernstein's car made a strong, clean run and then the right rear tire blew in the lights, taking the wing off the car and unloading the rear end. The car turned sideways and backed into the wall, then rolled over and began sliding backward, flames coming from the engine. It was a scary sight, but the chassis stayed relatively intact and the protective measures did their job - he walked away from it. The car is damaged too badly to repair, but the win moves Bernstein into fourth place in the points, 98 points out of first place.

All of the drivers in the top ten are done for the weekend except for Doug Herbert - who could move into third place in the points if he gets to the finals. Jim Head would have faced Bernstein in the semifinals, so he will have a competition bye into the finals
  
 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   5 Eddie Hill          4.616 311.27  Q   13 Doug Herbert        4.715 308.57
   (C McClenatha) 0.493  4.614 311.13  E1   (D Kalitta   ) 0.469  4.727 304.60
                  0.536  6.504 127.33  E2 *****WINNER***** 0.491  4.750 300.86
Will Herbert's hot streak continue? Yes! Hill lost traction about 100 feet out, pedaled, lost traction again, and Herbert trucked right down the groove for a big round win. He will meet Mullins in the semifinals, Mullins with lane choice.

Unofficially, that round win moves Herbert ahead of Doug Kalitta and Mike Dunn in the points, into fifth.




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