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Sat, 13 Oct 2001, 02:43 PM

Payne Holds onto Top Spot After 2nd Round of Qualifying
Courtesy of NHRA Marketing

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Racers from 15 different states patiently waited through morning showers to compete in the NHRA Southeast Division's final Federal-Mogul Drag Series event of the season, at Bristol Dragway, in Bristol, Tenn. This weekend's event is the final chance in the region for racers to compete for points leading to divisional and national championships as well as cash and contingency awards of $147,935, part of the $6.5 million, 43-race series.

Although Michael Gunderson of Middleburg, Fla., and Mike Saye of Johnston, S.C., have already clinched Southeast Division titles in Federal-Mogul Dragster and Comp classes, division titles are wide open for six other categories including: Federal-Mogul Funny Car, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street.

Saye also enters this weekend looking to win his fourth consecutive Southeast Division event, and is currently first in the national standings. Overall, the Comp racer has won one national event and four divisional events this year.

"I actually didn't start the season well, but then, all of a sudden, I couldn't lose," said Saye. "Things just kind of fell into place."

Bill McCornack and Jay Payne are the number one qualifiers in Federal-Mogul Dragster and Federal-Mogul Funny Car after Friday's qualifying rounds. McCornack, of Lexington, Ky., ran a 5.593 second, 254.45 mph pass to take the top spot away from Billy Bybee, who held the number one qualifier position after round one. Payne bettered his first run with a 5.770 second, 248.84 mph pass to maintain the top position in Federal-Mogul Funny Car.

The Claremont, Calif., resident is currently first in divisional points, and is attempting to hold off Von Smith of Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the divisional title. If Smith wins the event this weekend, he will surpass Payne in points and win the division. Despite the possibility of being able to win the division by performing well this weekend, Smith does not feel any pressure.

"I've always believed that things just fall in to place for a reason," said the Federal-Mogul Funny Car racer.

Top Qualifiers in other categories are Larry Pritchett of Clarkrange, Tenn., in Comp; Bruce Campbell of Waynesville, N.C., in Super Stock; and Tom Hemmingson, Concord, N.C., in Stock.

Final qualifying and time trials begin tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., with Federal-Mogul Dragster and Funny Car eliminations beginning at 5:30 p.m. Gates at Bristol Dragway open at 8 a.m. For more information call the track, (423) 764-3724.

The following are Friday's final qualifying results from the NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series at Bristol Dragway:

1. Bill McCornack, Lexington, Ky., '99 Dragster, 5.593 seconds, 245.54 mph vs.

2. Billy Bybee, McLean, Texas, '01 Dragster, 5.639, 254.38 vs.
7. Lou Novotny, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, '99 Dragster, 6.321, 214.59

3. Artie Allen, Jacksonville, Fla., '01 Dragster, 5.809, 221.96 vs.
6. Bruce Horner, Bergenfield, N.J., '89 Dragster, 5.921, 238.81

4. Don Fiorelli, Palm Bay, Fla., '96 Dragster, 5.899, 239.95 vs.
5. Marty Thacker, Robinson, Ill., '95 Dragster, 5.908, 238.60

1.	Jay Payne, Claremont, Calif., '01 Camaro, 5.743 seconds, 248.29 mph vs.
6. William Fulford, Virginia Beach, Va., '00 Corvette, 7.267, 196.82

2.	Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., '01 Pontiac, 5.873, 247.47 vs.
5. Bruce Mullins, Fredericksburg, Va., '98 Mustang, 6.194, 228.77

3. Bruce Peterson Jr., Wappingers Falls, N.Y., '98 Avenger, 6.119, 232.39 vs.
4. Steve Harker, Brisbane, Quebec, CAN, '99 Avenger, 6.173, 242.36

1.	Larry Pritchett, Clarkrange, Tenn., '98 Grand Am, D/SM, 8.166 seconds, -0.644
under index
2.	Michael Hardee, Wilmington, N.C., '96 Grand Am, B/SMA, 8.986, -0.584
3.	Brian Browell, Lafayette, Ind., '97 Chevy, D/D, 7.472, -0.548
4.	George Gallimore, Memphis, Tenn., '32 Bantam, A/A, 6.817, -0.533
5.	Mike Saye, Johnston, S.C., '92 Cutlass, G/A, 9.109, -0.491
6.	Fred Allen, Winamac, Ind., '23 Ford, A/EA, 7.637, -0.432
7.	Glen Treadwell, Sorrento, Fla., '23 Ford, E/EA, 8.805, -0.415
8.	Kevin Houghtaling, Ashland, Va., '91 Calais, F/SM, 9.469, -0.411
9.	Jerry Hemmingson, Concord, N.C., '94 Lumina, B/A, 7.549, -0.341
10.	Danny Holt, Powell, Tenn., '95 Beretta, C/EA, 8.701, -0.319

1.	Bruce Campbell, Waynesville, N.C., '88 Firebird, GT/KA, 10.779 seconds, -1.171
under index
2.	Jeff Sexton, Fairborn, Ohio, '97 Cutlass, SS/AX, 9.047, -1.123
3.	Robin Brown, Madisonville, Ky., '66 Chevy, SS/K, 10.397, -1.093
4.	Wes Leopold Jr., Bridgeville, Pa., '93 Daytona, SS/AS, 8.985, -1.085
5.	Andy Fogle, Norway, S.C., '67 Camaro, SS/HA, 10.002, -1.078
6.	Everett Hill, Fayettville, Ga., '64 Mustang, SS/L, 10.666, -1.074
7.	Matt Hensley, Knoxville, Tenn., '68 Barracuda, SS/A, 9.072, -1.048
8.	Ken Vaughn, Columbia, Tenn., '68 Camaro, SS/D, 9.637, -1.043
9.	Bob Dodson, Beaver Dam, Va., '95 Achieva, GT/KA, 10.969, -0.981
10.	Kenny Schindler, Hendersonville, Tenn., '68 Corvette, 9.855, -0.975

1.	Tom Hemmingson, Concord, N.C., '66 Chevelle, M/S, 12.073 seconds, -1.297 under
2.	Woodro Josey, Byron, Ga., '98 Firebird, D/SA, 10.924, -1.126
3.	John Livingston, Nashville, Tenn., '91 Camaro, K/SA, 12.062, -1.108
4.	Bud Rowe, Bridgeton, N.C., '85 Camaro, K/SA, 12.085, -1.085
5.	Wayne Shaw, Douglasville, Ga., '99 Firebird, C/SA, 10.868, -1.032
6.	Brandon Wood, Tallahassee, Fla., '85 Camaro, K/SA, 12.178, -0.992
7.	Harold Culpepper, Pine Mountain Valley, Ga., '94 Camaro, D/SA, 11.098, -0.952
8.	Craig Couris, Atlanta, Ga., '97 Firebird, D/SA, 11.103, -0.947
9.	Arnold Greene, Matthews, N.C., '69 Camaro, A/S, 10.500, -0.940
10.	Peter Noriega, Hialeah, Fla., '81 Malibu, V/SA, 15.179, -0.891

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