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Sat, 3 Jun 2000, 09:42 PM

GRAND BEND - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Larry Sullivan





GRAND BEND, Ont. - Notes from final, round 3 qualifying in Top Fuel at the Inaugural Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals presented by Castrol 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: Jim Bailey Runs 14.915/42.53, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.905/290.51, Was #4
Right Lane: Bruce Litton Runs 4.977/273.47, Now #5; Best prior run: 7.755/99.77, Was #9

8:57 PM Race officials hoped to be through by now, but circumstances delayed things long enough that it's dark enough to clearly see the header flames from these cars. Litton only needed to beat Roger Dean's 7.072 to get into the field, but he wanted to be sure he was securely in the field to protect his points lead. Litton made a good run to about 1,100 feet then shut it off, achieving his purpose but leaving him in the bottom half of the field. Bailey smoked the tires immediately.

Left Lane: Clay Millican Runs 6.060/144.30, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.793/298.21, Was #3
Right Lane: Jim Head Runs 5.027/294.69, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.343/261.17, Was #8

Head pedaled early in his run, the tires starting to shake, the pedal job good enough to move him off the bump spot. Millican looked like he was easily going to get to the finish line first. Then Millican's car started spinning the tires and veered to the right, so he shut it off.

Left Lane: Shirley Muldowney Runs 12.370/37.60, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.785/309.38, Was #2
Right Lane: Doug Foxworth Runs 4.781/307.48, Now #2; Best prior run: 5.002/291.82, Was #6

Shirley went up in smoke immediately. Foxworth made a strong pass, but the engine let go as he crossed the finish line. From our vantage point it was difficult to see what happened next, but the engine explosion produced a big fireball and the car appeared to get sideways, then break apart, pieces of the car rolling down the shutdown area, the flaming engine going one way and the rest of the car the other way.

After a few anxious moments we hear from the top end that he is conscious and talking with the medical staff, the safety crew being very careful as they remove him from the car. From the reports, it appears the car broke apart as designed and Foxworth was not involved in the fire.

After a few more anxious moments were are informed that he is being transported to Sefton Hospital in Exeter, Ontario by ambulance. He is complaining of pain in his side and he is being transported on a backboard as a precaution. We will update his condition as soon as we know anything more definitive. Whether his accident falls under the "black flag rule" has not been determined yet, so it's not clear whether the run will stand.

That's the last pair of cars in the lanes, so qualifying is completed.




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