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Sun, 17 Sep 2000, 02:32 PM

READING - Top Fuel Round 2 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan





MOHNTON, Pa. - Results of round 2 eliminations in Top Fuel at the 16th annual Keystone Nationals:

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   3 Melanie Troxel      4.576 312.57  Q    6 Doug Herbert        4.613 316.97
   (L Novelli   ) 0.521  4.910 232.71  E1   (D Grubnic   ) 0.529  5.074 251.67
                  0.000 No Time        E2 *****WINNER***** 0.518  7.455 131.47
2:11 PM Hopefully the oil gremlins had their fill first round. But the strange stuff gremlins are still with us - Troxel's chute came out as she started to back up at the end of the burnout and she had to drive it out the top end to clear the track for Herbert. Bad luck for Troxel, good luck for Herbert, who lost traction about 100 feet out and backed out of the throttle to drive it through.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   4 Joe Amato           4.579 312.93  Q    5 Andrew Cowin        4.610 317.87
   (R Hartman-Sm) 0.501  4.697 291.82  E1   (D Kalitta   ) 0.501  4.788 303.98
 *****WINNER***** 0.481  4.729 293.98  E2                  0.531  4.743 288.70
Another ugly win, Amato away first and Cowin "black tracking" most of the way down the track. But Amato started spinning the tires on the top end and his engine started eating itself, shrouded in flames. Cowin started to close the gap, then his tires started to smoke and his engine also erupted in flames. The margin of victory = 0.064 seconds (approximately 27 feet) and there's oil on the track - in Cowin's lane.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   1 Tony Schumacher     4.535 324.67  Q    9 Bob Vandergriff     4.630 314.61
   (B Lagana    ) 0.522  6.473 188.78  E1   (C McClenatha) 0.509  4.726 262.44
                  0.506  4.657 309.98  E2 *****WINNER***** 0.480  4.683 302.28
These two have met seven times before in their careers, Schumacher winning five times. This was a great drag race, Vandergriff with the holeshot and leading all the way, while Schumacher started closing the gap on the top end, coming up just inches short, the result a mathematical dead heat, the margin of victory less than 0.001 seconds. That gives Vandergriff lane choice against Amato in the semifinals.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   2 Gary Scelzi         4.554 321.27  Q    7 Kenny Bernstein     4.614 317.64
   (R Pustari   ) 0.461  4.615 315.86  E1   (L Dixon     ) 0.494  4.693 305.15
 *****WINNER***** 0.489  4.687 304.46  E2                  0.520 10.956  82.73
This was over quickly, Bernstein smoking the tires about 100 feet off the starting line. Scelzi made another almost flawless run, though smoking the tires on the top end, and will have lane choice over Herbert in the semifinals.




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