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Sat, 27 Oct 2001, 04:40 PM

LAS VEGAS 2 - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Larry Sullivan





LAS VEGAS - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Top Fuel at the Inaugural AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals 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: Don Lampus Runs 4.643/316.75, Now #5; No Prior Run
Right Lane: Rob Passey Runs 8.345/90.89, Now #21; No Prior Run

12:57 PM Lampus missed both rounds yesterday, attending a wedding. Passey came up twice, but did not fire the engine either time. That makes it 24 cars contending for the sixteen spots on the ladder, the biggest field of the year. Lampus made it look easy, the car smoothly down the groove with a solid elapsed time and speed. Passey's car spun the rear tires and then spit out the blower belt.

Left Lane: Chris Karamesines No Time, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.878/272.34, Was #14
Right Lane: Steve Smith Runs 5.229/277.09, Now #15; Best prior run: 9.931/88.61, Was #22

Karamesines had problems on the burnout and drove out the other end, clearing the track for Smith. Smith went out about 200 feet, started to rattle the tires, pedaled and recovered nicely, then completed the run.

Left Lane: Wyatt Radke Runs 6.762/120.24, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.818/296.11, Was #11
Right Lane: Garth Widdison Runs 5.580/179.59, Now #18; Best prior run: 12.326/96.58, Was #24

Widdison's car spit the blower belt out past half track and it appeared that Radke's did the same, with lots of raw fuel from the pipes in both lanes.

Left Lane: Gary Clapshaw Runs 4.699/312.42, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.689/299.20, Was #8
Right Lane: Tim Gibson Runs 5.379/179.30, Now #16; Best prior run: 6.936/135.73, Was #21

Gibson was ahead of Clapshaw at half track, but lost the blower belt around that mark. Nice run for Clapshaw, a hundredth slower than yesterday's pass, but much straighter and much faster.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.653/320.74, Now #6; Best prior run: 10.387/82.92, Was #24
Right Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 4.655/310.27, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.817/150.77, Was #21

These two teams struggled yesterday, so it was high-fives all around when they made nice side-by-side runs to get into the field and produce a sub-five bump time. Karamesines in now on the bump at 4.878.

Left Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 4.937/238.01, Now #17; Best prior run: 5.629/168.91, Was #22
Right Lane: Scott Weis Runs 4.673/319.22, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.864/304.87, Was #15

Hartley was only a tenth of a second behind Weis at 1,000 feet and was going 255.63 mph at half track, but then his car slowed, the problem not apparent from our end of the track.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.549/319.67, Now #1; Best prior run: 7.816/122.79, Was #23
Right Lane: Mike Dunn Runs 4.593/321.12, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.681/320.05, Was #10

Dunn made a very nice run and nobody noticed because Scelzi made an even better run. Scelzi's car is even more impressive when you look at the slow-motion video replay because Scelzi's car dropped a cylinder at half track. That bumps Karamesines, putting Brady Kalivoda on the bubble at 4.861.

Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 8.023/92.11, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.707/311.05, Was #13

Herbert's car skated around for the first 600 feet, then lost traction completely.

Left Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.527/323.04, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.602/315.93, Was #6
Right Lane: Clay Millican Runs 5.460/179.16, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.667/318.02, Was #10

Millican's team was looking for a "low sixty" on this pass, Dixon's was looking for a low fifty. Millican's car was off the pace from the start, with a sub-par 0.904 60-foot time and he shut it off beyond half track. Dixon's run was right on the mark, however, with a 0.855 short time and a 274.61 mph speed at half track.

Left Lane: Darrell Russell Runs 4.703/307.58, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.765/303.09, Was #14
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.658/315.05, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.594/317.87, Was #5

Both runs looked pretty good, but both teams walked away from the starting line with their heads down, their cars a tenth of a second down to Dixon at half track and losing even more ground on the top half.

Left Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 5.061/203.22, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.596/318.32, Was #6
Right Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.543/326.08, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.575/322.34, Was #3

Bernstein made a very good run, just not quite as good as Dixon's. He lost a hundredth to Dixon by 330 feet, then another hundredth by half track, both cars running almost identical times over the last half of the track.

That's it for a couple hours, Dixon and Bernstein bunched up at the top and Brady Kalivoda on the bubble at 4.861.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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