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Sun, 28 Oct 2001, 02:04 PM

LAS VEGAS 2 - Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan





LAS VEGAS - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the Inaugural AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   9 Don Lampus          4.643 316.75  Q    8 Joe Hartley         4.639 317.12
 *****WINNER***** 0.465  4.709 316.30  E1                  0.489  5.567 178.50
10:32 AM This promises to be an interesting day at "The Strip." This first pair has very few laps under their belts this year. Hartley comes in looking for his first round win of the year, while Lampus made it to the second round in his 2001 debut last weekend in Dallas. Lampus gets by the first round for the second weekend in a row, taking a small advantage at the green and then running away when Hartley started smoking the tires before half track.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   7 Andrew Cowin        4.596 318.32  Q   10 Tony Schumacher     4.653 320.74
                  0.463  6.799 115.71  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.477  4.659 322.27
The track temperature is around 90 degrees, almost ideal, but there's not much cloud cover and it may get worse for later rounds.

Schumacher is 2-1 against Cowin this year, Cowin's first-round win coming at the U.S. Nationals. Cowin was slightly ahead to 330 feet, then there was a puff of smoke from his tires and he lifted. Schumacher almost matched his only good run during qualifying, avoiding the tire smoke that plagued the other three attempts.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   6 Doug Kalitta        4.594 317.87  Q   11 Rhonda Hartman-Smi  4.655 310.27
 *****WINNER***** 0.529  4.728 311.85  E1                  0.470  4.789 303.57
Kalitta came in 5-0 against Hartman-Smith this year, all in first round pairings. Kalitta is currently third in points, with Scelzi and Dunn right on his tail, about one round behind. Hartman-Smith made Kalitta work for this one, nailing him to the tree and leading almost all the way to the line. She was still 0.02 seconds ahead at 1,000 feet, but Kalitta nipped her in the lights. Margin of victory = 0.002 seconds (approximately 11 inches).

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   5 Mike Dunn           4.593 321.12  Q   12 Clay Millican       4.667 318.02
                  0.500  4.778 289.01  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.512  4.699 313.29
This is Millican's third race with the NHRA this season, including a no-show return for the Gainesville rainout. Dunn come in embroiled in a tight race with Gary Scelzi and Doug Kalitta for the third spot in the points, just 26 points separating the three of them. The Yankees lose twice in less than 24 hours, last night in Phoenix and today in Las Vegas. This was a good drag race, Dunn slightly quicker off the line and Millican leading by 330 feet. Then both legged it out, the margin of victory = 0.067 seconds (approximately 28 feet).

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
  13 Scott Weis          4.673 319.22  Q    4 Darrell Russell     4.576 322.11
                  0.494  5.928 223.17  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.489  5.457 265.01
Weis faced Russell twice before this year, in the first round at Memphis and the second round of the second Chicago race. Russell won both and is solidly in sixth in the points and will probably finish the season in that position, not bad for a rookie. This one was a pedaling contest from a couple hundred feet out through the finish line, Russell doing a better job of "stab and steer" to get to the other end, but overstressing the engine in the process. The Safety Safari went to work in the top end of the right lane, the damage mostly in the shutdown area. Russell meets Millican next round, Millican with lane choice. That costs Russell 10 points and lane choice next round.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   2 Kenny Bernstein     4.543 326.08  Q   15 Doug Herbert        4.707 311.05
 *****WINNER***** 0.482  4.555 324.67  E1                  0.475  6.170 145.78
Bernstein is 5-1 against Herbert this year, but couldn't take him lightly because Herbert's team is capable of tuning the car to run "the big numbers." With his points lead down to just 14 points after qualifying, Bernstein could not afford any mistakes. Herbert left first, but Bernstein was right on time and led by the 330-foot marker. Then Herbert started smoking the tires and the race was over, Bernstein's run almost perfect, running 273 mph at half track. He has lane choice against Schumacher in round two. That's Bernstein's 55th round win of the year, by the way.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   3 Gary Scelzi         4.549 319.67  Q   14 Gary Clapshaw       4.689 299.20
 *****WINNER***** 0.556  4.599 315.64  E1                  0.000 No Time
This is only Clapshaw's third race of the year. Scelzi has had an up-and-down season this year, but hopes to finish strong here, in the Bud Shootout, and in the Finals. He can finish as high as third in the points, but must best both Kalitta and Dunn to do so. Clapshaw left before the tree was activated, startling everyone, including Scelzi, who was much later than usual. He also made a good run, but hurt the engine and left some oil on the track - a ten-point penalty plus the loss of lane choice to Kalitta next round.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   1 Larry Dixon         4.509 323.19  Q   16 Brady Kalivoda      4.781 304.87
 *****WINNER***** 0.477  4.536 323.97  E1                  0.000 No Time
This is Kalivoda's fourth race, the third where he's qualified in the field. He faced Mike Dunn in the first round in his other two Sunday appearances. Dixon trails Bernstein by just 14 points after qualifying #1 here. A bad break for the newcomer, Kalivoda's air bottle line blew out in the staging lanes, so he had no clutch control and could not race. Dixon used the freebie to send a message to Bernstein, shallow-staging and running low ET of the round. He will have lane choice against Lampus in round two.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink




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