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Thu, 7 Nov 2002, 04:31 PM

Top Alcohol Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Darryl Jackman

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 38th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:

Left Lane: Doug Gordon Runs 5.774/240.59, Now #1
Right Lane: Bret Williamson Runs 6.474/150.65, Now #2

Conditions are different than for the dragsters. Temp is 68 degrees, humidity is 38% and the barometer is 30.05 and falling. The track is now under full cloud cover. Gordon makes a nice first pass of the weekend but Williamson was a bit loose. He clicks it early and saves the parts.

Left Lane: Vern Moats Runs 5.753/250.23, Now #1
Right Lane: Jay Payne Runs 5.910/223.43, Now #3

Moats has a fairly wild opener. The car drifted towards the centerline about 100 feet off the starting line and acted like it didn't want to come back. Moats cranked hard on the wheel and it finally came back to the middle of the lane. Payne stayed in the middle of the lane but he was enveloped in a cloud of smoke in the lights. No trucks roll so the lane is clean.

Left Lane: Dennis Taylor Runs 5.887/243.41, Now #4
Right Lane: Mike Andreotti Runs 5.855/223.76, Now #3

Taylor appeared to pedal at least once as he drove out of some tire shake. Andreotti just went about his business and moves into #3.

Left Lane: Bucky Austin Runs 5.621/254.09, Now #1
Right Lane: Bernie Harrington Runs 5.948/243.72, Now #7

Ok. That was stout! Austin moves over a tenth in front if the field and also sets top speed to this point in qualifying. Harrington made a nice run, but completely overshadowed but Bucky's shot.

Left Lane: Tate Branch Runs 5.663/252.90, Now #2
Right Lane: Jason Rupert Runs 6.081/241.93, Now #9

Bucky doesn't have a tenth plus on the field any more. Branch put a stop to that in about 5.66 seconds. Rupert was all over the right lane and it was just amazing that he didn't cross the center stripe on some of his wanderings.

Left Lane: Steve Gasparrelli Runs 5.717/251.30, Now #3
Right Lane: Mert Littlefield Runs 5.907/242.98, Now #8

Gasparrelli runs a twisted 5.71 in the left lane. About 100 feet off the line the rearend of his racer stepped out and he chased it for another 300 feet before the car was straight. Littlefield stayed in the middle of the lane but just seemed down on power.

Left Lane: John Weaver Runs 5.834/244.96, Now #6
Right Lane: Marc White Runs 9.679/89.19, Now #14

White gets crossed up and decides to save the paint. Weaver gets a pretty good hit and winds up in the top half of the field. We finish the session with fourteen cars taking the green in the first round of qualifying. The sheets says that sixteen cars were pre entered.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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