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Sun, 12 Nov 2000, 02:52 PM

POMONA-2 - Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Darryl Jackman





POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the 36th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   8 Larry Dixon         4.672 308.92  Q    9 Tim Gibson          4.676 306.81
 *****WINNER***** 0.519  4.765 254.90  E1                  0.472  9.924  86.79
10:56 AM We're in the last couple of minutes of the pre race ceremonies the band is playing along with the American flag being carried in by the skydivers. the flag lands and the call is fire the first pair. What a difference twelve hours makes. There is not a cloud in the sky and the track is bathed in sun instead of water. Gibson left on Dixon but the Bill Miller owned dragster was up in smoke before 300 feet. Dixon's run was not real pretty as it appeared that he may have tossed a blower belt and was coasting from 1000 feet to the finish.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   7 Andrew Cowin        4.669 310.91  Q   10 Shirley Muldowney   4.677 312.21
 *****WINNER***** 0.523  8.208 178.59  E1                  0.517  8.364 150.20
We understand that on Shirley's qualifying attempt yesterday it was not a clutch malfunction but a lean condition in the engine that caused the smoke. More smoke here as both drivers were on and off the pedal all the way down. Both cars were loose and it looked more like a slalom course without cones as they both fishtailed all over the lanes. Margin of victory = 0.150 seconds (approximately 33 feet).

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   6 Joe Amato           4.629 313.37  Q   11 David Grubnic       4.685 313.73
                  0.481  9.550  76.19  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.476  4.918 278.98
This could be Amato's last ride if he loses this one. He announced this morning that regardless of what happens this is his last weekend in the car. He will be back next year as an owner. Again it's tire smoke that determines the outcome of the race. It was was an even start but Amato begins smoking the tires at the transition and his great driving career comes to an end. Grubnic was not without it's own problems as he hazes the tires through the lights and does damage to the engine. The cleanup is a short one but the call went out to Ray Allley that they had to do clean the surface.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   5 Gary Scelzi         4.617 311.77  Q   12 Kenny Bernstein     4.704 313.22
 *****WINNER***** 0.485  4.563 318.39  E1                  0.474 13.699  80.85
Scelzi leads the series between he and Bernstein 16-9. Will he get closer to even? Nope. The King smokes the tires and Scelzi burns the track. So far that's the quickest run in eliminations and Scelzi's head to head is now 17-9.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   4 Melanie Troxel      4.590 322.96  Q   13 Bob Vandergriff     4.722 300.13
 *****WINNER***** 0.518  4.674 315.27  E1                  0.498  4.831 286.92
Troxel also gets down the left lane nearly as well as Scelzi. In the other lane Vandergriff began to haze the tires around half track and the car got to be a real hand full. The back of Vandergriff's car tried to come around on him but he managed to keep it in the middle of the lane. More bad news for Vandergriff as the cleaning crew goes to work on his lane. Melanie will have to face Scelzi in the next round without the benefit of lane choice.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   3 Doug Kalitta        4.581 313.29  Q   14 Doug Herbert        4.732 313.51
                  0.495 10.440  85.60  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.515  4.918 294.69
We are still waiting for the last of the cleanup after the Vandergriff run. I lied. It's been close to a ten minute dust and clean on the right lane. At last the call goes out to fire Kalitta and Herbert. Both of these drivers would really like to improve on their year's with a win at this event. Kalitta chatters the tires at the hit and it turns to instant tire smoke. In the other lane Herbert was down the middle of the lane but gave the pedal a slap at half track. Herbert will have lane choice over Grubnic in round two but virtue of a better mph. They ran identical et's.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   2 Tony Schumacher     4.571 320.81  Q   15 Mike Smith          4.827 298.01
 *****WINNER***** 0.514  4.606 317.27  E1                  0.536  4.939 282.84
Schumacher has only had one good run this weekend in qualifying and the other two were smokers. Of course his one good run was much better than the one good one by Smith. This was no match. The Army car was right down Broadway and not a whisp of smoke. He was a little loose on the top end but it was no problem. Smith has a good run, just not good enough.

 Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed-Rd-Qua-Driver(Opp'nt)-RT-----ET---Speed
   1 Mike Dunn           4.522 325.69  Q   16 Bobby Baldwin       4.850 292.84
 *****WINNER***** 0.524  4.566 316.82  E1                  0.539  5.091 210.44
Mike Dunn gets his first victory this season over Bobby Baldwin. They raced at Houston and Baldwin won in a tire smoker. Here it was the Yankee car all the way. He misses low et of the round by .003, set by Gary Scelzi. In the other lane Bobby Baldwin was right with Dunn at the hit but could only watch as the pinstripes pulled away. As Baldwin neared the lights his engine went up in a ball of fire and following that a left rear tires was cut down by parts or the flames from the explosion. The car stayed in the middle of the lane and came to a stop without hitting anything. Again we are down as we will have to clean the oil off of an abused right lane. Dunn will have lane choice over Dixon.




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