POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Top Fuel at the 36th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals 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: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.744/295.46, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.704/313.22, Was #10
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 7.769/292.08, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.672/308.92, Was #7
11:56 AM We are in the last few minutes of a TV hold at the moment but we are about to begin the third session of Top Fuel. The first pairs of this session are involved in the Budweiser Shootout. Larry Sullivan will be covering the winner and loser portion of the event in separate postings so this will just be a description of the runs.
Both drivers fail to improve on their previous times and both do some serious
engine damage on the top end of the track. The call goes out to roll the sweeper as
there is oil in the Kings lane. It was Dixon the fireballed the engine in the
Miller car at around 900 feet and it appears that there may be oil in his lane
also. Bernstein exploded the engine just before the finish line.
Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 7.326/231.00, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.884/308.50, Was #15
Right Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 7.148/229.35, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.571/320.81, Was #2
No qualifying help at all for this pair. Both cars left hard but tire smoke claimed the run before 100 feet. This is a bit of a surprise as the track appeared to be very good for earlier sessions. Over eager?
Left Lane: Joe Amato Runs 4.655/307.65, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.629/313.37, Was #6
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.759/284.03, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.581/313.29, Was #3
After the prior pairs both teams were into the clutch systems on this pair. They had the covers off before the smoke blew away from the prior pair. Prock made the correct moves as Amato made a picture perfect pass. Kalitta was black tracking all the way and the tires had a very heavy haze behind them from 1000 feet on.
Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.637/309.84, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.617/311.77, Was #5
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 5.065/209.23, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.732/313.51, Was #11
Scelzi only falls off a tiny bit but again the fuel cars fail to improve. Herbert had a heavy haze off the tires from 1000 feet on. The air temperature is very cool, high 50's to low 60's, but the sun is having a much easier time of beating on the track today. The forecast calls for more of the same for tomorrow and no rain.
Left Lane: Shirley Muldowney Runs 12.262/77.55, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.677/312.21, Was #8
Muldowney chose to sit out the session on Friday so this will be her second run of the weekend. Goosehead.com is on the car for sponsorship as it was at the U.S. Nationals this year. This hit never stood a chance. As soon as the tires moved they were up in smoke. With one session to go Shirley hangs on to a spot in the top half of the field.
Left Lane: Don Lampus Runs 6.008/140.36, Now #17; Best prior run: 10.053/74.70, Was #20
It's not been a great weekend to this point for Lampus. Two runs and lots of tires smoke to show for it. It just got worse. The car sounded flat at the hit and at half track there was a big explosion and rocked the car. Parts flew in every direction and Lampus was rocked forward from the concussion. As the car coasted down the track the only things on top of the engine were the injector hat and the accessory drive. The top of the engine was just leveled. The amazing thing is that it appears to be all parts and no oil.
Left Lane: Tim Gibson Runs 4.676/306.81, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.850/267.00, Was #13
Right Lane: Gary Clapshaw Runs 10.671/66.34, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.873/288.15, Was #14
Both drivers made runs in the first session that have them in the field. Gibson spun the tires yesterday and Clapshaw idled down the track when the car wouldn't go into reverse. Nice pass for Tim Gibson and Bill Miller. Not quite a career best for the team but close. Clapshaw was out hard but tire smoke set in about 200 feet off the line. That put out several holes and Clapshaw clicked it off.
Left Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 4.722/300.13, Now #12; Best prior run: 5.432/182.82, Was #16
Right Lane: Bobby Baldwin Runs 12.976/74.12, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.850/292.84, Was #13
Vandergriff pulls himself off of the bump spot with a good pass. The prior two were tire smokers so this one will at least give him some good computer data. Baldwin couldn't manage to keep the rear tires under control and have to give up the run.
Left Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 5.107/204.03, Now #17; Best prior run: 9.892/68.28, Was #20
Right Lane: David Grubnic No Time, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.685/313.73, Was #10
Smith was loaded for bear at the hit and managed a very quick .834 at 60 feet. The car seemed a bit lazy and then there was raw fuel coming out of the pipes on both sides of the engine. To add insult there was a flash of fire that appeared to be head gaskets. In the other lane Grubnic was shutoff after the burnout due to an oil leak form the front of the engine. The clean up crew rolls for Grubnic so the fine will happen even though he didn't get to run.
Left Lane: Mike Smith Runs 4.827/298.01, Now #14; Best prior run: 9.879/77.53, Was #20
Right Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.766/296.96, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.590/322.96, Was #4
Smith is looking for a way into the field while Troxel has no such problem. Smith lifts the front wheels of the Ralph White car and carried them a long ways down the track. That gets him into the field and bumps Cory Mac. Troxel's ride just never looked right. There were holes out and she gets no improvement.
Left Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 4.669/310.91, Now #7; Best prior run: 9.204/80.73, Was #20
Right Lane: Mike Dunn Runs 9.633/83.33, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.522/325.69, Was #1
Cowin finally gets it all together and puts on a good show. Cowin was down the center and there was not a whisp of smoke from tires or engine. The same couldn't bee said for Dunn. Tire smoke claimed his past almost from the hit. That was the last pair from the session and the Funny Cars are coming around the corner.
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