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Fri, 2 Sep 2005, 11:03 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Larry Sullivan

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 51st annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Right Lane: Don Reed Runs 11.862/62.44, Now #1

8:51 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 73 degrees, relative humidity 36 percent, barometer 29.66 inches, adjusted altitude 1,438 feet, track temperature 101 degrees.

Reed lives just down US-31, in Kokomo, and this is about his only appearance each year. He smoked the tires and coasted through.

Left Lane: Chris Karamesines Runs 4.906/278.40, Now #1
Right Lane: Tim Gibson Runs 5.223/208.30, Now #2

It looked like Gibson pushed a head gasket out early and the flames steadily got brighter and bigger until there was a flash of flame from the top side of the engine about 1,000 feet down the track, the supercharger tilted way over to the side. The cleanup appears to be mostly in the shutdown area. karamesines had a short fuse on this run, the header flames out well before the line.

Left Lane: Tim Cullinan Runs 10.641/78.94, Now #4
Right Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 4.771/316.01, Now #1

The cleanup was quick and the next pair took their turn at center stage. Cullinan rattled the tires and he shut it off. Hartley made a very nice run, right down the groove, all eight candles lit. On the video replay, you could see his car make a momentary bobble about 300 feet out, but he did a nice job of driving through it.

Left Lane: Luigi Novelli Runs 15.149/82.45, Now #7
Right Lane: T.J. Zizzo Runs 4.618/313.58, Now #1

Novelli's last run was one he'd like to erase from everyone's memory, a huge oildown at Brainerd. This one was short, but dry, Novelli rattling the tires and shutting off quickly. Meanwhile, Zizzo made a very nice run, the header flames tall and strong all the way down the track.

Left Lane: Bruce Litton Runs 4.706/315.27, Now #3
Right Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.565/326.48, Now #1

Troxel is in a newly rebuilt Hadman car this weekend and it appears to be "a good set of pipe." She streaked to the top spot with absolutely no sign of a problem anywhere during the run.

Left Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 4.838/281.30, Now #5
Right Lane: Clay Millican Runs 4.888/245.14, Now #6

The rear of Millican's dragster erupted in flames about 300 feet down the track. The car trailed a huge fireball all the way down the shutdown area, burning the chutes off when he deployed them well before the finish line. He finally got it stopped and the flames died down, then the Safety Safari started putting water on the red-hot engine bay. He hopped out, okay, but that team will have a long night tonight because they have two runs scheduled for tomorrow. Meanwhile, Lagana trailed Millican to 1,000 feet, then went by as Millican struggled to get his dragster stopped.

Left Lane: Scott Palmer Runs 5.139/213.37, Now #9
Right Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.701/270.64, Now #3

Palmer's header flames went out before the 1,000-foot marker. beckman was on a pretty good run until his engine, also, turned into a small ball of flame before the finish line. His fireball was brief, the flames going down a second or two after they flared up. But there was another delay for a cleanup, the right lane taking a real beating so far in this round.

Left Lane: Mitch King Runs 4.875/268.38, Now #7
Right Lane: David Baca Runs 9.693/89.43, Now #12

Baca shook, pedaled, smoked the tires, and lifted. King's car nosed over on the top end and the Safety Safari went to work again, this time in the left lane.

Left Lane: John Smith Runs 9.607/86.07, Now #13
Right Lane: Rod Fuller Runs 4.520/325.61, Now #1

Smith rattled the tires and clicked it off early in the run. No rattling in the right lane, the Lee Beard-tuned dragster storming right down the middle of the groove and into the top spot. Rod Fuller's incremental times: 60ft-0.848 sec., 330ft-2.151, 660ft-3.071/274.39mph, 1,000ft-3.846Rod Fuller's incremental times: 60ft-0.848 sec., 330ft-2.151, 660ft-3.071/274.39mph, 1,000ft-3.846

Left Lane: Scott Weis No Time, Now #20
Right Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.550/316.82, Now #2

Weis broke after the burnout, shutting off without staging. Cory Mac made a nice run, straight and smooth, the header flames tall and steady.

Left Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 4.531/328.78, Now #2
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.868/228.15, Now #10

Herbert was trailing Kalitta and falling back when he clicked it off around the 1,000-foot marker. Kalitta made a very strong run, with top speed so far this round.

Left Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 4.534/325.30, Now #3
Right Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 4.570/326.32, Now #6

Side-by-side fifties, a pretty sight for the crowd tonight. Morgan Lucas' incremental times: 60ft-0.842 sec., 330ft-2.142, 660ft-3.070/272.28mph, 1,000ft-3.853
Brandon Bernstein's incremental times: 60ft-0.869 sec., 330ft-2.181, 660ft-3.109/271.08mph, 1,000ft-3.892

Left Lane: David Grubnic Runs 5.868/145.86, Now #19
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.615/291.51, Now #7

grubnic's header flames went out at half track, could not see why in the darkness. Dixon made a full pass, his incremental times pretty close to Bernstein's, but the chutes shook out early, reining him in.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.459/329.18, Now #1
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.517/327.59, Now #2

Wow! Schumacher destroyed both ends of the IRP track record on this run, leaving the usually-quick and fast Kalitta well back at the finish line. Tony Schumacher's incremental times: 60ft-0.826 sec., 330ft-2.113, 660ft-3.021/277.37mph, 1,000ft-3.791. Doug Kalitta's incremental times: 60ft-0.853 sec., 330ft-2.151, 660ft-3.065/274.94mph, 1,000ft-3.841.

After one round of qualifying, Schumacher heads the field and Mitch King is on the bump spot at 4.875.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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