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Sun, 4 Sep 2005, 07:37 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Larry Sullivan

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from final, round 5 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 this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Left Lane: David Baca Runs 8.642/98.47, Now #27; Best prior run: 8.446/102.12, Was #27

5:43 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 78 degrees, relative humidity 35 percent, barometer 29.50 inches, adjusted altitude 1,941 feet, track temperature 119 degrees.

Jack Beckman is on the bump spot at 4.701.

Baca was up in smoke very early in the run and his weekend is over.

Left Lane: Don Reed Runs 4.990/280.49, Now #26; Best prior run: 5.163/212.83, Was #26
Right Lane: Scott Palmer Runs 4.792/281.66, Now #23; Best prior run: 5.120/225.22, Was #25

Both drivers got into the fours for the first time this weekend and Palmer came within a tenth of the bump time, but both are going home.

Left Lane: Tim Gibson No Time, Now #20; Best prior run: 4.751/289.01, Was #20
Right Lane: Mitch King Runs 4.877/290.44, Now #25; Best prior run: 4.875/268.38, Was #25

There was a brief pause while a sky diver brought the $100,000 Skoal Showdown winner's purse in to present it to Del Worsham out in front of the main grandstand and he was escorted to the winner's circle in front of the tower.

Gibson made the burnout and shut the car off. King made a good run, but it was not quick enough.

Left Lane: Clay Millican Runs 4.601/318.99, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.654/318.84, Was #15
Right Lane: Chris Karamesines Runs 4.922/250.74, Now #24; Best prior run: 4.853/285.71, Was #24

There are several not-qualified cars nose-to-tail in the right lane, so potential bumping won't be over for a few more pairs.

Millican made a nice, solid run, the header flames strong and light-colored all the way through the run. Karamesines shut off well before the finish line, his race is over.

Left Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 9.542/102.15, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.623/321.50, Was #15
Right Lane: Luigi Novelli Runs 4.729/283.79, Now #20; Best prior run: 4.780/276.80, Was #22

Hartley smoked the tires and lifted. Novelli made his best run of the event and came up a couple tenths short of the bump time.

Left Lane: T.J. Zizzo Runs 4.708/311.63, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.615/319.37, Was #14
Right Lane: John Smith Runs 9.327/93.63, Now #22; Best prior run: 4.768/312.21, Was #22

Zizzo has run 4.61 twice this weekend, so a fifty appeared within reach. Smith has struggled, with only one full pass in four tries. Nope, Smith was up in smoke before going 100 feet, Zizzo was unable to match his earlier best. However, in five tries, he's gone down the track on four of his five qualifying runs.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 9.712/82.30, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.565/326.48, Was #10
Right Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 13.081/82.94, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.713/299.73, Was #19

Immediate, violent tire smoke ended Lagana's weekend. Tire smoke about 100 feet out ended Troxel's run - but she will get to race tomorrow.

Left Lane: Rod Fuller Runs 7.650/94.63, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.520/325.61, Was #8
Right Lane: Bruce Litton Runs 4.761/313.00, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.706/315.27, Was #18

Litton unveiled a new, blue and white '58 Suburban as a tow vehicle this weekend, but for this final attempt he parked the blue one and brought out "old reliable," the red '57 Suburban. Litton's car hesitated a bit on the launch, posting a 0.898 60-foot time, and he failed to improve.

Left Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.633/317.72, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.510/326.71, Was #6
Right Lane: Tim Cullinan Runs 6.769/121.79, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.703/290.38, Was #17

Cullinan was the final car with a shot at bumping Beckman from the field. It looked like he lost a blower belt around half track, "the pipes going wet" at that point. He was well behind Dixon's pace at that point anyway, so it probably did not matter, he was not on a pace to run 4.701 or better. Dixon's half-track speed was only 263 mph, about 10 mph down from his earlier runs.

Left Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.780/236.55, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.510/327.51, Was #5
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 5.091/195.03, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.613/324.67, Was #13

Grubnic has also struggled here, getting down the track just once in four previous tries. Kalitta, by contrast, got down the track on all four, with a worst of 4.621 earlier today.

It appeared both cars lost blower belts, at almost the same point on the top end of the run, Grubnic's first, followed by Kalitta. Until he slowed, Grubnic's car was running right with Kalitta's, both looking set for low sixties runs.

Left Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 4.516/323.97, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.502/325.14, Was #4
Right Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 4.603/320.43, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.534/325.30, Was #9

Nice run by Bernstein, quickest of the session so far. Lucas steadily lost ground to Bernstein on a good-looking run.

Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.535/325.53, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.497/328.14, Was #3
Right Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 5.191/188.91, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.516/324.05, Was #7

Kalitta's car stopped running around half track. Cory Mac appears ready to play, making a nice run, quick and fast, making five good runs in five tries this weekend, the worst a 4.630 yesterday afternoon.

Left Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.492/325.92, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.463/326.56, Was #2
Right Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.531/323.27, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.459/329.18, Was #1

These two are also ready to play, Herbert running low ET of the round and Schumacher with five runs between 4.459 and 4.553.

That wraps up qualifying for all categories at the 51st annual MAC Tools U.S. Nationals, with Schumacher in the #1 position and Jack Beckman on the bump spot at 4.701.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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