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Mon, 5 Sep 2005, 12:29 PM

Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

CLERMONT, Ind. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 51st annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals:

  743 Morgan Lucas                          552 Rod Fuller                   
E1                         No Time           ****WINNER****  0.078  4.562 321.73
 Qualified:             #9  4.534 325.30                        #8  4.520 325.61
11:03 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 71 degrees, relative humidity 43 percent, barometer 29.65 inches, adjusted altitude 1,318 feet, track temperature 106 degrees.

Fuller was runner-up here in Super Gas in '98. Lucas won TAD here in '03 and this is his 26th start in Top Fuel.

What a bad piece of luck for Lucas and the Lucas Oil team, the car would not fire and Fuller got a solo pass to open the final day of racing at the 51st U.S. Nationals. He made a very nice run, but it would have been nice to see two cars go down the track to kick things off.

    4 Scott Kalitta                         507 Melanie Troxel               
E1                   0.103 12.557  76.10     ****WINNER****  0.098  4.591 320.58
 Qualified:             #7  4.516 324.05                       #10  4.565 326.48
This is Scott Kalitta's 18th Indy, Troxel's second. She set top speed of the meet in her only other Indy appearance, in 2000.

Kalitta smoked the tires almost immediately, giving Troxel a free pass to the quarterfinals and her second round win of the season, the first one also a Kalitta - Doug.

  104 Clay Millican                           2 Doug Kalitta                 
E1                   0.040  4.637 317.42     ****WINNER****  0.072  4.540 328.62
 Qualified:            #12  4.601 318.99                        #5  4.510 327.51
After seeing cousin Scott smoke the tires, Doug Kalitta's team swapped lanes and moved to the right side. Doug Kalitta was runner-up here in '04 and the only Kalitta with a win here is Connie. Surprisingly, Millican holds a 4-2 edge over Kalitta in prior races, but he was a decided underdog here.

Millican was away first and led for the first couple hundred feet, but then Kalitta went by and pulled away. Doug Kalitta's MOV: 0.0659 seconds (approximately 31 feet). There was a flash of flame from the rear of Millican's engine in the lights, but it wasn't a factor in the outcome.

  524 Joe Hartley                             8 Doug Herbert                 
E1                   0.073 11.386  83.19     ****WINNER****  0.117  4.575 321.50
 Qualified:            #15  4.623 321.50                        #2  4.463 326.56
Herbert was runner-up here in '92 and '93 and this is his best position is 63 races with a career-best elapsed time. It is the first time he's faced Hartley and this is Hartley's first Indy. Herbert was second-best in qualifying, but inconsistent. Hartley was slower, but more consistent.

Hartley was up in smoke almost immediately, Herbert went right down the groove to earn lane choice against Troxel in the quarterfinals.

   71 Jack Beckman                            1 Tony Schumacher              
E1                   0.087 15.606  35.71     ****WINNER****  0.093  4.536 320.89
 Qualified:            #16  4.701 270.64                        #1  4.459 329.18
Schumacher has won Indy four times, including the last three in a row. This is the first time he's qualified #1 here, however. This is Beckman's 8th start in Top Fuel and he survived the final round of qualifying on the bump spot, electing to sit the round out to conserve parts for today.

Beckman was up in smoke immediately. Schumacher avoided the 31 qualifier jinx and went right down the groove, running low ET of the round so far to earn lane choice against Fuller.

  317 T.J. Zizzo                              7 Cory McClenathan             
E1                   0.092  4.717 306.81     ****WINNER****  0.071  4.565 325.06
 Qualified:            #14  4.615 319.37                        #3  4.497 328.14
This is Cory Mac's 14th Indy and he won here in '96 and '99. He was the #1 qualifier in '91. This is Zizzo's second Indy.

Zizzo kept Cory Mac honest, but the FRAM AirHog team had too much for him today.

    5 David Grubnic                           3 Brandon Bernstein            
E1   ****WINNER****  0.084  5.250 248.02                     0.073  8.618  85.11
 Qualified:            #13  4.613 324.67                        #4  4.502 325.14
Kenny Bernstein won here three times and Brandon holds a 2-1 edge against Grubnic in prior events. This is Grubnic's eighth Indy, with only one round win to show for his efforts so far.

Both drivers lost traction here, but Brandon did so just off the starting line and Grubnic was almost to half track before puffing his tires. grubnic pedaled and struggled, but got to the line first to double his round-win total at Indy. He faces teammate Doug Kalitta in round two, Kalitta will have lane choice.

   10 Scott Weis                             91 Larry Dixon                  
E1                   0.108  8.679  95.61     ****WINNER****  0.073  4.606 324.59
 Qualified:            #11  4.591 322.65                        #6  4.510 326.71
This is Dixon's 11th Indy appearance - he won here in '95 and '01. He holds a 9-2 round win edge over Weis, who has never won a round here.

Weis smoked the tires about 200 feet out and Dixon was unopposed the rest of the way. He advances to the quarterfinals, but loses lane choice to Cory Mac.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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