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Sat, 22 Oct 2005, 05:29 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Larry Sullivan

LAS VEGAS - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Fifth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA 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: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.600/325.06, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.570/323.97, Was #7
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 7.911/96.49, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.524/325.53, Was #3

1:30 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 78 degrees, relative humidity 32 percent, barometer 28.30 inches, adjusted altitude 3,361 feet, track temperature 104 degrees.

Bobby Lagana Jr. is on the bump spot at 4.736. The first four pairs are the Bud Shootout cars - the Shootout competition will be reported separately.

Rumor has it that Dick LaHaie will retire at the end of this year and Donnie Bender will take over as crew chief on the Miller Lite Dragster. Dixon picked up the front wheels and then smoked the tires when they came back down. Kalitta made a nice, smooth, straight run, but failed to move up the ladder.

Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.555/327.35, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.553/324.44, Was #5
Right Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 4.590/320.43, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.593/324.98, Was #10

You know it's a tough weekend in Top Fuel when a 4.59 isn't even in the top half of the field. Both ran almost the same elapsed times as they ran yesterday, no change in the ladder.

Left Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 4.525/324.36, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.573/321.19, Was #11
Right Lane: Scott Kalitta Runs 5.497/248.80, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.649/321.58, Was #12

Lucas ran low ET of the round so far. Kalitta was up in smoke after 200 feet. He pedaled a couple times, finally got it hooked back up again. Lucas moved away from the middle of the field several spots, improving his first-round matchup for tomorrow.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.520/325.69, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.516/325.53, Was #1
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.564/323.12, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.634/318.99, Was #11

Another nice run by Schumacher, quickest of the round. Grubnic also made a nice run, improving enough to move into the top half of the field.

Right Lane: Joe Hartley No Time, Now #23; Best prior run: 7.306/119.77, Was #23

Hartley made his burnout, backed up, and shut off, fuel spraying from the fuel system manifold.

Left Lane: Mike Strasburg Runs 12.335/87.17, Now #19; Best prior run: 4.984/222.47, Was #19
Right Lane: Ray Stutz Runs 7.228/119.10, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.388/250.60, Was #22

Strasburg smokied the tires early, Stutz smoked them further down the track.

Left Lane: John Smith Runs 4.840/287.41, Now #18; Best prior run: 4.823/249.12, Was #18
Right Lane: Steven Chrisman Runs 5.035/279.09, Now #20; Best prior run: 5.102/279.27, Was #21

Clean runs by both drivers, Smith failing to improve, Chrisman still looking to get under five seconds. Smith left some oil in the shutdown area, so we'll be down for a few minutes.

Left Lane: Robert Reehl Runs 4.734/320.58, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.757/310.84, Was #17
Right Lane: Scott Weis Runs 5.054/213.20, Now #21; Best prior run: 5.048/211.86, Was #21

Reehl squeaked into the field, replacing Lagana on the bump spot. Weis was on a 4.70s pace until losing a blower belt around the 1,000-foot marker.

Left Lane: Doug Foley Runs 10.425/64.14, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.653/292.65, Was #13
Right Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 4.869/298.93, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.736/308.28, Was #17

Foley smoked the tires immediately. Lagana made a full pass, but was off the pace from the start.

Left Lane: Clay Millican Runs 4.682/281.19, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.690/314.02, Was #14
Right Lane: David Baca Runs 4.994/218.69, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.718/314.90, Was #15

Millican improved slightly, but not enough to move him up the ladder, the car ten mph off-pace at half track and laboring on the top end. Baca was playing catch-up all the way to about 1,000 feet, then it appeared that his engine let go.

Left Lane: Jack Beckman Runs 4.608/320.58, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.581/315.34, Was #10
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 6.730/116.85, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.558/317.72, Was #7

Herbert's car carried the front wheels a long way, then smoked the rear tires when the front came down. Beckman made a nice, clean, strong run, failed to improve.

Left Lane: Rod Fuller Runs 10.205/74.81, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.547/326.08, Was #5
Right Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 6.727/118.55, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.521/328.78, Was #2

Last pair, but the Safety Safari rolled to clean the shutdown area in Fuller's lane, starting half-way up the hill, before these two ran.

They left together, started spinning and shaking the tires, and both drivers clicked off.

With one round left, it's Schumacher atop the list at 4.516 and Robert Reehl on the bump spot at 4.734.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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