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Sun, 23 Oct 2005, 02:31 PM

Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

LAS VEGAS - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Fifth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:

    7 Cory McClenathan                        5 David Grubnic                
E1                   0.060 12.860  76.97     ****WINNER****  0.114  6.874 286.74
 Qualified:             #8  4.553 324.44                        #9  4.564 323.12
11:01 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 70 degrees, relative humidity 36 percent, barometer 28.34 inches, adjusted altitude 2,783 feet, track temperature 94 degrees.

Cory Mac enjoys an 11-5 edge over Grubnic in prior races and has been very consistent here this weekend, while Grubnic has been up and down, with two competitive runs and two busted runs in qualifying. However, they do not race on paper. The cars have to line up and race on Sunday and "stuff happens." Both cars lost traction almost immediately and both drivers pedaled. Cory Mac's car did not respond, Grubnic's smoked the tires again, but his second effort got enough traction for him to complete the run, trailing a cloud of partially-burned nitromethane while McClenathan helplessly coasted down the track.

    3 Brandon Bernstein                       2 Doug Kalitta                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.082  4.489 327.11                     0.086  5.390 242.80
 Qualified:             #7  4.544 325.14                       #10  4.570 323.97
Doug Kalitta held a 5-4 edge over Bernstein in prior meetings. Both cars were off their usually quick pace in qualifying, so this looked like a fair race, but Kalitta smoked the tires almost immediately while Bernstein went on a rocket ride, the car up on the tires and hauling, right down the groove. Brandon Bernstein's incremental times: 60ft-0.876 sec., 330ft-2.154, 660ft-3.049/279.90mph, 1,000ft-3.816, for low ET of the weekend.

    8 Doug Herbert                           71 Jack Beckman                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.075  6.104 276.52                     0.074  8.013 114.30
 Qualified:             #6  4.528 315.12                       #11  4.581 315.34
Beckman is the 71st different opponent Herbert has faced in NHRA Top Fuel competition. Another pedaling contest and Herbert's experience paid off with a win light. Both pedaled several times, Herbert getting hooked back up again, Beckman unable to do so.

  507 Melanie Troxel                       1301 Doug Foley                   
E1                   0.046 10.377  82.09     ****WINNER****  0.055  4.714 309.27
 Qualified:             #3  4.521 328.78                       #14  4.653 292.65
Foley becomes the 26th different opponent on Troxel's resume. Troxel held an apparent performance edge, but after watching five of the first six cars smoke the tires, all bets were off. Make that six of eight, Foley getting his first-ever NHRA national event round win on a clean pass, not spectacular, but no visible problems. Foley will have lane choice against Herbert in the second round.

  743 Morgan Lucas                          524 Joe Hartley                  
E1   ****WINNER****  0.092  5.403 300.86                     0.135  6.676 150.61
 Qualified:             #1  4.508 322.88                       #16  4.696 312.50
This is the first time Lucas and Hartley have faced each other, Hartley the 20th different opponent Lucas has faced in Top Fuel. Hartley started smoking the tires about 100 feet out, Lucas did the same about 200 feet out. Both pedaled several times, Lucas had more momentum going for him, got there first and will have lane choice against Grubnic in the second round.

  104 Clay Millican                           1 Tony Schumacher              
E1                   0.048  9.112  75.77     ****WINNER****  0.081  4.506 330.55
 Qualified:            #15  4.655 312.28                        #2  4.516 325.53
Schumacher has blanked Millican in all four prior meetings. Crew Chief Alan Johnson swapped lanes, choosing the right lane. Millican led for about 100 feet, then Schumacher took charge. Millican's car started smoking the tires about 300 feet out and shook when he pedaled it, so he threw in the towel. Schumacher won easily, running the second-best elapsed time of the round and top speed of the weekend, but he will not have lane choice against Bernstein when they meet next round. Tony Schumacher's incremental times: 60ft-0.852 sec., 330ft-2.135, 660ft-3.056/272.50mph, 1,000ft-3.832.

  241 John Smith                            552 Rod Fuller                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.078  4.651 319.14                     0.076  4.705 329.58
 Qualified:            #12  4.592 320.89                        #5  4.525 324.20
Fuller has come out on top all three times these two have met in prior races, but Smith took charge early when Fuller's car started rattling the tires and he held off Fuller's big top-end charge for the win, Fuller running the second-fastest speed of the weekend in a losing cause.

    4 Scott Kalitta                          91 Larry Dixon                  
E1   ****WINNER****  0.075  4.591 325.61                     0.071  5.965 169.78
 Qualified:            #13  4.593 321.81                        #4  4.524 325.53
Scott Kalitta holds a 14-10 career record against Dixon, but he lost to Dixon in the first round at Ennis, two weeks ago. Yesterday, a 4.59 was not good enough to win the Budweiser Shootout, but today it was quick enough to defeat a tire-smoking Dixon and earn lane choice against Smith in the second round.. Dixon smoked the tires before the 330-foot marker. He pedaled, but could not fully recover.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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