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Thu, 3 Nov 2005, 04:41 PM

Top Alcohol Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Larry Sullivan

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 41st annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Left Lane: Paul Crifasi Runs 6.275/229.98, Now #2
Right Lane: Rian Konno Runs 5.913/219.29, Now #1

3:46 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 67 degrees, relative humidity 46 percent, barometer 29.43 inches, adjusted altitude 1,329 feet, track temperature 106 degrees.

There should be around 28 cars in this first round, so the bump should be a good one when the round is over.

We open with a pair of drivers who are not household names. Crifasi was quicker early in the run, but his car was skating around and shaking the tires about 200 feet out and he lost a lot of ground to Konno, who went right down the groove.

Left Lane: David Ray Runs 5.781/251.77, Now #1
Right Lane: Sean Bellemeur Runs 13.377/68.38, Now #4

Bellemeur's car shook violently on the launch and skated over toward the wall. Jay Blake's "Follow a Dream" Avenger made a nice-looking opening run, with just light shake on the launch.

Left Lane: Doug Gordon Runs 15.731/54.03, Now #5
Right Lane: Tate Branch Runs 16.174/58.73, Now #6

Both cars lost traction and shook violently on the launch, then coasted through.

Left Lane: Hank Coolidge Runs 5.880/247.07, Now #2
Right Lane: Mike Bell Runs 5.996/240.42, Now #4

Bell did a nice job of pedaling to get out of early tire shake. Coolidge made a very nice-looking run.

Left Lane: Bil Gallio Runs 6.586/232.59, Now #7
Right Lane: John Patton Runs 5.839/249.03, Now #2

Gallio lost a lot of time with tire shake early in the run, then made a strong run on the top end.

Left Lane: Bob Gallio Runs 6.021/226.13, Now #6
Right Lane: Bernie Harrington Runs 6.213/198.03, Now #7

Gallio was on his way to a mid-eighty, but the car slowed on the top end. Harrington lost a lot of time with shake early in the run.

Left Lane: Bret Williamson Runs 10.220/77.23, Now #11
Right Lane: Mike Drake Runs 6.552/187.05, Now #9

Oh-for-two. Williamson's car shook and made a run at the wall, Drake's kept getting closer and closer to the centerline until it clipped the 1,000-foot timing reflector.

Left Lane: Brian Hough Runs 5.733/254.62, Now #1
Right Lane: Bucky Austin Runs 5.806/249.67, Now #3

That was better, both cars getting cleanly off the starting line, then going right down the groove - but this isn't the first dance for either of these two Division 6 standouts!

Left Lane: Ron Morrison Runs 12.929/62.89, Now #14
Right Lane: Brandon Lewis No Time, Now #18

Lewis didn't even get to make a burnout. Morrison shook violently and the engine went silent after about 200 feet.

Left Lane: Mark Woznichak Runs 6.191/243.33, Now #10
Right Lane: Larry Miner Runs 5.768/252.28, Now #2

Woznichak shook about 200 feet out and got completely out of the throttle, then tried again. Miner made a good-looking run, right down the groove.

Left Lane: Dennis Taylor Runs 5.655/252.57, Now #1
Right Lane: Tim Nemeth Runs 5.839/244.96, Now #7

Good runs, a pair. Taylor jumped into the #1 spot with a very pretty run.

Left Lane: John Weaver Runs 6.852/163.95, Now #17
Right Lane: Clint Thompson Runs 22.861/35.69, Now #23

Hank Coolidge was on the bump spot at 5.880. After these two runs, he was still there because both cars shook violently on the launch. Thompson threw in the towel. Weaver got out of the throttle, thought about it, then tried again before doing likewise.

Left Lane: Vern Moats Runs 5.891/253.56, Now #10
Right Lane: Jay Payne Runs 5.706/255.24, Now #2

Both drivers conquered early tire shake and made strong on the top end of the track. Now Tim Nemeth is on the bump spot at 5.839.

Left Lane: Ron August Jr Runs 6.439/161.71, Now #17

Two left-lane singles will wrap this round up - they will be back tomorrow for another try.

August got off to a good start, but the car nosed over before half track, the reason not evident.

Left Lane: Steve Gasparrelli Runs 5.708/257.24, Now #3

Gasparrelli closed the round with a snaking pass, going about 1,500 feet to get to the other end. He moved into the field, near the top, putting John Patton on the bump spot at 5.839.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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