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Fri, 4 Nov 2005, 09:19 PM

Top Alcohol Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Final Session
By Larry Sullivan

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from final, round 3 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 this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Left Lane: Mark Woznichak Runs 6.044/207.75, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.894/246.71, Was #17
Right Lane: Brandon Lewis Runs 5.805/250.64, Now #14; Best prior run: 9.797/111.24, Was #29

5:13 p.m. Bret Williamson is on the bump spot at 5.862.

With 29 cars trying to squeeze into 16 slots on the ladder, this is a very tough field to make and Woznichak came up for his final qualifying shot sitting in the first-alternate position. That's well below his usual qualifying position. He got loose on the top end, taking out the finish line timing reflectors, so his weekend is probably over. Meanwhile, Lewis made a nice run, getting to the finish line before Woznichak took out the foam blocks, so his time is good and he was quick enough to make the field. That put Tim Nemeth on the bump spot at 5.839.

Left Lane: Ron August Jr Runs 5.668/256.45, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.779/253.95, Was #12
Right Lane: John Patton Runs 5.704/254.14, Now #9; Best prior run: 5.839/249.03, Was #15

After the sweeper truck cleaned up all the foam block pieces, action resumed with these two and a nice side-by-side show. Both improved nicely and the field got tighter.

Left Lane: Paul Crifasi Runs 8.626/105.25, Now #27; Best prior run: 6.205/227.57, Was #27
Right Lane: Sean Bellemeur Runs 5.767/249.90, Now #14; Best prior run: 6.034/251.34, Was #23

Crifasi launched, shook, and lifted. Bellemeur made a nice run to get into the field. That put Brandon Lewis on the bump spot at 5.805.

Left Lane: Brian Hough Runs 5.645/255.39, Now #4; Best prior run: 5.733/254.62, Was #12
Right Lane: Mike Drake Runs 10.263/77.66, Now #28; Best prior run: 6.300/182.53, Was #28

Drake's car made a hard left turn and he had to lift. Hough made a nice run, moving way up the ladder.

Left Lane: Bil Gallio No Time, Now #26; Best prior run: 6.203/235.23, Was #26
Right Lane: Mike Bell Runs 5.977/235.72, Now #23; Best prior run: 5.996/240.42, Was #23

Gallio's car went hard right, hitting the 330-foot timing reflector. The foam block ricocheted off the side of Bell's car and came back across the track. Bell ignored the flying object, but came up short of the bump for this tough field.

Left Lane: Bob Gallio Runs 8.291/94.44, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.958/235.15, Was #22
Right Lane: Tate Branch Runs 5.869/249.49, Now #19; Best prior run: 5.927/248.16, Was #21

Branch is another driver who is usually qualified much higher than his first two runs netted him. Gallio skated over toward the centerline on the launch, managed to bring it back, and then there was a BANG and a flash of flame, the pressure relief hatch in the hood sailing high in the air. Branch was well clear by the time the fireworks happened, but was unable to run the numbers needed to make this tough field.

Left Lane: Doug Gordon Runs 5.812/252.00, Now #17; Best prior run: 9.376/92.93, Was #29
Right Lane: Larry Miner Runs 5.651/254.38, Now #2; Best prior run: 5.634/255.43, Was #2

Gordon is yet another driver who is unaccustomed to being well out of the field. He stepped way up here and still came up short, not by much, but short. Miner made another stout run, right down the groove and he should be tough in eliminations.

Left Lane: Bret Williamson Runs 6.685/137.53, Now #19; Best prior run: 5.862/243.41, Was #19
Right Lane: Rian Konno Runs 6.224/241.63, Now #22; Best prior run: 5.913/219.29, Was #22

Williamson's engine gave up around half track. Konno shook early in the run, killing his elapsed time. The Safety Safari went to work in Williamson's lane, bringing things to a halt for a bit.

Left Lane: David Ray Runs 5.670/255.43, Now #7; Best prior run: 5.667/257.09, Was #7
Right Lane: Bernie Harrington Runs 5.701/251.02, Now #10; Best prior run: 6.083/235.60, Was #25

Harrington is also one who is usually well into the field by this point. he took care of that problem with a good-looking run here. Meanwhile, Ray skirted the centerline to post his third good time of the weekend. That put Clint Thompson on the bump spot at 5.785.

Left Lane: John Weaver Runs 5.668/253.80, Now #9; Best prior run: 5.693/250.09, Was #9
Right Lane: Jay Payne Runs 5.669/258.62, Now #3; Best prior run: 5.638/256.11, Was #3

Nice side-by-side 5.66 runs, both drivers stayed right where they were in the order.

Left Lane: Ron Morrison Runs 11.063/76.33, Now #26; Best prior run: 6.171/199.05, Was #26
Right Lane: Don Hudson Runs 5.905/252.14, Now #14; Best prior run: 5.756/231.68, Was #14

Morrison launched, shook, pedaled, and gave it up. Hudson also shook and pedaled, but he was already in the field - barely.

Left Lane: Dennis Taylor Runs 5.650/256.06, Now #5; Best prior run: 5.650/252.28, Was #5
Right Lane: Bucky Austin Runs 5.654/256.06, Now #1; Best prior run: 5.631/257.53, Was #1

Side-by-side 5.65s, a nice show, no change in the field. Taylor's three runs have been 5.655, 5.650, and 5.650 - not too bad at all!

Left Lane: Steve Gasparrelli Runs 11.474/73.68, Now #13; Best prior run: 5.708/257.24, Was #13
Right Lane: Tim Nemeth Runs 6.052/246.62, Now #19; Best prior run: 5.839/244.96, Was #19

Both cars shook. Gasparrelli moved left, toward the wall, and he lifted. Nemeth moved right, toward the other wall. He pedaled and continued, but failed to improve.

Left Lane: Vern Moats Runs 7.420/131.29, Now #6; Best prior run: 5.660/256.50, Was #6
Right Lane: Clint Thompson Runs 5.749/246.35, Now #14; Best prior run: 5.785/236.30, Was #16

Moats' car made a hard move toward the centerline at half track and he shut it off. Thompson improved enough to move away from A first-round match with #1 qualifier Bucky Austin - instead, he races Jay Payne.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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