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Fri, 13 Oct 2006, 05:37 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Dan Bennett

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Right Lane: Steve Torrence Runs 4.656/287.41, Now #1

Torrence makes a really nice pass for his first try at NHRA Top Fuel competition. The car leaves hard and goes straight all the way down the track. Just at the finish line, there is a puff of death smoke from the engine.

We saw something come flying off the car which turned out to be a parachute. Regardless, Torrence gets the car stopped smoothly.

It's a very impressive debut.

Left Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 10.619/74.40, Now #3
Right Lane: Troy Buff Runs 4.647/291.89, Now #1

Lagana shakes the tires hard for the first few hundred feet.

Buff is on a good pass but shuts off early for a reason I didn't see. Check his half track time.

Troy Buff's incremental times: 60ft-0.854 sec., 330ft-2.188, 660ft-3.129/269.13mph, 1,000ft-3.925

Left Lane: Scott Weis Runs 4.683/311.56, Now #3
Right Lane: Clay Millican Runs 5.283/193.63, Now #4

Both cars tend to be a bit cautious, and it's still not enough. We can hear the engines go up and down in RPM as the drivers pat the throttle trying to get their cars to settle down.

It doesn't work much for Millican but not so bad for Weis.

Left Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 11.737/84.21, Now #7
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 5.117/244.38, Now #4

Vandergriff almost gets his tires to rotate once before they break into clouds of white smoke.

Herbert gets just past half track before he loses traction. He pedals once, then twice and makes it across the finish line.

Nothing real strange here. Trust me, these Top Fuel cars are going to go REAL fast before the weekend is over.

Left Lane: David Baca Runs 4.672/305.70, Now #3
Right Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 5.496/164.53, Now #7

5:01 p.m.

That was a pretty strange one. One of the cars' engine note got real staccato, like a machine gun. Some of us thought it was Cory pedalling, others thought it was a mechanical problem. I never saw any smoke from his tires but he may have been anticipating it like a good driver should. The engine gives up at least a head gasket at 1000 feet.

Baca makes a pretty pass to go high in the standing.

Left Lane: J.R. Todd Runs 4.558/318.47, Now #1
Right Lane: Hillary Will Runs 4.634/307.72, Now #2

The Kid shows he's for real to anybody that still has doubts. That was about as strong a pass as anyone expected to see for this track right now.

Hillary does a nice job on her own, but as has been happening lately, J.R. steals the spotlight. He's on top of the list right now.

J.R. Todd's incremental times: 60ft-0.851 sec., 330ft-2.167, 660ft-3.086/275.39mph, 1,000ft-3.866

Hillary Will's incremental times: 60ft-0.839 sec., 330ft-2.170, 660ft-3.117/267.64mph, 1,000ft-3.920

Left Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 4.601/311.70, Now #2
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.660/308.14, Now #6

Morgan takes a serpentine path to the finish line. It was real easy to see since he was trailing sparks, flashes of flames, and smoke pretty much all the way. The abused engine called it quits but didn't throw anything on track.

Dixon does a nice job of getting down the track with an apparently soft setup.

Left Lane: Rod Fuller Runs 4.543/317.79, Now #1
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.581/310.91, Now #3

That's more like it. Both cars left hard with just a bit of movement through the middle of the track. We get a good pair across the finish line though the speeds are down from what we can expect later this weekend.

Fuller continues to make the point that he needs to be taken very seriously.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.567/290.19, Now #3
Right Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 4.591/317.57, Now #5

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.512/313.37, Now #1
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.569/313.73, Now #5

Schumacher goes the top.

The #1 and #2 in points show why they hold their respective positions. Both runs were clean,straight,and smooth.

5:21 p.m. and we're finished with a great Pro session.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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