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Fri, 13 Oct 2006, 09:29 PM

Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #2
By Dan Bennett

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Notes from round 2 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 this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:
Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.569/321.73, Now #5; Best prior run: 5.496/164.53, Was #17

7:48 p.m.

The conditions are deteriorating quickly as things are cooling off fast. With any kind of luck we can get this session in before the track temperature falls out the bottom.

Cory gets a single and needs to get a solid pass here to get qualified.

Even with some sparklers out the left side of the exhaust, Cory gets what he needs and makes a smooth, strong pass right down the middle of the lane.

Left Lane: Clay Millican Runs 4.721/297.02, Now #16; Best prior run: 5.283/193.63, Was #17
Right Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 9.463/98.31, Now #18; Best prior run: 11.737/84.21, Was #19

These are two guys who are on the outside and would really like to get in.

Though the weather is getting cooler and cooler, the pair makes a normal burnout with no attempt to go harder or farther in order to add rubber or heat to the track.

Millican makes a decent pass though there was some flicker to the header flames before the left side turned green. He squeaks in on the bump position.

Vandergriff shakes hard and goes into smoke before he gets 200 feet. You really gotta feel for these guys who have been knocking themselves out to get the car running better and more consistently.

The bump is now a 4.721.

Left Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.752/264.70, Now #17; Best prior run: 5.117/244.38, Was #17
Right Lane: Bobby Lagana Jr. Runs 12.581/67.14, Now #19; Best prior run: 10.619/74.40, Was #19

Herbert is really close, sitting in the first non-qualified position. Lagana isn't far behind in 19th.

Herbert gets to half track before the right side header flames go puny. They turn into heavy white smoke by the finish line and he steps up but not with a time he was looking for.

Lagana only gets 400 feet or so before his run becomes pointless.

Herbert's sour engine has caused the Safari to roll and they're focusing on the track at about 900 feet. We're down for a bit of cleanup at 7:53 p.m.

8:19 p.m. What we thought was going to be ahort cleanup has turned into a major effort. We hear that both lanes were affected by Dougzilla's oil. We've got scrubbers, vacuums, blowers, rubber layers, and a jet drier on the job.

Herbert had a freebie coming, but shoulda got extra points for this one. I'm expecting Greenpeace to show up any minute now.

Left Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.557/314.75, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.660/308.14, Was #13
Right Lane: Scott Weis Runs 10.252/75.70, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.683/311.56, Was #15

8:41 p.m. and the engines finally fire. While the top of the track was getting cleaned, the dryer was making laps the entire length of each lane because baby, it's getting cold out there.

This is where the crew chiefs earn their big bucks. They had a setup almost an hour ago, but at this point are reduced to using educated guesses.

Weis gets about 300 feet before he clicks it, but Dixon's eyes are on the finish line. That pass isn't too shabby considering it came in the main oildown lane.

Left Lane: Steve Torrence Runs 5.152/316.82, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.656/287.41, Was #13
Right Lane: David Baca Runs 11.076/79.84, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.672/305.70, Was #14

It's nice to hear the next pair fire with no delay. We've already put up with a super long Pro Stock session and a re-enactment of the Exxon Valdex disaster.

And Torrence continues to impress. Both cars struck the tires almost as one but Torrence expertly slapped the throttle and got his car to hook up while Baca was content to coast.

That's some pretty fair mph in the left lane considering that Torrence was off the pedal for a period of time.

Left Lane: Troy Buff Runs 11.147/74.37, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.647/291.89, Was #12
Right Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 11.846/60.47, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.601/311.70, Was #10

Lots of raw fuel pouring from Lucas's engine headers as he moves forward to stage.

Both cars had good 60 foot times but the tires went into the twilight zone and both shut off.

I suspect a few more problems with the Lucas car since the bright sparks seen below the car usually signify a serious clutch malfunction. We're not referring to a timer coming in too soon or too late, but rather pieces in the bellhousing deciding to change places.

I'm beginning to wonder if there is enough track left for a decent run.

Left Lane: Hillary Will Runs 4.723/284.21, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.634/307.72, Was #11
Right Lane: J.R. Todd Runs 4.534/313.88, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.558/318.47, Was #4

Amazingly enough, the two rookies end up paired against each other again.

Both are capable of big horsepower if it can be applied to the ground.

Both cars left pretty much together but Todd makes a very strong surge approaching halftrack and was running 276 mph at the 660 mark.

J.R. Todd's incremental times: 60ft-0.833 sec., 330ft-2.147, 660ft-3.059/276.29mph, 1,000ft-3.837

Hillary Will's incremental times: 60ft-0.849 sec., 330ft-2.193, 660ft-3.158/259.91mph, 1,000ft-3.981

The other drivers in the class have to be having nightmares about the new kid in town as he sprints all the way up to the #2 position.

Left Lane: Brandon Bernstein Runs 4.552/311.34, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.591/317.57, Was #9

Bernstein gets a single pass and makes the most of it. That was a very pretty run, just the way it's supposed to look.

Left Lane: David Grubnic Runs 9.162/82.89, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.581/310.91, Was #9
Right Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 11.470/73.58, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.512/313.37, Was #1

Melanie and Hot Rod Fuller have previously pulled out, choosing not to run in this session so we have some slightly different pairings than we expected.

Nothing to talk about here. Both cars were in trouble early. Grubnic pedaled once but Schumacher didn't see the need. He was probably right as the StriVectin car never settled down and just coasted to the finish line.

He have a single left, and that's for the best because I think Mother Nature has won at this point.

Left Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.549/309.56, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.569/313.73, Was #8

Lots of horsepower. Will the track take it?

Hey, not bad for a finale. The header flames were strong and high as the car streaked right down the track. Kalitta moves up to 4th and that's a wrap for today.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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