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Sat, 1 Sep 2007, 07:12 PM

Pro Stock Qualifying Notes, Session #3
By Dan Bennett

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 3 qualifying in Pro Stock at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. 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: Bob Panella Runs 6.737/205.07, Now #20; Best prior run: 6.734/205.51, Was #20

6:33 p.m. This was supposed to be the good session, but unless it runs really long I think there's going to be some problems for those not qualified. The conditions are remarkably similar to earlier today and have not changed all that much though the track is cooling quickly.

Weather conditions: air temperature 83 degrees, relative humidity 33 percent, barometer 29.21 inches, adjusted altitude 2,646 feet, track temperature 107 degrees.

It's not going to happen for Panella, as it just didn't blast off the line.

Dave Northrop is on the bump spot at 6.720.

Left Lane: Warren Johnson Runs 6.706/205.98, Now #13; Best prior run: 6.719/206.45, Was #15
Right Lane: Tom Hammonds Runs 15.576/53.36, Now #33; Best prior run: 15.455/71.48, Was #33

Warren is barely in, and Tom is absolutely capable of getting in though perhaps not under these conditions.

Warren steps up, so there is some hope.

Hammonds hits the tires very hard and goes left. He has to be getting gunshy about dropping the hammer right about now and that is never good for a driver's concentration.

Left Lane: Ron Krisher Runs 6.729/204.98, Now #20; Best prior run: 12.589/67.05, Was #31
Right Lane: Justin Humphreys Runs 6.696/206.42, Now #11; Best prior run: 13.852/58.25, Was #32

Krisher gets a chance to flex all that Cagnazzi muscle on the lane of choice for Pro Stock cars. He may get in if they get it right.

Just to prove me wrong, it's the "bad" lane that gives up a good number.

Richie Stevens is on the bump spot at 6.710.

Left Lane: Pat Herold Runs 6.779/202.97, Now #28; Best prior run: 6.784/203.49, Was #29
Right Lane: Tony Rizzo Runs 6.798/202.39, Now #30; Best prior run: 6.884/202.06, Was #32

Herold looked very good on the front half of the track but doesn't have the top end to match.

Pat Herold's incremental times: 60ft-0.995 sec., 330ft-2.824, 660ft-4.352/161.42mph, 1,000ft-5.670

Left Lane: V. Gaines Runs 6.722/204.73, Now #15; Best prior run: 6.708/205.91, Was #15
Right Lane: Jim Cunningham Runs 6.864/199.73, Now #32; Best prior run: 6.828/200.44, Was #32

Cunningham's Mustang is simply a great looking racecar. No need for fancy graphics, the car looks plenty good with mostly solid paint letting the body lines shine.

Same story for V as for Pat Herold. I'm not sure what's happening to the cars after 400 feet or so. Gaines stays in the 15th spot and Stevens is still on the bump.

Left Lane: Bob Benza Runs 6.707/205.32, Now #15; Best prior run: 6.782/205.51, Was #29
Right Lane: Bill Windham Runs 6.716/205.66, Now #18; Best prior run: 6.822/203.98, Was #31

Before he pulls forward to stage, Windham's crew chief dives in the passenger door to make some final adjustments.

Benza looked really good, as he was opening a half a car gap on his competition with every gear change. He's in for now.

V. Gaines is on the bump spot at 6.708, and he's already run this session.

Left Lane: Jeg Coughlin Runs 6.703/205.66, Now #6; Best prior run: 6.675/206.01, Was #6
Right Lane: Larry Morgan Runs 6.673/206.39, Now #5; Best prior run: 6.669/206.35, Was #5

Coughlin was really lazy on the bottom, but Morgan sure wasn't. He lays down a really strong pass, though he stays put in the order.

Left Lane: Bill Glidden No Time, Now #28; Best prior run: 6.756/204.39, Was #28
Right Lane: Matt Hartford Runs 6.772/203.86, Now #29; Best prior run: 6.764/204.14, Was #29

Glidden shakes hard and shuts it off before it's time to shift.

Hartford goes down the track but doesn't gain any position.

Left Lane: Mike Edwards Runs 6.731/204.63, Now #13; Best prior run: 6.699/205.19, Was #13
Right Lane: Rickie Smith Runs 6.735/204.48, Now #23; Best prior run: 6.731/204.42, Was #23

Rickie's return to NHRA racing has not been all that rosy. He has a whole bunch of experience (and success) at this track so don't be surprised to see him become one of the few to step up. Problem is, he's got at least 7 spots to gain.

The cars are welded together but neither is quick enough to make a difference.

Left Lane: Kevin Lawrence Runs 6.728/204.14, Now #22; Best prior run: 6.749/202.30, Was #27
Right Lane: Matt Scranton Runs 15.801/51.80, Now #21; Best prior run: 6.727/204.98, Was #21

Lawrence makes one of the longest Pro Stock burnouts I can remember seeing. The engine was singing as he crossed the starting line and the smoke just kept rolling for a long way down the track.

Lawrence may be on to something as he has a really good front half but just misses the ET he needs. Scranton's car stands up and points off center so he lifts.

Left Lane: Ben Watson Runs 6.741/203.92, Now #27; Best prior run: 6.749/203.80, Was #27
Right Lane: Dave Northrop Runs 6.715/205.54, Now #18; Best prior run: 6.720/205.22, Was #19

Northrop loses a lot on the starting line but still cards a decent ET. He just misses.

Left Lane: Jason Line Runs 6.694/205.82, Now #11; Best prior run: 6.739/206.76, Was #26
Right Lane: Richie Stevens Runs 14.590/69.26, Now #18; Best prior run: 6.710/205.91, Was #17

It's hard to believe that neither of these cars are qualified yet. Want to bet that's going to change?

Gaines' 6.708 is the target for both these racers.

Stevens shakes hard and Line gets in, bumping Gaines.

Bob Benza is now on the bump spot at 6.707.

Left Lane: Craig Hankinson Runs 6.706/204.85, Now #10; Best prior run: 6.688/206.07, Was #10
Right Lane: Greg Stanfield Runs 6.699/206.01, Now #9; Best prior run: 6.684/206.04, Was #9

It's good to see the Stanfield team finally get untracked and run to their potential.

Both he and Hankinson are probably safe but there's some priceless track data to be gained.

Hankinson kills the 60 foot, but look at the numbers and you'll see that's not everything as Stanfield ends up outrunning him.

Craig Hankinson's incremental times: 60ft-0.986 sec., 330ft-2.793, 660ft-4.305/162.94mph, 1,000ft-5.608
Greg Stanfield's incremental times: 60ft-0.994 sec., 330ft-2.801, 660ft-4.307/163.47mph, 1,000ft-5.605

Left Lane: Jim Yates Runs 6.658/206.29, Now #2; Best prior run: 6.677/206.42, Was #7
Right Lane: Kurt Johnson Runs 6.680/207.27, Now #5; Best prior run: 6.663/206.76, Was #4

I think the Grump is smiling right now, at least inside.

Yates delivers a crushing run and goes to the #2 spot. Friends, check the other passes in this session and then tell me that Yates didn't put that one out of the park.

Jim Yates' incremental times: 60ft-0.983 sec., 330ft-2.777, 660ft-4.276/164.23mph, 1,000ft-5.568

Left Lane: Steve Schmidt Runs 6.705/205.19, Now #15; Best prior run: 6.721/205.04, Was #21
Right Lane: Allen Johnson Runs 6.679/206.35, Now #3; Best prior run: 6.661/206.57, Was #3

Schmidt does all his hometown fans proud and gets into the show.

Johnson quivered the tires on the launch but never went into heavy shake like Richie Stevens did.

Warren Johnson is now on the bump spot at 6.706.

Left Lane: Kenny Koretsky Runs 6.776/205.22, Now #8; Best prior run: 6.678/206.29, Was #8
Right Lane: Dave Connolly Runs 6.692/205.47, Now #4; Best prior run: 6.662/205.88, Was #4

Nobody moves up or down in the order.

Left Lane: Greg Anderson Runs 6.677/206.67, Now #8; Best prior run: 6.697/207.24, Was #13
Right Lane: Max Naylor Runs 6.699/205.44, Now #1; Best prior run: 6.655/206.39, Was #1

Here's where it gets interesting. Naylor has been the quickest Pro Stock on the property for two straight sessions.

Now he's head to head with the guy who's known for ripping hearts out.

The King blinks in the staredown! The cars leave together and stay side by side. Though he's a touch quicker than Naylor, he's not quick enough to take over the top spot.

Indy is known for Cinderella stories, and this one is shaping up nicely for the Max Naylor Jagermeister team.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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