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Sun, 4 Nov 2007, 02:48 PM

Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By David Gerard

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 43nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

  743 Morgan Lucas                         1301 Doug Foley                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.036  4.562 322.04                     0.078  4.572 325.92
 Qualified:             #9  4.541 330.47                        #8  4.540 330.72
Weather conditions: air temperature 77 degrees, relative humidity 29 percent, barometer 29.02 inches, adjusted altitude 2,435 feet, track temperature 95 degrees.

Foley is making his 20th NHRA TF start this weekend and this is the third time this year from the top half of the field. Lucas had his career best speed this weekend in qualifying and was the winner here in Top Alcohol Dragster in both 2002 and 2003.

OK! A great race to start today's eliminations. Lucas gets a nice advantage off the starting line and they stay locked together all the way to the finish line. Look at the differences going down the track: Morgan Lucas' incremental margins: 60ft(0.057), 330 ft(0.057), 660ft(0.056), 1,000ft(0.055). MOV: 0.0524 seconds (approximately 25 feet). Foley has a boomer in the lights and the injector hat is cocked over at a funny angle.

   91 Larry Dixon                            10 Hillary Will                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.062  4.522 323.81                     0.094  4.524 330.07
 Qualified:            #10  4.541 322.96                        #7  4.538 331.04
Will is making her seventh start from the 7th qualifying position and, like Lucas, ran her career best speed in qualifying. Dixon is currently second in the points in the Countdown to One and needs to win three more rounds than the leader Rod Fuller. Dixon was the runner up here in 1995, his rookie year, and has a 5 to 1 win advantage over Will.

...and the hits keep coming. Another terrific side by side race with Dixon out first and pacing Will to the finish line. She stay a car length back and runs another 330 plus MPH.

One round win towards the Championship for Dixon.

    9 Cory McClenathan                        3 Brandon Bernstein            
E1                   0.034 12.109  75.31     ****WINNER****  0.095  4.557 327.11
 Qualified:            #13  4.566 321.50                        #4  4.524 328.54
McClanathan won here in 1992 and 2002. Against the Bernstein family he has a career 15/37 win/loss record. Brandon Bernstein has a sixteen to two win advantage over Cory Mac, the most of any other racers. He is currently third in the run to the Championship.

McClanathan is up in smoke at the hit and Bernstein takes the vital round win that he needs with the third low four fifty of the session.

    2 Doug Kalitta                            8 J.R. Todd                    
E1                  -0.034 12.554  84.57     ****WINNER****  0.043  4.496 334.24
 Qualified:            #15  4.586 314.90                        #2  4.521 328.22
Kalitta has 332 round wins in his past, but none from the #15 qualifying position. Todd has a two to one win advantage over Kalitta coming into today's eliminations.

No Championship drama for these two, but an important round none the less.

WOW!Todd makes a major statement to the rest of the field with the first four second pass of the weekend and the seventh fastest pass in NHRA history. Katilla's terrible season ends with a red light, followed by tire smoke.

  530 Alan Bradshaw                           1 Tony Schumacher              
E1                   0.046 12.480  75.09     ****WINNER****  0.069  4.508 325.69
 Qualified:            #16  4.589 323.27                        #1  4.508 320.58
Schumacher comes into today's race in the #1 qualifying spot for the forty-seventh time, twelve of them this year. He has won the Championship three times in a row. No one has four wins. He will need another performance like last year and some bad luck for the other three leaders to take this year's Championship. Bradshaw is making his 18th start in TF and has a two to one advantage over Schumacher from the #16 position.

Bradshaw strikes the tires after a small advantage over Schumacher off the line. The Army dragster makes another strong pass, duplicating his qualifying ET with a better 325 MPH speed.

   11 Doug Herbert                           13 David Baca                   
E1   ****WINNER****  0.048  4.624 296.05                     0.106  4.574 327.19
 Qualified:            #14  4.574 314.83                        #3  4.523 329.18
Baca is making his seventy-seventh start in TF and has a six to five advantage over Herbert. In his 274th career start in TF, Herbert qualified in the 14th position for the twentieth time.

No smoke in the left lane this time! Herbert gets a big advantage off the line and stays out in front all the way down. Baca almost catches him, as the Snap-On Tools dragster puts a bunch of holes out near the 1000 foot light. A much better ET and MPH for Baca, but no win.

Doug Herbert's incremental margins: 60ft(0.047), 330 ft(0.042), 660ft(0.045), 1,000ft(0.037). MOV: 0.0083 seconds (approximately 4 feet).

    6 David Grubnic                           4 Melanie Troxel               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.077  4.542 326.00                     0.096  4.549 330.15
 Qualified:            #12  4.555 323.81                        #5  4.525 309.27
Troxel was the runner up here in 2005 and 2006. She starts today with a six to two win advantage over Grubnic. Aussie Dave is making his 197th start in TF and the twelfth time from the #12 position.

Troxel makes another strong pass in her last run in TF, but is no match for Grubnic. He takes a small advantage off the starting line and runs his best pass of the weekend to take the close win by about thirteen feet.

    5 Rod Fuller                             12 Bob Vandergriff              
E1                   0.059 10.998  78.01     ****WINNER****  0.049  4.540 331.28
 Qualified:            #11  4.549 324.83                        #6  4.532 333.08
Vandergriff has no win advantage over Fuller, they are 4/4 against each other, but he has a three to two advantage this year. Fuller is leading in this year's final race for the Championship and has to win the first round to stay in the hunt and make it extremely difficult for the other three to pass him in points. He comes into this round without any Oil Down credits, so a clean win or loss is vital.

Fuller is up in smoke at the hit and all of the Possible Combinations to win the Championship shift to the other three competitors. Vandergriff was going to be tough to beat anyway with a strong 4.540 ET and a better RT. Nice clean pass and he will have lane choice over Herbert in round two. In other pairing, Schumacher will have lane choice over Lucas; Grubnic over Bernstein; and Todd over Dixon.

11:30 a.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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