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Fri, 26 Sep 2003, 01:17 PM

Top Alcohol Dragster Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Jonathan Adams

JOLIET, Ill. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Alcohol Dragster at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Third annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Left Lane: Evan Knoll Runs 6.592/238.85, Now #2
Right Lane: Denny Hummel Runs 5.778/239.87, Now #1

11:20 a.m. It's cool and overcast here in Joliet. Hummel made a decent pass, but that number probably won't get him in the show. Knoll just idled off the line, then stabbed it about 15 feet out and legged it on through. Not the prettiest run we've ever seen.

Left Lane: Dave Hedges Jr. Runs 6.143/220.44, Now #2
Right Lane: Gary Ward Runs 7.822/111.93, Now #4

Ward's car lost fire just before he rolled into the burnout box. Hedges did his burnout, backed up, and Ward's crew managed to get the car fired. He did a short burnout, and then clicked it early. So did Hedges.

Left Lane: Russ Lindert Runs 10.562/72.42, Now #6
Right Lane: Phil Mass Runs 5.610/255.53, Now #1

Lindert looked like a Top Fuel car, as he was hazing the tires to about 330, before shutting it off. Mass makes a good run, no problems visible.

Left Lane: Mike Cofini Runs 5.425/259.51, Now #1
Right Lane: Fran Monaghan Jr Runs 5.495/255.97, Now #2

Geographically speaking, these two are complete opposites. One thing they have in common is that they are are representing their divisions in the Jeg's Allstars this weekend, Cofini for Division 6, and Monaghan for Division 1.

Cofini makes his quickest run ever. Nice pass for Monaghan, too, as he is just three hundredths off his quickest run.

Left Lane: Douglas Foley Runs 5.516/258.47, Now #3
Right Lane: Chris Ricketts Runs 14.119/78.58, Now #10

Ricketts is our first injected-nitro machine of the weekend. He goes up in smoke at the hit, and, Foley streaks away, recording his career best mph.

Left Lane: Shelly Howard Runs 6.029/169.25, Now #7
Right Lane: Keith Stark Runs 5.266/268.22, Now #1

Good match-up here, as it's B/AD vs. A/FD once more. Howard was runner-up at Indy a couple of weeks ago.

Howard was on a nice run until the car wiggled a bit and she clicked it past half track. Stark, meanwhile, lays down his career best e.t. on a near-perfect run.

Left Lane: Michael Gunderson Runs 5.484/277.89, Now #3
Right Lane: Jeff Wilson Runs 5.945/231.83, Now #8

This Top Alcohol Dragster field is loaded with hitters, and here come two more. Gunderson with the huge mph, after a very soft 1.030 60-foot time. He picked up 56 mph over the last half of the track.

Left Lane: David Wells Runs 6.558/137.95, Now #12
Right Lane: Bill Reichert Runs 5.257/276.52, Now #1

And the hits just keep on coming. Reichert in the nitro machine takes on Wells in the traditional blown entry.

Wells was on a nice run, five hundredths ahead of Reichert at 330. It went bad for him after that, however, as we saw flames and then smoke and then he shut it off. Reichert, meanwhile, with a booming run to take over the top spot. Reichert's speed at the 1/8 mile was 229.55.

Left Lane: Mitch Myers Runs 5.470/252.85, Now #4
Right Lane: Ken Perry Runs 6.412/145.86, Now #13

It's Canada vs. the USA here, as Perry (Gormley, Ontario) takes on Myers (Hermiston, Oregon). Nice run for Myers, just a bit out of the groove at the top end. Perry had the chutes out early.

Left Lane: Timothy Bowgren Runs 9.758/102.59, Now #18
Right Lane: Robin Samsel Runs 5.479/246.89, Now #5

Bowgren with the wheels-up launch, but when it came down, the car hung a right and went toward the centerline. He wisely shut it off. Samsel, meanwhile, misses a career-best e.t. by a thousandth.

Left Lane: Todd Datweiler Runs 5.387/258.62, Now #4
Right Lane: Morgan Lucas Runs 5.311/270.81, Now #3

This one should be good. These two qualified 1-2 at Indy, and Lucas is the Division 7 Allstar.

Good side-by-side race here. Lucas with the big speed. The top four qualifiers so far are A/FD's.

Left Lane: Brian Weber Runs 9.569/114.18, Now #21
Right Lane: Jeff Bohr Runs 6.733/141.58, Now #19

Big-time shake for both cars. Weber smoked the tires, too, and shut it off very early. Bohr drove through the shake, but then the car started moving around and he was forced to throw in the towel.

Left Lane: Jared Dreher Runs 5.612/248.84, Now #12
Right Lane: Marty Thacker Runs 8.348/131.04, Now #22

So far, Cofini has the best e.t. by a blown car. That may change here as Thacker drives one of the best blown dragsters in the country.

Great launch by Thacker, wheels way up. It went up too far, though, as he suffered big-time tire shake when it got up on the wheelie bar and unloaded the rear tires. He was 1.074 at 60 foot because the front wheels were in the air well past that point.

Dreher, meanwhile, turns in a career best e.t. Nice run for that team.

Left Lane: Tony Bartone Runs 5.255/275.51, Now #1
Right Lane: Dave Hirata Runs 5.844/247.93, Now #15

As Duane Shields looks on intently, Bartone and Hirata get set to duel in their injected-nitro dragsters. Bartone with the best run of the round so far. Hirata's 5.84 looked a lot worse than that, but he gets in the show for now.

Left Lane: John Haley Runs 5.463/243.94, Now #8
Right Lane: Alan Bradshaw Runs 5.432/259.01, Now #7

Last pair of the round. The points leader, Bradshaw, takes on last year's Indy winner, Haley in an A/FD vs. B/AD match-up. The bump is 5.945.

Bradshaw dropped a cylinder at the hit, and still ran a 5.43. Nice run for Haley, but he might have clicked it early. Hummel ends the session on the bump at 5.778. The quickest field ever is 5.464 at this event last year.

12:10 p.m.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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