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Fri, 26 Sep 2003, 12:27 PM

Top Alcohol Funny Car Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Bob Orme

JOLIET, Ill. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Alcohol Funny Car 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: Don DeVault Runs 6.362/236.09, Now #2
Right Lane: Fred Hagen Runs 5.743/258.76, Now #1

10:40 AM Both cars were loose on the launch. DeVault moved toward the retaining wall at 300 feet, was able to put it back into the groove near half track. A good looking pass for Hagen as he runs a career best speed.

Left Lane: Wayne Butler Runs 6.282/230.13, Now #2
Right Lane: Larry Bakke Runs 6.741/164.05, Now #4

Bakke had the rear end bouncing on the hit, then the car moved to the left of the groove. He was very close to the centerline from about 700 through 1000 feet. Butler was moving around his lane a bit, but other wise had no visible problems.

Left Lane: David Kovar Runs 6.168/228.96, Now #3
Right Lane: Jeff Craig Runs 5.786/251.30, Now #2

Pretty much a typical Alcohol Funny Car pair, both drivers moving around their respective lanes.

Left Lane: Steve Addleman Runs 5.935/236.05, Now #4
Right Lane: Chuck Cheeseman Runs 5.654/252.76, Now #1

A decent looking pass for both drivers with Cheeseman tying his career best elapsed time.

Left Lane: Mick Snyder Runs 5.670/249.67, Now #2
Right Lane: Jay Payne Runs 5.679/251.34, Now #3

Another decent looking pair, Payne moving to the left of the groove on the top end. Snyder runs a career best elapsed time and speed.

Left Lane: Steve Gasparrelli No Time, Now #12
Right Lane: John Patton Runs 7.310/119.71, Now #11

Gasparrelli was out of shape shortly after the launch. He drove over the centerline, took out the 330-foot timing cone and came very close to hitting Patton. At first it looked as if Patton didn't see Gasparrelli beside him, it took a tick or two for him to lift.

Left Lane: Jim Sickles Runs 5.699/253.75, Now #4
Right Lane: Frank Manzo Runs 7.240/130.96, Now #12

Manzo was all over his lane, close to the centerline several times before he shut it off. Sickles had a trouble-free pass and he moves into the top half of the ladder for now.

Left Lane: Tate Branch Runs 5.699/249.86, Now #5
Right Lane: Doug Gordon Runs 5.736/251.58, Now #6

A good looking side-by-side drag race. Gordon was moving around a little in the middle section of the track, but other than that, no noticeable problems for either driver.

Left Lane: Vern Moats Runs 5.693/245.76, Now #5
Right Lane: Cy Chesterman Runs 5.614/256.99, Now #1

Chesterman moved toward the wall just before half track, but he stayed on the throttle and moved into the top spot for now.

Left Lane: Bucky Austin Runs 5.670/251.95, Now #3
Right Lane: Kirk Williams Runs 7.700/144.18, Now #19

Williams shook the tires on the hit, pedaled it a couple times before giving up on this one. Austin's pass looked like it would put him in the number one position, but he'll have to settle for the top half of the ladder for now.

Left Lane: Paul Lee Runs 5.965/250.18, Now #13
Right Lane: Bruce Carlson Runs 7.139/137.50, Now #18

Carlson shook on the launch and it didn't get any better for him, the car moving all over his lane. Lee made a relatively smooth pass.

Left Lane: Bob Newberry Runs 5.658/255.53, Now #3
Right Lane: Dale Brand Runs 9.377/92.19, Now #23

Brand had traction troubles early and he was off the throttle before half track. Newberry has a good looking pass to move into the number three position. Wayne Butler is on the bump spot going into round two.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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