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Sun, 7 Sep 2003, 03:09 PM

Top Fuel Round 2 Eliminations
By Keith Burgan

CLERMONT, Ind. - Results of round 2 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, 49th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals:

  319 Scott Kalitta                           9 Rhonda Hartman-Smith
E2   ****WINNER****  0.102  4.564 327.59                           No Time
 Prior rounds:
E1    (C Millican  ) 0.075  4.575 322.88      (C McClenatha) 0.084  4.612 310.34
 Qualified:             #2  4.502 326.56                       #10  4.599 311.13
In his return to the NHRA tour Scott Kalitta is the definite favorite here based on his prior efforts this weekend. Rhonda had problems after the burnout and can not get the car in reverse. The crew run to the car but there is nothing that they can do and a dejected Rhonda climbs out and over the wall. Kalitta clinches the deal with anther stout and clean pass to move into the semi.

  797 David Baca                              6 Darrell Russell
E2                   0.076  5.462 175.25     ****WINNER****  0.086  4.579 319.82
 Prior rounds:
E1    (M King      ) 0.120  4.567 318.02      (P Romine    ) 0.058  4.623 317.12
 Qualified:             #1  4.499 324.51                        #9  4.568 320.36
Baca was a little off his qualifying pace in round one but that may have just been crew chief Johnny West playing it safe. More trouble in the right lane as the crew have to push Russell back to the line, making it in plenty of time. This is why they don't race these things on paper. Russell keeps his cool, leaves just a tad behind Baca and drives around him as the Hunter's Hope car puffs the tires at half track.

    1 Larry Dixon                             2 Kenny Bernstein
E2                   0.053  5.885 211.10     ****WINNER****  0.089  5.477 239.10
 Prior rounds:
E1    (D Grubnic   ) 0.079  4.566 324.51      (S Weis      ) 0.166  4.594 321.81
 Qualified:             #5  4.530 326.08                        #4  4.518 325.45
"Beer Wars" part XXX here at the world's biggest drag race. This one was wild. Dixon lit the tires up early, slowing just past the 60' clocks, but then the big red car followed suit before Bernstein got to the 330 timers. As Dixon attempted to run Bernstein down both cars were alternately smoking and making some progress but the motor in the Miller car expired in a gout of flame and Bernstein took the victory. The trucks are out in Dixon's lane from just short of the 100' timers as one of LaHaie's motors leaves stuff on the track for the first time in who knows how many races.

    3 Tony Schumacher                         4 Doug Kalitta
E2   ****WINNER****  0.064  4.526 326.40                     0.054  4.552 328.86
 Prior rounds:
E1    (J Smith     ) 0.064  4.519 327.59      (J Head      ) 0.090  4.541 321.04
 Qualified:             #6  4.534 322.50                        #3  4.511 317.94
Scott Kalitta is one the line for this one to check his cousin's efforts and also, co-incidentally to see who gets lane choice in the semi. Kalitta was first out of the gate but defending event champ Schumacher was quicker at every incremental and took the win by a scant 8 feet. Kalitta will probably not be content with his top speed of the event 328.86 as once again he will not have a chance to make the final round here. The Sarge will pick his lane over Scott K and Russell has his choice against Bernstein when they come back for the semi.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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