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Fri, 31 Aug 2012, 14:30 PM

Top Alcohol Dragster Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Larry Sullivan

BROWNSBURG, Ind. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Alcohol Dragster at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Left Lane: Aaron Olivarez Runs 5.563/262.90, Now #2
Right Lane: Brandon Booher Runs 5.424/261.47, Now #1

1:41 p.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 83 degrees, relative humidity 66 percent, barometer 29.22 inches, adjusted altitude 3,338 feet, track temperature 95 degrees.

Despite the barometer and the humidity, the just-completed TAFC session showed that the track is excellent and conditions will still support very quick runs.

We open with two full passes, Olivarez and Booher making their first runs of the season.

Left Lane: Brandon Greco Runs 5.572/252.80, Now #3
Right Lane: William Litton Runs 14.212/58.50, Now #4

Litton "boiled the hides" and stayed in the throttle for a couple seconds, but Greco made his quickest run of the season.

Left Lane: Mike Burns Runs 6.815/113.59, Now #5
Right Lane: Michael Manners Runs 5.794/249.72, Now #4

Manners' car labored with at least one dead cylinder and Burns' chute deployed at half track.

Left Lane: Brian Mans Runs 5.603/254.57, Now #4
Right Lane: Noah Condo Runs 9.037/96.61, Now #7

Full pass for Mans, but Condo slowed after about 100 feet.

Left Lane: Buddy Domingue Runs 5.640/251.63, Now #5
Right Lane: Dave Hirata Runs 6.056/230.69, Now #7

Hirata's car trailed a lot of raw fuel all the way down the track. Domingue lost a lot of time early in the run.

Left Lane: Dave Heitzman Runs 5.476/258.62, Now #2
Right Lane: Paul Fishburn Runs 5.564/258.57, Now #4

Heitzman's car was trailing some "stuff" at 1,000 feet, but that didn't appear to slow the car on an otherwise good-looking run. Fishburn was the quicker of the two early in the run, but fell behind by half track.

Left Lane: Garrett Bateman Runs 5.679/210.73, Now #9
Right Lane: Jerry Powell Runs 5.618/261.07, Now #7

Powell's car had a lot of tire spin on the launch (1.005 60-foot time), then picked up the page a bit. Bateman didn't have any obvious problems, but that's well off the pace he usually runs.

Left Lane: Marty Thacker Runs 5.481/259.71, Now #3
Right Lane: Sidnei Frigo Runs 17.653/39.21, Now #16

Frigo went about 10 feet, then lost traction. Two-time Indy champion Thacker made a nice run to tune from, with his best speed so far this year.

Left Lane: Robin Samsel Runs 5.547/257.83, Now #4
Right Lane: Megan McKernan Runs 5.696/257.38, Now #12

Looks like everybody is playing it safe for this session. No visible problems for either car, both are a couple tenths off their usual pace.

Left Lane: Jared Dreher Runs 5.393/256.94, Now #1
Right Lane: Dan Page Runs 5.415/263.10, Now #2

Dreher was the #1 qualifier at Brainerd, then a DNQ at the Bowling Green divisional race.

Looks like he does his best at national events...and Page was right behind him to take over the #2 spot.

Left Lane: Chase Copeland Runs 5.612/256.11, Now #12
Right Lane: Ken Perry Runs 5.469/256.31, Now #4

Copeland left a lot of ET back near the starting line, but Perry made a clean, straight run to move into fourth.

Left Lane: Duane Shields Runs 9.000/144.09, Now #21
Right Lane: Randy Meyer Runs 5.503/257.87, Now #7

Shields' car sports his new "Peak Motor Oil" sponsorship colors and logo, but the excitement came further back on the car. A parachute popped out as he sat in the staging lanes and the crew thrashed to get it repacked so he could run. Meyer patiently waited for them to finish before firing his engine.

Shields didn't need the chutes, losing traction immediately. Meyer made a relatively clean, easy run to get into the top half of the field.

Left Lane: Rich McPhillips Runs 5.539/257.97, Now #9
Right Lane: Bill Reichert Runs 5.403/262.79, Now #2

Last pair. Reichert made a strong run to slip into the lineup right behind Dreher, but McPhillips lost a lot of time early in the run and ended up in the bottom half of the field.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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