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Sun, 11 Nov 2012, 14:43 PM

Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

POMONA, Calif. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals:

   12 Bob Vandergriff                       475 Steve Torrence               
E1   ****WINNER****  0.060  3.810 324.83                     0.062  6.268 101.55
 Qualified:             #9  3.797 324.28                        #8  3.795 323.89
11:00 a.m. Weather conditions: air temperature 63 degrees, relative humidity 29 percent, barometer 29.15 inches, adjusted altitude 1,460 feet, track temperature 85 degrees.

There are still three drivers in contention for the 2012 Top Fuel championship. They will have to go at least one rounds before the title is decided and it may go all the way to the final round. We will briefly spell out the scenarios for each when they come up for this first round.

Torrence is 5-2 against Vandergriff at prior events, 4-2 in round one.

Torrence was up in smoke immediately and Vandergriff made a full pass under power. That ,moves Vandergriff from ninth to eighth in the points, leapfrogging Torrence in the points standings.

    3 Antron Brown                            2 Spencer Massey               
E1                   0.044  7.393  51.68     ****WINNER****  0.040  3.915 323.97
 Qualified:            #10  3.797 322.58                        #7  3.791 325.69
This is a major matchup in the championship because two of the contenders are facing each other. If Brown wins, Massey is eliminated and Schumacher must win the event and set an ET record. If Massey wins, either he or Schumacher must win the event, or must runner-up and set an ET record, to take the championship. Brown is 10-9 against Massey at prior events and they are tied at 1-1 in round one matchups.

Massey had a small edge at the green, but Brown led after 60 feet. Then everything went wrong for Brown. His car shook, he pedaled it, and the engine let go with a bang and a lot of fire, his second fire in two days. Massey also shook at about the same time, but his car responded when he backpedaled.

The fire in Brown's car really flared up as he rolled toward the finish line and it appeared there was a major fuel leak, with a lot of fire in the cockpit and a lot of burning fuel on the track where the car stopped. The Safety Safari immediately started hosing Brown down when he jumped out of the car and he was transported to the on-site care center for treatment.

Now the championship focus shifts to Massey and Tony Schumacher, with Schumacher three points ahead of Massey.

Though the fuel spill was messy, there was no oil on the track and Brown won't lose any points.

Follow-up: The word from the medical center is that Brown got some heat on his legs, but his only injuries are some superficial burns on his hands and he will be released in a few minutes.

 7211 Mike Salinas                           34 Morgan Lucas                 
E1   ****WINNER****  0.106  3.861 304.74                     0.073  4.915 164.93
 Qualified:            #14  3.832 309.63                        #3  3.761 324.98
Salinas is making his second career start and he is Lucas' 47th different opponent. Salinas' only other start was at Pomona this year, where he also qualified 14th, losing to Tony Schumacher in round one.

Salinas got his first national event round win after Lucas took an early lead, then went up in smoke about 200 feet out. That was followed by an engine explosion that ended Lucas' run.

   21 Terry McMillen                          6 Brandon Bernstein            
E1                   0.079  8.674  84.15     ****WINNER****  0.048  3.776 323.97
 Qualified:            #15  3.861 316.23                        #2  3.751 328.14
Bernstein is 7-1 against McMillen in prior events, 6-1 in round one.

McMillen was up in smoke immediately, Bernstein went right down the groove on a nice run and he will have lane choice against Massey in round two.

    9 Shawn Langdon                         796 Cory McClenathan             
E1                   0.043  4.668 220.19     ****WINNER****  0.068  4.332 284.69
 Qualified:             #1  3.730 327.82                       #16  3.864 302.01
Cory Mac holds a 10-3 record against Langdon, 4-0 in round one, but he qualified 16th, Langdon was #1.

Both cars lost traction after about 100 feet and both drivers pedaled several times. Cory Mac's experience may have made the difference, he was able to find some traction and Langdon was not.

Cory McClenathan's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(-0.038), 330 ft(-0.135), 660ft(0.051). MOV: 0.3119 seconds (more than 100 feet).

McClenathan will face Vandergriff in round two, Vandergriff has lane choice.

  373 J.R. Todd                               5 Tony Schumacher              
E1                   0.044  3.799 323.27     ****WINNER****  0.055  3.766 324.59
 Qualified:            #13  3.808 321.19                        #4  3.775 325.69
Schumacher is 9-6 against Todd, 2-1 in round one. All of Schumacher's championship scenarios require him to win the event, even with Antron Brown losing in round one, or be the event runner-up and set an ET record.

What a race! Todd was off first, but it was dead-even at 60 feet and Schumacher led the rest of the way.

Tony Schumacher's incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft(0.000), 330 ft(0.028), 660ft(0.020). MOV: 0.0228 seconds (approximately 11 feet).

   22 Doug Kalitta                           99 Khalid alBalooshi            
E1                   0.048  6.679 113.38     ****WINNER****  0.105  3.776 327.51
 Qualified:            #12  3.805 326.08                        #5  3.781 324.20
This is the second time alBalooshi and Kalitta have faced each other. The first was in round one at Bristol, which Kalitta won.

Kalitta was up in smoke after about 100 feet. alBalooshi made a very quick run, but the car kept drifting to the right and was very close to the wall when he lifted at the stripe. He faces Schumacher next round, Schumacher has lane choice.

  255 Clay Millican                          44 David Grubnic                
E1   ****WINNER****  0.079  4.421 270.92                     0.073  7.199  90.22
 Qualified:            #11  3.804 320.66                        #6  3.787 322.27
Grubnic and Millican are 7-7 in prior races, Grubnic with a 5-3 edge in prior round one matchups.

Millican appeared to be an easy winner when Grubnic lost traction about 100 feet out, then Millican also lost traction and it turned into a pedaling contest, Millican was able to find enough traction to get to the stripe under power, Grubnic did not. Millican got the win light, but also had his third oildown of the event. He will not have lane choice against Salinas in round two.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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