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Sat, 1 Sep 2001, 02:07 PM

INDY - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #2
By Michael L. Jex

Got A Guitar?

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 2 qualifying in Top Fuel at the 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time/top speed this round, position in order following run, best prior elapsed time/speed, and position in order prior to run:

Left Lane: Chris Karamesines Runs 9.429/84.99, Now #20; Best prior run: 11.124/77.23, Was #21
Right Lane: Scott Weis Runs 6.857/128.91, Now #19; Best prior run: 7.499/108.94, Was #19

2:23 PM The current conditions here at IRP - sunny skies, temps in the low 80's. It's warm, but all the teams have had very positive comments about the new and very smooth track surface.

The track is smooth, but the Greek's tires wadded up "square". A lot of tire shake for Karamesines, he pedaled to smooth things down, but the tires blew off in a cloud of tire smoke the second he got back on the throttle. Weis had similar problems in the other lane, he lifted just a second after Chris.

Left Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 10.845/84.00, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.921/231.91, Was #16
Right Lane: Don Garlits No Time, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.322/190.46, Was #18

Garlits won't get into the show and won't go three hundred this time - he did the burnout, slowed, but never stopped and went on down past the finish line. Word comes back from the top end that the rpm on the motor was too high.

Smith went about the same distance as Karamesines - and had the same billowing cloud of tire smoke.

Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 11.637/69.40, Now #17; Best prior run: 4.999/223.32, Was #17

There is a large crowd of crew chiefs up watching this run - Alan Johnson, Dick LaHaie are just a couple, all wanting to find the track's sweet spot for this session.

Nope! Grubnic repeats the others before him - a short burst (.858 60-foot), followed by a big cloud of tire smoke.

Lot's of timers getting changed in the staging lanes we think....

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 7.075/114.26, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.855/217.98, Was #13
Right Lane: Joe Hartley Runs 5.677/160.50, Now #15; Best prior run: 4.918/295.66, Was #15

Scelzi's run yesterday was a planned halftrack squirt for the new Brad Hadman built dragster. The big silver machine went .871 to the sixty-foot mark, and looked like it was going to be a good pass, but the Goodyear slicks lost traction at the 330-foot mark. Hartley's short time was .859, but he blazed the tires at about 100 feet past the point Scelzi did.

The clutch timer changes continue in the pit area...

Left Lane: Bruce Litton Runs 11.067/81.37, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.746/310.27, Was #12
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 12.599/85.63, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.701/265.48, Was #11

Well, this is getting interesting. Litton and Herbert's teams may have turned the timers the wrong way - both hit the loud pedal and got instant clouds of blue smoke.

Left Lane: Paul Romine Runs 7.765/97.29, Now #10; Best prior run: 4.688/320.28, Was #10
Right Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 9.178/78.74, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.606/319.82, Was #7

The new track may be reacting to the tempeture - Romine and Cowin went out to the 330-foot area before the tire smoke blues claimed them as well. Romine left a memento on the track, his blower belt is clearly visible just before half-track. Romine's 60-foot was .868, Cowin's a .866.

Darrell Russell's team is making more changes to their car in the waterbox. Romine must had left something other than the belt - the safety safari is out checking on things in the left lane. 2:43 PM

Left Lane: Darrell Russell Runs 5.725/157.52, Now #9; Best prior run: 4.648/315.71, Was #9
Right Lane: Tim Gibson Runs 7.031/113.98, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.597/316.75, Was #5

Think of your favorite blues song - Russell and Gibson are singing the "tire smoke blues".... Russell looked good till just past the 330-mark before things went sour.

Left Lane: Shirley Muldowney Runs 10.101/85.28, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.647/319.98, Was #8
Right Lane: Mike Dunn Runs 11.788/76.92, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.593/325.69, Was #4

Anyone got a guitar? The tire smoke blues continue. Shirley hiked the front tires up in the air at the hit, then boiled the hides anyway. Short times continue to change, Shirley's was .875, Dunn's a more conservative .889, but he sang the same song as Shirley.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 10.025/82.28, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.605/318.77, Was #6
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 5.711/154.58, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.585/316.97, Was #3

Just four cars remain, and no one has made it past half-track under power. Will anyone make it down the track this round?

Dick LaHaie's tuneup was better than any we've seen so far this round, Dixon made it just past half-track before the wisps of smoke became a cloud. Schumacher didn't fare nearly as well.

With all the testing done in the sun this past week here at IRP, this is a bit of a surprise. Just one more pair has a chance to make a the first full pass of the session.

Left Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 5.569/163.99, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.540/323.58, Was #1
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.716/304.12, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.580/309.91, Was #2

The wizard is: Connie Kalitta and driver Doug!! Doug's numbers were quite similar at the start to the others, a .860 60-foot. At half track it was totally different, 3.179 at 261.22mph, and 304 mph at the finish line. Nice pass for Doug, the only full powered run of the session.

Bernstein lost traction at the 660-foot mark.

So with another session slated for later today, Kenny Bernstein remains on top, followed by Kalitta. The teams will be busy between rounds making more changes hoping to avoid more tire smoke blues. 2:59 PM

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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