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Sat, 6 Oct 2001, 11:58 PM

Mile-Stones Fall at Maple Grove Raceway
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

As Dunn, Force, Osborne and Hines Qualify No. 1

MOHNTON, Pa. - Records continued to fall at Maple Grove Raceway as John Force earned the No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals running the quickest pass in NHRA history a 4.731 seconds at 325.14 mph.

Mike Dunn, Mark Osborne and Matt Hines led their respective divisions at the $1.9 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series event outside Reading, Pa.

John Force
Force posted his 106th career pole in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang while establishing career bests in time and speed in the process. "(Crew chief Austin) Coil said the right lane will be the lane that will run," said Force, just three wins short of winning his 100th NHRA national event. "We did what was called the Hail Mary. You just kind of push her to the max. You just don't throw anything, you push her to the edge of what you think she will do. If everything is right it does."

Dunn's Yankee dragster recorded 4.494 at 326.40 to lead the Top Fuel order that featured three dragsters in the 4.4 second range. Never before had an NHRA Top Fuel field highlighted multiple cars below 4.5 seconds.

"I was kind of surprised that our time was able to hold up," Dunn said. "Obvious Kenny (Bernstein) is capable because he has already run 4.447 this year. I am surprised we didn't end up second or third by not picking up better in our second attempt today."

Tony Schumacher's Army dragster captured the fastest pass in NHRA history, blistering the quarter-mile at 333.08 mph during Saturday's early session. "I feel so happy for (crew chief) Dan Olsen and the entire team," said Schumacher, the 1999 NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion. "We've been working so hard to get these types of numbers and we finally got there. Maybe this will turn things around for us."

Mark Osborne
Osborne earned his second top qualifying award of the season to lead the Pro Stock division with a national record run of 6.771 at 202.82 in his Team Mopar Dodge Neon R/T. Prior to Saturday's qualifying, no Pro Stock car had ventured into the 6.7 second range. At the conclusion of the day, seven different drivers recorded 6.799 or quicker.

"We figured that we would come here and there would be some 6.70's because we were so close to it in Chicago," Osborne said. "We figured one, two, maybe three. I didn't think you would see this many 70's posted here. It's pretty awesome." Hines' Eagle One Suzuki led the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with a track record pass of 7.127 at 188.73.

Final eliminations start Sunday at 11 a.m.

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