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Sat, 6 Oct 2001, 07:16 PM

READING - Federal-Mogul Dragster Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

MOHNTON, Pa. - Results of round 1 eliminations in Federal-Mogul Dragster at the 17th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals presented by Greased Lightning:

   9 Steve Cantrell      5.578 249.35  Q    8 Rich McPhillips     5.542 255.24
 *****WINNER***** 0.502  5.539 250.69  E1                  0.495 No Time
2:17 PM McPhillips has had a rough second-half of the season this year and this run didn't help him out of his slump. Fortunately Cantrell made a clean run because McPhillips' car shook hard, then veered left, crossing the centerline beyond the 330-foot marker and continuing left, bouncing hard off the left-hand wall and then proceeding down the left lane. It appeared that McPhillips had plenty of time to avoid the wall, so it's not clear why the car hit the wall.

  14 Bruce Horner        5.814 241.54  Q    3 Cliff Bozzelli      5.473 256.31
                  0.502  5.826 240.51  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.429  5.415 262.23
Horner's car shook very hard, the wing struts visibly vibrating, and by the time he pedaled and continued Bozzelli was long gone on a clean, smooth run after slight shake on the launch.

  15 Shawn Bowen         5.872 231.12  Q    2 Rick Santos         5.414 258.37
                  0.490 10.081  84.57  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.460  5.377 262.79
Bowen had big-time shake and shut it down quickly. Santos ran down the groove with his best lap of the event, with no visible shake.

   4 Mark Hentges        5.491 257.58  Q   17 John Headley        6.166 184.67
 *****WINNER***** 0.503  5.423 262.54  E1                  0.528  5.929 233.44
Headley was in as first alternate, for Dana Stripe. Hentges chose the less-favored lane and paid for it with heavy shake on the launch, but he drove through it and still easily handled Headley. Both drivers improved several hundredths over their qualifying pace, but a half-second is an eternity in drag racing.

  12 Billy Gibson        5.809 235.27  Q    5 Michael Gunderson   5.507 261.22
 *****WINNER***** 0.456  5.496 255.92  E1                  0.492  5.604 264.13
So far the left lane has been the "shaky" lane, only Hentges choosing that side of the track. However, in this pair the heavy shake came in the right lane and Gunderson had to backpedal to get out of it. Meanwhile, Gibson appears to have found the problems that plagued him in qualifying and made a very nice run in the "bad lane." However, he loses lane choice to Hentges in round two.

  11 Karen Benkovich     5.796 237.75  Q    6 Bill Reichert       5.529 256.21
                  0.525  6.050 174.55  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.537  5.517 262.13
Benkovich led to 330 feet, but her engine faltered and Reichert pulled slightly ahead at half track, then Reichert ran away when she slowed, trailing lots of raw fuel from the pipes. Reichert advances, but loses lane choice to Bozzelli.

  10 Bruce Insinger      5.581 250.60  Q    7 Tim Slagle          5.532 252.47
                  0.531  5.723 209.07  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.479  5.572 244.07
Slagle nailed Insinger to the tree and was already pulling away when Insinger's engine let go with a big BOOM and a big fireball just past half track. There's oil, about six feet wide, starting just before the 1,000-foot marker and continuing through the shutdown area, so we'll be down for a few minutes while the Safety Safari does their thing. Slagle faces Santos next round, Santos with lane choice.

  16 Ken Winward         5.982 223.80  Q    1 Arthur Gallant      5.338 253.95
                  0.525  5.956 193.29  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.578  5.422 264.44
Twenty three minutes later, the final pair pulls to the line. Winward got a big holeshot, but Gallant ran him down before half track and then Winward's supercharger let go with a loud BOOM, leaving a thin trail of oil and parts from 1,000 feet on. This one should be a short cleanup before the Federal-Mogul floppers run. Gallant won handily and has lane choice over Cantrell in round two.

Timing data courtesy of CompuLink

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