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Sat, 30 Oct 1999, 06:19 PM

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

BAYTOWN, Texas - Results of round 1 eliminations in Federal-Mogul Dragster at the 3rd annual Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions:
   4 Bill Reichert       5.554 253.80  Q   13 Darrell Russell     5.674 250.97
 *****WINNER***** 0.469  5.603 234.13  E1                  0.461  5.998 189.44
4:20 PM It's cloudy and breezy, a wind shear passing through the starting line area just a few moments ago, sending the track crew scurrying to collect flying debris and secure the inflatable advertising displays. We've got cloud layers blowing in three different directions overhead and earlier a horizontal vortex cloud went by very low over the tower, looking like a slow-motion, horizontal tornado cloud. The temperature is dropping rapidly, 10-12 degrees in the past hour.

So much for the weather. This was a close drag race most of the way, but Bill Reichert won't be back for round two. As his car went by the half-track timing markers it began to fishtail. Reichert tried to correct with the steering, but ended up chasing it, the car swerving further and further with each swing until after the finish line, where it swung way out to the right, then sharply back into the left wall. The car lost its wing and rolled on its side, sliding across the strip and then along the right-hand wall. Reichert was not injured, but the chassis is bent in several planes. Russell was right with Reichert most of the way, but appeared to back off when he saw Reichert's car begin its wild gyrations.
   2 Rick Santos         5.427 257.43  Q   15 Gene Snow           5.801 225.79
 *****WINNER***** 0.508  5.728 223.02  E1                  0.443 23.531  31.45
Because of the delays for the accident, the scheduled Comp eliminations round has been postponed until after the Pro session.

Santos left with the wheels in the air and carried them almost to the 330-foot marker. When they came down, the rear tires unloaded briefly and Santos pedaled it to regain traction. The car ran straight to the finish line area, then began to move around a lot. Meanwhile, Snow was coasting, losing traction immediately, almost like a blown fuel car.
   3 David Wells         5.531 255.58  Q   17 Rob Wendland        5.827 252.10
 *****WINNER***** 0.503  5.546 250.92  E1                  0.468  5.690 249.21
Wendland was in as first alternate for Denny Hummel and he made a good race of it, stepping way up from is qualifying runs to make the margin of victory = 0.109 seconds (approximately 40 feet).
   5 Mark Hentges        5.560 253.95  Q   12 Troy Buff           5.666 247.88
 *****WINNER***** 0.444  5.645 249.81  E1                  0.555  5.697 247.75
Hentges deep-staged, but still had a big holeshot and was never headed. He loses lane choice to Reichert, which means he actually gets a competition bye since Reichert will not be able to return.
   6 Darryl Hitchman     5.568 252.71  Q   11 Jay Meyer           5.648 252.66
                  0.686  5.566 244.25  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.492  5.682 246.80
Hitchman was very late at the green and Meyer won this one on a huge holeshot, the margin of victory = 0.078 seconds (approximately 28 feet). He will face Wells in round two, Wells with lane choice.
   8 Calvin Friesen      5.597 232.79  Q    9 Shelly Howard       5.625 254.04
                  0.517 11.274  59.82  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.473  5.560 252.52
Friesen launched and then began smoking the tires, a gusher of fuel pouring out and under the tires. Meanwhile, Shelly made a nice run, leaving on time and going right down the groove on her best pass of the weekend.

We're getting a few drops of rain, so we're on hold. 4:53 PM
   1 Melanie Troxel      5.374 264.23  Q   16 Greg Roberts        5.811 239.91
 *****WINNER***** 0.517  5.483 249.67  E1                  0.534  7.208 116.40
4:58 PM and we're racing again. These two left together, but from there on it was all Melanie as she stretched the margin. Roberts threw in the towel around half track. Melanie advances with lane choice against another lady, Shelly Howard, in round two.
   7 Keith Stark         5.597 250.51  Q   10 Bill Ancona         5.631 240.55
 *****WINNER***** 0.540  5.572 261.57  E1                  0.506  5.682 221.13
The last pair of the round gave us a close drag race, Ancona away first and Stark playing catch-up most of the way down the strip. He caught Ancona on the top end, winning by a margin of victory = 0.076 seconds (approximately 25 feet) despite a couple of dropped cylinders. However, Stark's car was trailing a spray of oil from the "puke tank" from half track on, bringing out the Safety Safari for a small cleanup. Stark will have lane choice against Santos in round two .

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