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Sat, 2 Sep 2000, 01:46 PM

INDY - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #2
By Larry Sullivan

CLERMONT, Ind. - Notes from round 2 qualifying in Top Fuel at the 46th annual 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: Paul Romine Runs 8.588/85.76, Now #21; Best prior run: 9.475/90.56, Was #20
Right Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 5.884/148.72, Now #19; Best prior run: 11.748/89.13, Was #22

12:17 PM This session the cars are lined up in reverse qualified order, so Scelzi, who was last on the ladder after yesterday's tire smoking run, and Romine, who had a similar fate, open the session. Romine once again lost traction around half track. Scelzi got a little further down the track than Romine, started to smoke the tires, pedaled , then lost the blower belt.

Left Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.755/301.81, Now #9; Best prior run: 6.312/133.84, Was #20
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 5.952/183.24, Now #21; Best prior run: 11.241/77.23, Was #22

Two more cars with traction problems last night, like the first pair, two usually-qualified cars. Connie Kalitta shows his tuning skills, getting his nephew, Doug, all the way down the track with no tire smoke. Herbert lost traction around 300 feet out, continued a bit, then coasted to the other end.

Left Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 5.252/201.58, Now #18; Best prior run: 5.634/164.63, Was #19

Hartman-Smith made a single pass. The tires started to haze at 300 feet and she used the hand brake to continue the run, but then the blower drive pulley sheared off and the engine lost fire.

Left Lane: Bruce Litton Runs 5.291/192.30, Now #16; Best prior run: 4.954/236.34, Was #16
Right Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 4.870/296.63, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.847/273.83, Was #13

First Fram Filters (Hartman-Smith) and then Wix Filters (Litton) and K&N Filters (Cowin). The K&N car ran close to the numbers posted last night, with no visible tire smoke, while the Wix car lost traction around half track.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 5.035/283.97, Now #14; Best prior run: 4.875/264.70, Was #14
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.964/292.52, Now #12; Best prior run: 4.832/299.86, Was #12

Two more tire-hazing runs, Troxel dropping a cylinder early and then hazing the tires when that cylinder kicked back in. Grubnic made a soft launch and never did get up to full steam.

Left Lane: Shirley Muldowney No Time, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.779/306.53, Was #11
Right Lane: Tim Gibson No Time, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.738/303.64, Was #7

Left Lane: Shirley Muldowney Runs 10.754/82.96, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.779/306.53, Was #11

Shirley's tuneup was a bit too aggressive this time around, the tires up in smoke almost immediately.

Left Lane: Don Lampus Runs 5.413/180.79, Now #8; Best prior run: 4.745/312.93, Was #8
Right Lane: Tim Gibson Runs 6.449/128.36, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.738/303.64, Was #7

Clutch, clutch, clutch. Lampus got a bit further down the track than Gibson before smoking the tires, but both cars were coasting by 1,000 feet.

Left Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.786/308.28, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.697/314.46, Was #6
Right Lane: Joe Amato Runs 10.743/80.30, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.689/312.57, Was #5

Bernstein's car sports a one-race special paint scheme, with a bonus of $100,000 on the line for the U.S. Olympic Committee if he can win this event. He also had a good tuneup in the clutch can, the car effortlessly going right down the groove with no trace of tire smoke anywhere along the way. Amato went about 100 feet, started to smoke the tires, and clicked it off.

Left Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.662/314.75, Now #3; Best prior run: 4.665/316.60, Was #3
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 8.295/96.39, Now #4; Best prior run: 4.668/309.20, Was #4

"Sarge" and the Miller Lite car squared off here, both cars posting very good (and almost identical) runs last night. There won't be any 4.66s here today...well eat my words! Schumacher is being all he can be with the great tools he's got to work with, a picture-perfect run, right down the groove and very impressive in today's heat and humidity and sunlight. Dixon's run was a carbon copy of SAmato's, losing traction after 100 feet.

Left Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 4.772/300.86, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.658/305.22, Was #2
Right Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 5.780/152.33, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.655/317.57, Was #1

Johnny West has the Vandergriff dragster tuned pretty well for the conditions, another smoke-free run in the left lane, while Cory Mac loses traction after 200 feet.

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