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Fri, 15 Sep 2000, 06:10 PM

READING - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #1
By Larry Sullivan

MOHNTON, Pa. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Top Fuel at the 16th annual Keystone Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:

Left Lane: Luigi Novelli Runs 4.815/291.01, Now #2
Right Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 4.707/314.61, Now #1

5:24 PM Novelli's new McKinney is still unpainted. Two good runs open the Top Fuel session, Novelli's car with strange header flames on the top end and lots of white smoke from the headers in the shutdown area - and, judging by the Safety Safari's actions, there was oil on the track as well as smoke in the air, past the finish line.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel No Time, Now #4
Right Lane: Bobby Lagana Runs 5.451/217.18, Now #3

Lagana is back in the family's "Twilight Zone" dragster this weekend. Troxel's car broke on the burnout and had to be pushed back behind the line by hand before Lagana could make his pass, then Lagana took his shot. The car labored to the 1,000-foot marker and he pulled the plug. The problem with Troxel's car was a broken reverser, by the way.

Left Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 4.753/283.97, Now #3
Right Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.684/311.41, Now #1

Two good runs, Hartman-Smith pushing out a head gasket around half track with a flash of green flame, then trailing bright flames the rest of the way. Grubnic made a nice pass, clean and smooth.

Left Lane: Don Lampus Runs 10.267/84.62, Now #7
Right Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.613/316.97, Now #1

Lampus launched into tire shake, the tires skipping a couple feet with each bounce, and he shut it down. No tire shake for Herbert, running just 0.004 seconds slower than his season-best ET on a clean, straight run right down the groove with no tire smoke and no signs of engine damage.

Left Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 4.740/298.60, Now #5
Right Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.680/312.93, Now #2

Vandergriff's car is all black and sports the "TAS" logo this weekend - we'll see what that is all about. Two more good runs, Cory Mac pulling away on the top end on an effortless-looking pass.

Left Lane: Joe Amato Runs 4.608/313.95, Now #1
Right Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 9.839/86.75, Now #10

Amato's car sailed down the left lane, getting very close to the centerline on the top end of the run. Kalitta started to turn the tires at the 330-foot marker and shut it down quickly.

Left Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.744/298.80, Now #8
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.707/307.30, Now #6

Two good-looking opening runs, safe, providing the crew chiefs with something to tune from.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.554/321.27, Now #1
Right Lane: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.619/313.07, Now #4

Final pair, the top two points leaders. Nice runs, but Scelzi's run made the Army dragster look like it was towing a trailer on the top end. That's a season-best ET for Scelzi, the second-quickest run by anyone since the 90-percent nitro rules went into place.

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