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Fri, 10 Nov 2000, 08:02 PM

POMONA-2 - Top Fuel Qualifying Notes, Session #2
By Darryl Jackman

POMONA, Calif. - Notes from round 2 qualifying in Top Fuel at the 36th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals 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: Tony Schumacher Runs 4.571/320.81, Now #1; Best prior run: 12.217/74.14, Was #20

4:15 PM The Funny Car session was full of excitement, but for all the wrong reasons. Let's hope that the Top Fuel cars can up the ante in their session. The Safety Safari is just finishing off a quick cleaning of the track before we turn Tony Schumacher loose on a single. Ok, its official. Tony's back. That was his first full pass since the accident at Memphis and it puts him into the #1 qualifying position.

Left Lane: Cory McClenathan Runs 4.884/308.50, Now #13; Best prior run: 10.406/81.17, Was #19
Right Lane: Mike Smith Runs 9.879/77.53, Now #17; Best prior run: 10.531/79.06, Was #20

Both drivers got to the transition and went up in smoke. Cory Mac grabbed some brakes, gave the throttle a full slap and continued on. that was a great number for as much smoke as the tires were producing. Smith decided to try again on Saturday.

Left Lane: David Grubnic Runs 4.685/313.73, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.908/283.97, Was #14
Right Lane: Andrew Cowin Runs 9.204/80.73, Now #17; Best prior run: 10.264/64.19, Was #20

Grubnic cards a .854 60 foot number and was going 258.47 at half track. The Aussie did torch a head gasket just as he approached the lights. Cowin encountered problems at about 300 feet and shut the car off.

Left Lane: Gary Clapshaw No Time, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.873/288.15, Was #13
Right Lane: Don Lampus Runs 13.285/51.45, Now #20; Best prior run: 10.053/74.70, Was #20

Clapshaw can't get the car into reverse after the burnout and is forced to motor on down the track and will miss the session. Lampus just about duplicated his run from yesterday as he barely got out of the gate before the Goodyears were smoking.

Left Lane: Bobby Baldwin No Time, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.850/292.84, Was #11
Right Lane: Rhonda Hartman-Smith Runs 10.787/79.39, Now #19; Best prior run: 9.892/68.28, Was #19

The left lane must be jinxed as Baldwin suffers from the same problem as Clapshaw. He can't get the car reversed and cruises on down the track and makes the turn out. Smith had a nice .855 60 footer but the track couldn't hold it the rest of the way.

Left Lane: Melanie Troxel Runs 4.590/322.96, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.846/282.84, Was #10
Right Lane: Bob Vandergriff Runs 10.815/84.60, Now #16; Best prior run: 5.432/182.82, Was #16

Both of the Schumacher cars are now at the top of the field. Melanie makes the second best pass of the weekend and the candles were lighted all the way to the finish. The wind seems to be just a bit cross track as after her car came out from behind the grandstands it took a slightly cocked set and marched to the finish. Vandergriff launched hard but the fire went out at about 200 feet.

Left Lane: Doug Kalitta Runs 4.581/313.29, Now #2; Best prior run: 4.844/291.07, Was #10
Right Lane: Kenny Bernstein Runs 4.704/313.22, Now #8; Best prior run: 5.003/219.54, Was #15

Kalitta breaks up the Schumacher strangle hold on the top of the field with another beautiful pass. Again he was right down the darkest part of the lane and the engine never missed a beat. Bernstein was right with Kalitta at the hit but fell back at every interval on the monitor.

Left Lane: Doug Herbert Runs 4.732/313.51, Now #11; Best prior run: 4.755/296.63, Was #11
Right Lane: Tim Gibson Runs 10.835/82.16, Now #13; Best prior run: 4.850/267.00, Was #13

Herbert looked good until just before the finish. All holes were lighted but the car just seemed to pull him towards the guardrail. He drove the car back to the middle but it did slow him. Again Gibson clicked it at about 300 feet.

Left Lane: Mike Dunn Runs 4.522/325.69, Now #1; Best prior run: 4.723/285.83, Was #10
Right Lane: Larry Dixon Runs 4.672/308.92, Now #7; Best prior run: 4.711/308.43, Was #9

How many times are we going to see the actions of the Yankees Top Fuel car described in baseball terms. It's a home run if I've ever seen one. As an example Dunn was running 273 mph at the eighth mile! The engine was actually mixing cylinders at the top end so there is still more in the car. Dunn now has the three quickest runs under the ninety percent rule. Dixon's pass was just about lost in the excitement of Dunn's effort. Dixon made a nice pass but was falling back at every interval.

Left Lane: Gary Scelzi Runs 4.625/316.15, Now #5; Best prior run: 4.617/311.77, Was #5
Right Lane: Joe Amato Runs 12.736/75.44, Now #6; Best prior run: 4.629/313.37, Was #6

Well, Scelzi slows slightly from yesterday's run when the rest of the field seemed to step up. There was nothing wrong with the run but it just seemed to pale after Dunn, Troxel , Schumacher and Kalitta run in the fifties. All I can say is I'll bet there are some folks that are breathing a sigh of relief that Dunn is not in the Bud Shootout on Saturday. Amato just got off the starting line before the tires were wreathed in smoke. That was the last Pro pair of the day and only the final round of Federal-Mogul qualifying remains.

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