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Sat, 4 Nov 2000, 12:48 PM

DALLAS-2 - Top Fuel Round 1 Eliminations
By Larry Sullivan

ENNIS, Texas - Results of round 1 eliminations in Top Fuel at the 15th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec:

   8 Doug Herbert       18.000   NS    Q    9 Don Lampus         19.000   NS
                  0.466  4.836 298.27  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.423  4.828 302.01
11:10 AM This could be one of the more interesting first rounds ever - out-of-the-box, with no tuning laps. Run what ya brung. Lampus deep-staged just as Herbert was turning the stage bulb on, then left first. Herbert had to pedal it early in the run, the car shaking, and that gave Lampus too big a lead for Herbert to make up. Margin of victory = 0.051 seconds (approximately 22 feet).

   7 Bob Vandergriff    17.000   NS    Q   10 David Grubnic      20.000   NS
                  0.540  5.158 293.03  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.492  4.918 256.70
Grubnic left first and Vandergriff had to pedal to get out of shake, but the gap closed a bunch on the top end when Grubnic's car started eating the engine. But Grubnic was on a strong pass to half track and had enough momentum to win by a margin of victory = 0.288 seconds (more than 100 feet). So far we've seen two cars shake in the left lane, most likely because the tuneup wasn't aggressive enough - something that is hard to get right with no runs to tune from.

   6 Cory McClenathan   16.000  11.25  Q   11 Rhonda Hartman-Smi 21.000   NS
 *****WINNER***** 0.476  4.791 312.13  E1                  0.522 10.991  73.68
Cory's car left very hard, a 0.844 short time, and he pedaled it twice, the front end bouncing up each time he hit the throttle, a masterful job of driving. Hartman-Smith launched, started to haze the tires, and shut it off. The new MBNA car (debuted in Houston) sure looks like a winner!

   5 Kenny Bernstein    15.000  12.09  Q   12 Melanie Troxel     22.000   NS
                  0.453  4.716 313.22  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.481  4.657 322.27
Bernstein's first-round record against blonde female drivers continues to suffer - and he ran the second-best lap of the round only to lose to the best lap of the round. Bernstein had an excellent light to Melanie's very good light, and then the Exide dragster just flat ran away from him to win by a margin of victory = 0.031 seconds (approximately 14 feet).

   1 Gary Scelzi        11.000  16.98  Q        Bye
 *****WINNER***** 0.470 11.902 115.01  E1
Scelzi gets the bye run and locks up the Winston title on a run that went about two feet under power, the rear tires losing traction instantly. He also loses lane choice to Lampus in round two.

   3 Joe Amato          13.000  13.52  Q   14 Mike Dunn          24.000   NS
                  0.542 11.177  63.81  E1 *****WINNER***** 0.533  4.727 313.88
The luck of the points pairing system matches the #3 and #4 drivers from last year since Dunn has been on the sidelines most of the season. Amato's car appeared to lose the burst panel on the launch, lots of fumes and raw fuel as the header flames went out. Dunn's new ride went right down the middle of the groove, a safe tuneup (a 0.879 60-foot time), quick enough to earn lane choice against Cory Mac in round two.

   2 Larry Dixon        12.000  14.73  Q   15 Bill Walsh         25.000   NS
 *****WINNER***** 0.494  4.733 297.94  E1                  0.562  4.744 309.34
Good drag race, Dixon with the starting line advantage and then the two cars welded together the rest of the way down the strip. Walsh closed the gap a bit on the top end when Dixon's engine started eating itself up, but by then it was too late. Dixon will have lane choice against Grubnic next round.

   4 Doug Kalitta       14.000  13.22  Q   13 Bobby Baldwin      23.000   NS
 *****WINNER***** 0.485  9.650  84.45  E1                  0.000 No Time
Baldwin's car wouldn't go into reverse after the burnout and he had to drive it out the top end to clear the track for Kalitta. But that took quite a while and Kalitta's engine got very warm, the car smoking the tires after 100 feet. He loses lane choice to Troxel in round two.

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