Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals TELEVISION TIMES: (ALL TIMES EASTERN) QUALIFYING: Sat., April 13; 9:30 p.m.-midnight; ESPN2 FINAL ROUND: Sun., April 14; 8-10 p.m.; ESPN2 REPEAT:...
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals
TELEVISION TIMES: (ALL TIMES EASTERN)
QUALIFYING: Sat., April 13; 9:30 p.m.-midnight; ESPN2
FINAL ROUND: Sun., April 14; 8-10 p.m.; ESPN2
REPEAT: Tues., April 16; 2:30-4:30 p.m.; ESPN2
BAYTOWN, Texas -- Mopar Parts NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park
Dean Skuza drove his Dodge Stratus R/T Nitro Funny Car to his best qualifying effort so far this season after the first day. The factory-backed Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T's of hometown team owner David Nickens both grabbed provisional qualifying positions after the first two rounds. It was also the debut of Greg Stanfield in the independent DBP Motorsports Dodge Neon R/T Pro Stock entry.
DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T
Dean Skuza clicked off a solid 4.915-second elapsed time at 271.90 mph during the second-qualifying session. The run placed the Brecksville, Ohio resident into the sixth slot.
"We were on a 4.80-second run before it went flat," Skuza said. "We were slower to half track and the 330-foot mark when we ran our 4.79 (Spring Chicago, 2001). We really have to stand on the motor with this new body, the new tires and everything. We are just now coming into what this new car needs. We might have to re-nozzle the heads a little bit and change the fuel system a little to get it to where we want. We're still trying to find that magic tune up, but we're definitely headed in the right direction. That thing was done at 800 feet. It really nosed over. It ate itself alive. When oil gets into the cockpit, you know that you hurt something. We're running the early numbers, now it's a matter of getting the back half down. We will start to run the big mile per hour."
GENE WILSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Gene Wilson is hoping his second session pass of 6.871 seconds at 200.32 mph will be good enough to keep the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T in the show. The 29-year-old Wilson logged the 15th-qualifying position, which, if it holds, will be the first time the Atlanta resident will qualify for an NHRA national event.
"This feels real good," Wilson said. "We finally made a couple of good runs and did pretty well. We didn't get down the track on our first run in our first two races, and its very critical that you get down the track in that session, so you have valuable information for the night run. The night session usually yields better elapsed times because its cooler and less heat is in the air. I'm getting a lot more confident. You just have to whittle away at this thing. You can't step in and dominate at all."
LARRY MORGAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
A promising start to qualifying ended in frustration as the blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T of Larry Morgan experienced mechanical woes during the second session. Morgan's 6.914-second elapsed time at 200.29 mph, which was good enough for 14th after the first session, was on the outside of the top 16 at the end of the day.
"We're experiencing a pretty bad miss," Morgan said. "We're going to figure it out and come back tomorrow."
DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman collected the 10th position with a 6.858-second lap at 201.46 mph. The 28-time NHRA national event winner is trying to remain one of only eight drivers to qualify for all five NHRA national events this season.
"We made a nice run on the fourth pass," Alderman said. "It was smooth and nice down track. We think we probably could have used a little more low gear and maybe run a hundredth better. We'll probably change gear ratios for tomorrow morning."
GREG STANFIELD, driver of the DBP Motorsports Dodge Neon R/T
Bart Price-owned DBP Motorsports made its NHRA Pro Stock debut with driver Greg Stanfield and a new Dodge Neon R/T. The former Pro Stock Truck category shoe missed the cut, but clocked in at 6.931 seconds at 198.90 mph.
"It's quite a learning curve," Stanfield said." My timing as far as shifting is way off, but that was just my first two runs in the car, so we didn't do to badly. We're really approaching this weekend as a testing session. We're learning that's for sure. It's definitely different from the Pro Stock Truck. There's a lot of potential with this team, but it just takes some time. I just hope I can step up to the plate quicker."