Columbus: Mopar Friday qualifying summary

HEBRON, Ohio. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's national event at National Trail Raceway, just outside Columbus, Ohio. NOTABLE: Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts...

HEBRON, Ohio. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's national event at National Trail Raceway, just outside Columbus, Ohio.

NOTABLE: Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T received their new body last week. It replaced the body Skuza hurt during a dramatic blower explosion at the Matco Tools Supernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.

Rain delayed qualifying activity for about 50 minutes today.

DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T

The Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T of Dean Skuza ran well in front of the hometown fans with a 4.937-second lap at 308.28 mph. The Brecksville, Ohio resident collected the provisional seventh slot.

"We have a lot of confidence coming into this race," said Skuza, who captured his third No. 1 qualifier of his career at last year's event."The car's been running great recently, except for the second round at Joliet. We're throwing that run out because the car inexplicably lit the tires up. It was just a weird thing. (Co-crew chief) John Stewart thinks that it had a little too much tire pressure because we weren't used to them.

"We tried something new with the ignition in the first round and it didn't like it," Skuza added."We had to make this run count, so we left about five-hundredths on the table. We could have run a 4.80 something."

GENE WILSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Gene Wilson overcame transmission trouble in the first round of qualifying and slipped into the 15th position. The 29-year-old Wilson made a 6.934-second lap at 198.26 mph in his second-round effort.

"We had some mechanical problems in the first round," Wilson said."We did get some useful data on the first run. We made a half pass in the first session, but got enough useful data to set up the car for this evening's session. We feel pretty good going into tomorrow. The important session was tonight. With the air being so good tonight, it's kind of a one-shot deal. We got in, so I'm happy."

LARRY MORGAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Despite missing the top 16, hometown hero Larry Morgan was happy with his blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T after the first day of qualifying. The Newark, Ohio resident logged a 6.949-second elapsed time at 198.26 mph.

"We didn't make a real good run, but I'm pretty happy with it," Morgan said."I'm fixing to put one David's (Nickens) spare engines in and it should help put me in the program. I'm real excited about tomorrow."

DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Darrell Alderman and his Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T shot up the charts to grab the provisional No. 3 qualifier with a 6.896-second elapsed time at 199.14 mph. The three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion is vying for his first top-eight qualifier of the year.

"(Crew chief) Rickie Smith sure has a handle on that four link and the clutch," Alderman said."This car seems to be leaving good and it's really straight. That's one good thing about having Rickie up there in front of you, I know that the car is going to launch straight."

-Mopar.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Gene Wilson , Rickie Smith