MOPAR TOP FUEL REPORT O'Reilly Fall Nationals Dallas, Texas October 21-24, 1999 While a return to the top of the points standings is impossible for Mike Dunn and the Ken Veney-tuned Team Mopar Top Fuel team this weekend - they're in sixth...
MOPAR TOP FUEL REPORT O'Reilly Fall Nationals Dallas, Texas October 21-24, 1999 While a return to the top of the points standings is impossible for Mike Dunn and the Ken Veney-tuned Team Mopar Top Fuel team this weekend - they're in sixth place and 124 points out of the lead - the respected duo have shown that they know how to be competitive, especially at the Texas Motorplex.
Dunn, the runner-up to Gary Scelzi at last year's event, was the division's points leader through the first 16 events of the season and ended a nearly three-year winless drought in January when he took home the Top Fuel trophy from Pomona, Calif. Dunn has three national event wins this season and has 19 career wins (10 in Funny Car and nine in Top Fuel).
The Darrell Gwynn-owned team has struggled recently, and had its worst performance of the season in Memphis two weeks ago when they did not qualify for the 16-car eliminations field. Inclement weather shortened qualifying in Memphis to two rounds instead of four, and for the first time this year, Dunn, 43, found himself watching from the sidelines on Sunday. The problem, according to team manager Jerry Gwynn, was in the clutch component material. "We've been experimenting with some clutch components that weren't as hard as those we'd used earlier in the year," Gwynn said. "In Dallas, we're going back to the hard clutch components." The Gwynn team has traditionally run well on the all-concrete Dallas track.
"If weather conditions are right," Gwynn said, "the elapsed time and speed records could fall in Dallas." The team plans to stay in Dallas on the Monday after the race to test for the second half of the "Texas Two-Step," the Oct. 28-31, Matco Tools Supernationals in Houston.
MOPAR FAST FACTS
The first woman to win a major NHRA event was Shirley Shahan, driving a 1965 Plymouth Hemi Belvedere at the 1966 Winternationals. Shirley's win in Stock proved that drag racing was a sport in which men and women could compete equally head to head. This opened the door to many female drag racing legends, including Top Fuel/Funny Car standout Shirley Muldowney and Super Stock legend Judy Lilly. Both of these pioneering lady racers campaigned Hemi-powered race cars.
The 10th Annual Darrell Gwynn Golf Classic will take place on Sat., Nov. 20 at the Grand Palms Golf and Country Club in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Darrell Gwynn Recovery Fund. For more information, contact Julie by phone at (954) 792-7223 or e-mail at DGxdgr@aol.com.
SCOTT GEOFFRION UPDATE
He may have fallen off the roof of his home, but, no, Mopar Pro Stock driver Scott Geoffrion hasn't fallen off the face of the earth. Geoffrion had planned to be back behind the wheel of his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger before the end of the season. But after consulting with another back specialist, Geoffrion's comeback will have to wait until next year.
"I explained to the doctor how the tires on the car can shake and what that does to my back, and he said he didn't want me to race for at least eight more weeks," Geoffrion said. "That rules out returning this season."
Ray Richard, Motorsports Manager for Team Mopar, said:
"While it's unfortunate that Scott won't race for us again this year, we feel very strongly that Scott not compete until he's fully recovered. "In the meantime, David Nickens (owner and crew chief of the two-car Pro Stock team) is focusing on getting Darrell Alderman's Avenger down the track and capitalizing on the good showing they had last month in Reading (Pa.)." Alderman and Geoffrion are both slated to return to Team Mopar and David Nickens Racing in the 2000 NHRA season.
MOPAR REWIND From the Revel Nationals, Texas Motorplex, Dallas, Texas, Oct 23-25, 1998
QUALIFYING Mike Dunn qualified the Team Mopar Top Fuel Dragster 10th. Dean Skuza's Matco Tools / Team Mopar Dodge Avenger Funny Car was the seventh qualifier. Allen Johnson's Dodge Avenger was the 15th qualifier in Pro Stock. Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion compete; Larry Morgan and Larry Nance did not qualify. In Pro Stock truck, Craig Eaton qualified ninth, David Nickens was the 11th qualifier and Bo Nickens was the #13 qualifier. Todd Patterson and Dale Eaton did not qualify.
ELIMINATIONS Mike Dunn won three rounds of eliminations (over Bob Vandergriff, Doug Herbert and Larry Dixon) before losing to Gary Scelzi in the finals. Dean Skuza, like Dunn, advanced to the finals in Dallas. Skuza beat Randy Anderson, Cruz Pedregon and Whit Bazemore before coming up short to John Force. Allen Johnson won the first round of eliminations before losing in the second. In the Pro Stock Truck finals, David Nickens won his first eliminations round before losing in the second round. Bo Nickens and Craig Eaton lost in the opening round. NHRA POINT STANDINGS
TOP FUEL (after 19 national events) Driver Points 1. Tony Schumacher 1,221 2. Joe Amato 1,201 3. Gary Scelzi 1,155 6. Mike Dunn 1,097
PRO STOCK (after 19 national events) Driver Points 1. Warren Johnson 1,512 2. Kurt Johnson 1,332 3. Jeg Coughlin 1,236
PRO STOCK TRUCK (after 12 national events) Driver Points 1. Bob Panella 972 2. Mark Osborne 880 3. Brad Jeter 873 6. Todd Patterson 546
FUNNY CAR (after 19 national events) Driver Points 1. John Force 1,739 2. Tony Pedregon 1,444 3. Whit Bazemore 1,266 5. Dean Skuza 858