Gainesville: Mopar Friday notes

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 16, 2001) - Darrell Alderman and his Mopar Parts Hemi-powered Dodge R/T Pro Stock entry drove to the preliminary pole in the first day of action during qualifying for the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway...

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 16, 2001) - Darrell Alderman and his Mopar Parts Hemi-powered Dodge R/T Pro Stock entry drove to the preliminary pole in the first day of action during qualifying for the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway today.

Alderman, who was also the quickest in the first session, clicked off a 6.87-second elapsed time at 200.02 mph. The three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion accomplished the feat in a 2000 Dodge R/T.

"It's going to be hard to change to the new car," said Alderman, speaking of Mopar's switch to the new Pro Stock Neon later in the year. "The track improved in that second session and that'w why we went faster. It was just a good, clean run. We ran a little better 60-foot time and that really helped.

"The car's not doing anything wrong - it's just perfect." Alderman continued. "Those guys work around the clock at Nickens Brothers Racing. It takes a lot of hard work to get where we are and those guys don't give up. I know the times are going to improve tomorrow, but we're sure going to enjoy this number one slot over dinner tonight."

Alderman's teammate Mark Osborne and his Hemi-powered Dodge R/T didn't have such a good day. The Abingdon, Va. resident failed to crack the top 16 with a 6.996-second lap at 198.23 mph.

"After testing over the break, I though we had a good handle on both cars," said Osborne. "We got to the track and the changing conditions just caught us out. We're going to back off a little bit and see if we can't get it into the show.]

"We're going to teak up the bell housing and we'll be okay."

Morgan Makes Field

Larry Morgan, despite being a bit under the weather, drove his Hemi-powered Dodge Motorsports R/T Pro Stocker to the 10th-qualifying position after day one during the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

Morgan, who is suffering from the ravages of a flu virus, made a 6.933-second pass at 199.11 mph.

"We didn't make a very good run out there," stated a light-hearted Morgan. "The clutch was okay, but the driver screwed up. I just shifted way too quickly, probably because of the medicine. Overall, we are happy."

Smith Runs to 14th

Rickie Smith and his Hemi-powered Dodge R/T slid into the 13th-qualifying position after the first day of activity at the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway today.

The King, N.C. resident moved his semi-factory backed Team Koretsky mount to a 6.950-second elapsed time at 198.35 mph.

"There's a lot of play out there at mid track," said Koretsky. "I think it was bad for everybody. That last time, I think the left lane was a lot better."

Future Mopar Parts driver Kenny Koretsky missed the 16-car field with a 6.982-second pass at 197.74 mph.

"I had a good run." Koretsky mentioned. "We had some troubles with the shocks and still run a 6.98. Without the problems, we should run a low 6.90 and get into the show."

Skuza Struggles

Dean Skuza, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car smoked the tires on both of his runs and sits outside the 16-car field after the first day at the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway."

"That wasn't how we wanted to start," said Skuza. "We'll chase down the clutch and get in tomorrow. We should be okay."

Skuza took home the No. 1 qualifier during the last race at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz. Patterson Manages 12th

Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T pilot Todd Patterson managed the 12th-qualifying slot after day one of the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

The Augusta, Kan. resident clocked a 7.553-second elapsed time at 177.74 mph. Patterson was pleased with his effort.

"For the most part, we're just happy we got in," said Patterson. "Now we just want to tweak on it a little harder. We bogged the motor a little bit down low. We probably have two or three hundredths left in it. We just have to figure out a way to tune it to the track.

"Right now, I think everybody prefers the left lane," Patterson added. "Traditionally, that's the faster lane here. I don't think anything has changed."

Two for the Show

The Eaton Enterprises Pro Stock Truck team with Dale and Craig Eaton both made the field after the first day of qualifying for the 32nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

Dodge Motorsports driver Craig Eaton maneuvered his Dakota R/T to a 7.550-second run at 177.30 mph. The Phoenix, Ariz. resident likes his chances.

"The truck is just running great," Eaton said. "We did some testing in Bradenton, Fla. And I think that did the trick. That was all we needed to get this thing going. I think we would have made it in Pomona (Calif.) if we would have done the same amount of testing."

Dale Eaton wielded his Mopar Parts/ATSCO Dodge Dakota R/T to the 16th position with a 7.567-second effort at 177.63 mph.

"It was good run," D. Eaton said. "We are still struggling off the starting line. When we tested, we had that problem and it still plaques us here. If we can figure that out, we'll be contenders."

-Mopar

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Kenny Koretsky , Rickie Smith