Indianapolis: Mopar Friday notes

CLERMONT, Ind. (Aug. 31, 2001) - Mopar Parts Pro Stock driver Mark Osborne continued his mastery in U.S. Nationals qualifying by grabbing the provisional number one slot after the first round of qualifying for the 47th annual Labor Day classic at...

CLERMONT, Ind. (Aug. 31, 2001) - Mopar Parts Pro Stock driver Mark Osborne continued his mastery in U.S. Nationals qualifying by grabbing the provisional number one slot after the first round of qualifying for the 47th annual Labor Day classic at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Osborne, who earned his first career and only number one qualifier during last year's U.S Nationals, drove his new Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T to a 6.903-second elapsed time at 198.44 mph, besting a large Pro Stock field of 45 cars.

"The new track surface is just awesome," said Osborne, who won his third career NHRA national event at Seattle International Raceway earlier this year. "My hats off to the NHRA and IRP for creating such a great racing surface.

"These new Neon's just love that nice, cool air." Osborne continued. "We went back to the wind tunnel following Brainerd (Minn.) and found some things that will help. We also tested before we came here and found out some things. There's a long way to go though."

Teammate Darrell Alderman placed himself solidly in the field with a 6.949-second pass at 197.83 mph, taking the ninth position. The three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion talked about his run.

"It was really a pretty good run on through there," Alderman noted. "All the shift points were real good and it felt fairly smooth. We did rattle the tires a little bit in second and that might of slowed us down a bit. But we're pleased with the start."

Patterson Starts in Third

Todd Patterson and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T captured the third slot in Pro Stock Truck qualifying. The Augusta, Kan. resident traveled the suburban Indianapolis quarter mile with a 7.545-second elapsed time at 178.19 mph.

"After a nine week lay off, I was a little cautious heading into qualifying," Patterson said. "It's hard to say what the other guys have improved on since we took the pole at the last race in St. Louis. I guess we showed everyone that we're as strong as ever.

"We're going to tweak on the truck tomorrow and see if we can't grab the top spot again," Patterson added. "The track is in great shape, so we're going to take advantage of every opportunity this weekend."

Craig Eaton Makes Impression Mechanical Woes Strike Dale Eaton

Craig Eaton debuted his new Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T with a bang, nabbing the sixth slot in Pro Stock Truck qualifying. The Phoenix, Ariz., resident clicked off a 7.559-second lap at 178.28 mph.

"It's about time," said a pleased Eaton. "I was really surprised with a 7.55 though. I didn't think the track had it in it. The weather was a little warmer and I thought we would have run a little slower. I'm excited about being so fast right out of the box."

Father Dale Eaton, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T, experienced some mechanical woes and had to shut his new truck off early. Dale Eaton ran an 8.004-second elapsed time at 141.49 mph.

"We had a gear problem, so I just shut it off early," D. Eaton said. "I know we'll be able to get in later because we have the same power that Craig has. We'll definitely be there on Monday because these other guys can't outrun us now."

Skuza Drives to Eighth

Dean Skuza drove his Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car to the eighth-qualifying position with a 4.884-second lap at 313.34 mph. The Brecksville, Ohio resident was pleased with the start.

"We have a good baseline to start out with," said Skuza, who failed to qualify for last year's event. "We actually should have gone quicker because we were on a good run. We're going to go back, make a few adjustments and try to move up in the order.

"The track is in good shape," Skuza added. "Were going to take advantage of that and tune it up a bit."

Co-Crew Chief John Stewart led Jim Epler to victory lane in last year's U.S. Nationals.

Morgan Squeaks In

Larry Morgan, driver of the new Hemi-powered Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T, barely slid into the 16-car Pro Stock field with a 6.968-second lap at 196.82 mph, taking the 16th position.

Morgan spoke about his new Neon.

-more- Mopar Friday Notes Page Three

"We did a little testing in Norwalk (Ohio) before we came here," said Morgan, a native of Newark, Ohio. "We were pleased with the results, so we're real hopeful for the weekend. The car made a decent run in the right lane, and we know we have something left in it."

Nickens Misses

Bo Nickens failed to qualify in his Mopar-powered Dodge R/T. The Conroe, Texas resident, and son of team owner David Nickens, ran through the timing lights at 7.025-seconds at 196.70 mph, collecting the 26th position.

"The car shook really hard," Nickens said. "I thought about shutting it off, but I didn't want to be the first pair out in tomorrow's qualifying, so I rode it out to the other end."

-Mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Jim Epler , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson