Joliet II: Mopar finals notes

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 30, 2001) - Darrell Alderman barely missed his 28th national event victory. In a classic final, Warren Johnson nipped Alderman's Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T in the finals of today's Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 ...

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 30, 2001) - Darrell Alderman barely missed his 28th national event victory.

In a classic final, Warren Johnson nipped Alderman's Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T in the finals of today's Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Alderman, a three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion, took a starting line advantage (.448-.456), but Johnson enjoyed lane choice and drove around Alderman at the top end. Johnson clocked a 6.832-second lap at 201.70 mph to Alderman's 6.852 seconds at 201.97 mph.

"Boy, I hate losing that one," said the Mopar Parts driver. "It just so hard to get to these finals, and to lose one so close is hard. I did make my best run in that right lane this weekend in the final. I knew I had to get out on him and I did, but it wasn't enough. That one hurts."

Alderman, who qualified seventh, outran Indianapolis winner Greg Anderson in round one, Memphis (Tenn.) top dog George Marnell in round two and Tom Martino in the semifinals.

Alderman's teammate Mark Osborne didn't fair as well in losing to Marnell in the first round. The Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver ran a 6.808-second elapsed time at 202.58 mph, only to see Marnell's starting line advantage (.471-.432) take the victory. Marnell ran a 6.838-second pass at 201.19 mph.

"I'm just sick over it," Osborne said. "I hate to do this to all the guys that work so hard for me. I really ran well too. I'm just not hitting the lights the way I want to and I don't understand what I'm doing differently."

Patterson Runs to Semifinals

Todd Patterson and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T made his fifth semifinal-round appearance in the last six national events. The Augusta, Kan. resident last to Taylor Lastor, who run a 7.416-second lap at 181.23 mph to outrun Patterson's 7.451/180.67 combination.

"We really wanted this one," said a disappointed Patterson. "We tuned it up and made some great laps there. We had some trouble in our second lap and I think it carried over to the semifinal. The right lane was a little slower and I think it kind of bit us out there."

Patterson advanced to the semifinals by defeating Victor Cagnazzi in round one and Scott Perin in round two. Patterson's 7.397-second elapsed time in the his first round victory was a career best and the first Mopar-powered Pro Stock Truck driver to eclipse the 7.40-second elapsed time mark.

Skuza Falls to Force

Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car fell in the first round of eliminations to 10-time Winston Funny Car champion John Force. Skuza clocked a solid 4.889-second elapsed time at 312.71, but Force ran a quicker 4.889-seconds at 321.96.

"We made a nice run," Skuza said. "But we can't run in the 4.70's because our body makes us smoke the tires of we go any quicker. I know the new Stratus is on the way and I hope it gets here soon."

Morgan Loses in Round One

The Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T of Larry Morgan lost to Tom Martino in the first round. Martino ran a 6.831-second lap at 201.52 mph as Morgan clicked off a 6.880-second pass at 199.97 mph.

"We made a decent run," Morgan said. "I don't think the right lane helped us out there. We did have a pretty good weekend and we're headed in the right direction. The car was solid and we had good 60-foot times."

Eaton Out Early

Dale Eaton and the Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T dropped his first round match with Don Smith. The Arizona resident ran a slower 7.483-second elapsed time at 180.48 mph to Smith's 7.421/181.18.

"We're still suffering off the starting line," Eaton said. "We're going to go back and change everything and then we're going to test in Houston. The truck is real fast, but we're way off on the set up."

-Mopar Racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Warren Johnson , Dean Skuza , John Force , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson , Tom Martino , George Marnell