Route 66 NHRA Nationals Route 66 Raceway Friday Qualifying Notes Osborne Takes Second Alderman Moves Into Top Half JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 28, 2001) - Cooler temperatures prevailed on the first day of qualifying for the inaugural NHRA Nationals at...
Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Route 66 Raceway
Friday Qualifying Notes
Osborne Takes Second
Alderman Moves Into Top Half
JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 28, 2001) - Cooler temperatures prevailed on the first day of qualifying for the inaugural NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway and Mopar Parts driver Mark Osborne took advantage.
Osborne and his Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T nabbed the second-qualifying slot with a 6.828-second lap at a track record 201.70 mph.
"The left lane bit us a little bit on that last run," Osborne said. "We had a great set up for our first run and it showed on the track. On our second run, the track was cold and didn't agree with the set up we put on it."
Teammate Darrell Alderman, driver of the other Mopar Part Dodge Neon R/T, drove to the seventh position with a 6.853-second pass at 201.55 mph.
"We had a pretty good first run out there," Alderman said. "The track was real cold in the right lane on our second run and I just chattered the tires through third gear. The track will have a little sun on it tomorrow and should be a little better."
The father-and-son duo of Dale and Craig Eaton completed a strong first day of qualifying, grabbing the seventh and 16th positions, respectively.
Dale Eaton, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T, grabbed the seventh slot with a career best 7.453-second elapsed time at another career best of 181.28 mph, marking the first time an Eaton Enterprises, LLC, machine eclipsed the 181-mph barrier.
"Ironically, that was one of the worst runs off the starting line that I've ever had," said the elder Eaton. "It moved to the left and blew the tires off. In fact, the shift light came on twice in low gear. If it would have left the way it should have, we would have an easy two-tenths better than that. We are real strong on the back half. I'm happy, but when you have an opportunity like that, you want to run even better. If we had of made a little bit different of an adjustment, it would have lifted up and moved right on through there. This thing has a lot of steam. The P-5 engine is just awesome, but I'm also picking up a little water in one of the cylinders. If I can run to the 330-foot mark, I'm going to be dangerous."
Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T pilot Craig Eaton slipped into the top-16 with a 7.484-second pass at 180.45 mph.
"The last run wasn't as good as the first one," C. Eaton commented. "The right lane has a huge bump. In fact, it's a bigger bump than I've ever experienced before. When you put it in fifth gear, you just have to hold on. We probably didn't make the best call for that lane."
Skuza Makes Cut
Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car carved its way into the field with a 4.905-second pass at 305.77 mph, capturing the 10th-qualified position.
"We definitely didn't want that," said Skuza, who clocked a career-best 4.794-second elapsed time during the spring event. "We spun the tires and it caught before they smoked. We probably lost a tenth on that move because we were going for a 4.78."
Morgan Squeaks In
Larry Morgan and the Hemi-powered Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T grabbed the 16th slot in the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history. Morgan posted a 6.876-second elapsed time at 201.04 mph.
Crew chief Billy Wagner commented on the last run.
"There was a lot of excess left on the track from John Nobile's oil down," Wagner said. "When three or four cars afterward had trouble getting through there. We re-cleaned the track, but they didn't clean it as well as they could have and we lost a couple of hundredths. We should be a lot better for tomorrow, especially in the left lane, which is much better."
Morgan also weighed in.
"We're happy because we would have qualified on both of our runs," Morgan noted. "To be honest, we made two horrible runs and we're still in. I just hope we can stay in the field because it's tough, especially since it's the quickest in history."
After posting strong efforts following the debut of the new Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Todd Patterson ventured into unfamiliar territory after qualifying outside quickest Pro Stock Truck field in NHRA history with a 7.485-second pass at 180.00.
"We had our best 60-foot time ever at 1.033 seconds," said Patterson, who drove to the finals of the Holley Pro Stock Truck Dominator Duel here in the spring. "It's a situation the we're not really accustomed to. The motor thinks it has gobs of power, and we have a cold race track, so we're dealing with. Other showed that it could be done. We were off on our set up a little bit. The truck got up a little too high, too quick and it got me out of the groove. We went out about 60 foot and I started to make my own track with the driver side tires and that didn't work very good with a cold track. We know that we have to just tame it down, get the front end to stay down, go straight and we ought to be able to run a low 7.40."
Bo Nickens failed to qualify his Mopar-powered Dodge R/T with a 8.750-second lap at 109.80, after shutting off early in both of his qualifying efforts.