Las Vegas: Mopar Racing final qualifying report

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Mopar Parts NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the final day of qualifying for this weekend's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver...

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Mopar Parts NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the final day of qualifying for this weekend's SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver Darrell Alderman grabbed the provisional 14th slot after the first day of qualifying, while the Neon's of Larry Morgan and Gene Wilson hope to crack the top 16 heading into today's activities. Dean Skuza landed his Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T Nitro Funny in the 15th slot during the first day of qualifying.

The following are notes and quotes following today's qualifying activity.

DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T

Dean Skuza eked his way into the field in the 16th slot. The Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T Nitro Funny Car posted a 5.024-second elapsed time at 303.23 mph to earn a round-one match with John Force. Skuza defeated Force in the first round of eliminations during the most recent Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway.

"We were a little loose at the three-quarters mark of the track," Skuza said." We were a bit conservative considering that we smoked the tires in round three. Anything can happen in round one, so we'll just wait and see."

GENE WILSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Heated track conditions and mechanical gremlins told the story for rookie Gene Wilson today. The Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T missed qualifying for the second-straight race after posting a 7.053-second elapsed time at 196.33 mph.

"I went to back up after my burnout and I heard some noise coming from the drive line," noted Wilson, who failed to make his final qualifying pass." I decided to go ahead and shut the car off because it's not worth taking a risk in damaging any of the equipment when it might already be hurt. I have nothing but good things to say. We got (teammate) Darrell's (Alderman) car in the show and they are strong. We are really working hard right now and Mopar's definitely giving us the tools to win with and I know that I have a team that's capable of doing it. It's just one of those deals. You've got to have a little luck when doing this stuff as well."

LARRY MORGAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Larry Morgan hoped an engine change after the third round of qualifying would have produced more horsepower. It certainly did. But it was too much, as Morgan was forced to shut off his blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T at half-track, preventing the Newark, Ohio resident from qualifying. Morgan's best time was set during the second round of qualifying when he clicked off a 7.026-second lap at 196.99 mph.

"I really must have hurt that other engine," Morgan said." I must have had 100 more horsepower and just blew the tires off the car about half track. The track wasn't that bed either, we just overpowered the track."

DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Darrell Alderman drove his Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T to the 14th-qualifying slot, setting up a round one match up with veteran competitor Tom Martino in round number one. Alderman failed to improve his position in today's heat, but a 7.002-second lap at 197.08 mph was enough to put the three-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock World Champion into the show.

"We shook in both second and third (gears) that time," said Alderman, who won the most recent event at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway." That hurt the elapsed time, so we didn't improve any. We needed to try some new things on that run, so that we know what we need for tomorrow. There's a good chance the track conditions will be worse tomorrow."

-mopar-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , John Force , Larry Morgan , Gene Wilson , Tom Martino