Memphis: Mopar preview

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Darrell Alderman, who drives the Team Mopar Dodge R/T, has his eyes squarely pointed towards a 28th NHRA national event victory heading into this weekend's AutoZone NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Memphis Motorsports ...

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Darrell Alderman, who drives the Team Mopar Dodge R/T, has his eyes squarely pointed towards a 28th NHRA national event victory heading into this weekend's AutoZone NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Coming off an impressive final-round appearance at the Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.), the three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World champion is poised for victory.

"We are going to win one of these things (NHRA national events) this year," said Alderman, who has advanced to two finals this season. "The progress that has been made with the new Hemi engine has allowed us to qualify in the top half of the field, giving us an advantage in the first round with lane choice.

"During the fall races, we have cooler temperatures, better air quality and quicker elapsed times." Alderman continued. "Right now, we have one of the quickest cars out there. It's just a matter of putting four-straight round victories together."

Alderman was impressive at Heartland Park Topeka, eliminating V. Gaines, Kurt Johnson and Mark Pawuk en route to the finals. His victory over Johnson avenged a final-round loss during the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., in mid-July.

"We were able to find the right clutch combination for the newly paved track," Alderman said. "The Hemi engine was strong and we made clean passes."

Alderman has experienced some success at Memphis Motorsports Park, winning the 1994 edition and making final-round appearances in 1990 and `91.

Team Mopar Dodge R/T driver Scott Geoffrion is coming off his best outing of the season when he advanced to the second round of last weekend's Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.).

Geoffrion won a first-round match up with veteran driver Bruce Allen after taking a decisive holeshot advantage at the start. The California native then fell to current Pro Stock points leader Jeg Coughlin in round two.

"This team has really put a lot of hard work and effort into making this deal work," said Geoffrion, who also earned his best qualifying slot of the season (ninth). "I am quite pleased with the development of my car and the new Hemi engine.

"The loyal Mopar fans have really started to come out as well," Geoffrion added.

The nine-time NHRA national event winner won the Memphis Motorsports Park race in 1993 and drove to the finals in 1992 and `94.

"We always seem to run well in Memphis," Geoffrion said. "I'm pretty excited. I think we can win one of these.

"The new Hemi has really demonstrated some muscle," Geoffrion added. "Along with the help of DaimlerChrysler's engineers, the Nickens Brothers crew has made strides with this engine. It's pretty impressive considering that we started with a clean sheet of paper back in January."

Dean Skuza, driver of the Matco Tools/Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car, took home the fourth-qualifying position.

Skuza fell to Gary Densham in round one after smoking the tires.

With his late-season charge, Team Mopar Pro Stock driver Darrell Alderman has moved to ninth in the NHRA Winston points chase.

Team Mopar drivers Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion held the quickest reaction times of eliminations during last weekend's Advance Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.). Alderman had a .418-second reaction time in round three and Geoffrion clocked a .428-second effort in round one.

Larry Morgan, driver of the Dodge Motorsports R/T Pro Stock entry, defeated Darrell Alderman in the 1990 Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park show.

AutoZone NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil

Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park

October 8

(Speedvision) 5:00-6:30 p.m.

(Fox Sports Net) 12:00-1:30 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Gary Densham , Bruce Allen , Scott Geoffrion