CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 17, 2001) - Dean Skuza and the Team Mopar/Cornwell Tools Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car grabbed the No. 1 qualifying position for tomorrow's Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway. The ...
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 17, 2001) - Dean Skuza and the Team Mopar/Cornwell Tools Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car grabbed the No. 1 qualifying position for tomorrow's Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.
The Brecksville, Ohio resident ran a 4.805-second pass at 308.57 mph, turning in the quickest Nitro Funny Car lap since the 90-percent nitro methane rule was instigated prior to the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season.
"What I told them (ESPN) at the top end was that this could be my last interview because my co-crew chief John Stewart will choke me after I shut it off early," said a jubilant Skuza. "It felt like it was a little bit lean and I'm sure it was hot going through there.
"I'm still just trying to get used to John's tune up," Skuza added. "I've driven for 10 years now and I've never driven a car this consistent and smooth in the clutch area. It's just a different feel and I don't have a lot of laps on it."
Skuza's pole capped off an impressive weekend for the Dodge Motorsports contingent as NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Joe Ruttman won at Daytona International Raceway on Friday and the new Dodge Intrepid R/T NASCAR Winston Cup entries are starting one-two-three for tomorrow's Daytona 500.
"It's been quite a weekend for the Dodge program," Skuza noted. "Somebody must know what they're doing over in the motorsports department. I so pleased with the whole team. They deserve this."
The run was also a career best for Skuza and marks the second time the he has sat on the pole (2000 Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway). Skuza will face Gary Densham in a round-one eliminator.
Darrell Alderman, driver of the Team Mopar Dodge R/T, drove to the ninth-qualifying position for tomorrow's Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.
The three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World Champion experienced a few tense moments prior to the fourth round, which yielded a 6.922-second elapsed time at 199.52 mph.
"I was a little nervous about that last run because I wasn't in the show," said the Morehead, Ky. resident. "That last run felt really good. I don't know if lane choice even matters this weekend. I really like both lanes."
Alderman will face eighth-qualifier Brad Jeter, who has lane choice, in round one.
Mark Osborne and his Team Mopar Dodge R/T took home his second-straight 12th-qualifying position. Despite not improving in today's two sessions, Osborne's 6.929-second lap at 199.32 mph in yesterday's show was good enough.
"I think the whole team sucked it up today," said the Abingdon, Va. resident. "The track is awesome. We just missed the tune up today. We tried something that we thought would work in our favor. It just didn't."
Osborne has a round one match up with Jim Yates.
Larry Morgan piloted his Dodge Motorsports R/T Pro Stock entry to the 13th-qualifying position for tomorrow's Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.
Morgan's Dodge R/T clicked off a 6.930-second elapsed time at 199.20 mph.
"We were a little light in the clutch area," Morgan noted. "It was a good run though. I feel real good about tomorrow. In fact, I can't wait until tomorrow."
Morgan has a first-round paring with fourth-qualifier Ron Krisher.
Rickie Smith and his Hemi-powered Dodge R/T missed the top-16 during qualifying for the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.
Smith, who debuted his Dodge R/T during yesterday's first round of qualifying, suffered through electrical problems and ran a 6.964-second elapsed time at 198.82 mph.
"We just run out of time this weekend," said the King, N.C. resident. "If I would have had a couple more runs I could have figured it out. I'm not used to tuning a Dodge, so it's going to take some getting used to."
Team owner and driver Kenny Koretsky also failed to make the cut with a 6.991/197.39 weekend best combination.
"I just couldn't get the car down the track," said the future Mopar driver. "This is the first weekend that I've only made one solid run in."
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