1999 NHRA Auto Club NHRA Finals Pomona Raceway Final Report DUNN WINS SEASON FINALE IN POMONA Team Mopar Top Fuel Dragster finishes fourth in points
Pomona, Calif., (November 14, 1999) Team Mopar Top Fuel Dragster driven by Mike Dunn won his fourth event of the season by defeating Doug Kalitta at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, at Pomona Raceway. Dunn finished the 1999 NHRA season in fourth place with 1,326 points. With today's win, Dunn is only one of five drivers in NHRA history to win both the season opener and finale during the same year.
Mike Dunn ended the season 162 points behind Top Fuel World Champion Tony Schumacher.
In Pro Stock, Team Mopar driver Darrell Alderman was eliminated by Warren Johnson in Round-One. Team Amoco Dodge Avenger driven by Allen Johnson was eliminated by Jim Yates in Round-One. Larry Morgan and Larry Nance did not qualify.
In Pro Stock Truck, Team Mopar driver Todd Patterson was defeated by Greg Stanfield in Round-Two. Craig Eaton was defeated by Mark Osborne in Round-One. Dale Eaton and Bo Nickens did not qualify.
In Funny Car, Dean Skuza, Matco Tools/Team Mopar Dodge Avenger was defeated by Jim Epler in Round-Two.
In the Federal-Mogul Sportsman categories, it was an all Dodge Challenger show as Chuck Rayburn defeated Al Corda in the Final Round of Stock Eliminator.
Mike Dunn, Team Mopar Top Fuel Dragster (4.668/291.38), defeated Doug Kalitta (4.692/301.60) in the Final Round.
"What a great weekend for our team Mopar Top Fuel Dragster and what a great way to end the season. I have such fond memories of Pomona and to make it to winners circle here at the NHRA Finals just makes them sweeter. This was my 20th career win and the fourth one of this year. Even though we didn't win the Winston Championship, our team never gave up. We had some problems during qualifying with an ignition component, which caused a minor explosion on the Thursday qualifying run. The conditions here in Pomona change so much from one session to the next. Crew chief Ken Veney, Larry Meyer and the rest of the crew did a great job in preparing the car.
"In the semi-finals, we had to run Tony (Schumacher). We knew he would step it up a bit because he runs some great speed. Unfortunately for him, he smoked the tires and I never looked back. We still rattled the tires but the clutch locked up and the car just rnarched down the track. The motor stayed together arid I knew we could go all the way and win the race."
"The final round was by far the closest race of the day as Doug (Kalitta) was right next to me. About 500-feet out, the tires begun to spin and I thought Doug (Kalitta ) would come past me at any moment. I hung in there and gave quick tug on the brake to settle things down. Once we past the finish line I saw Kalitta come flying past but the win light was on in my lane and I knew the race was won."
Darrell Alderman, Team Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Avenger (7.02 1/19633), lost to Warren Johnson (6.901/199.88) in Round-One.
"Unfortunately it turned into a one lane race track when we ran first round today. I had a better light than Warren Johnson but our Team Mopar Dodge Avenger got out of shape and I had to lift. It's a little discouraging because we could have run with anyone and won this race.
"I can't say enough about the whole Nickens crew as everyone has worked so hard all season long. When we came to Pomona last February for the Winternationals, we were a new team with a great deal to learn. With the 1999 season under our belt, we have gelled into a formidable Pro Stock Team that is committed to winning a NHRA Winston Championship for 2000.
"Right now, we'll head back to Houston arid go through the car. Nickens has a lot of work between now and the 2000 Winternationals and knowing him, he'll be on the dyno within a day or so trying to find the right combination. For me, I'Il kick back and relax for a week back in Kentucky before heading to Houston for some on-track testing with Nickens."
Todd Patterson, Team Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Dakota (7.667/ 175.62), lost to Greg Stanfield (7.576/ 176.84) in Round -Two.
"A less than spectacular way to end the year for our Team Mopar Dodge Dakota. We didn't qualify too well but still managed to go a couple of rounds. We are starting to get a handle on this new truck but we are not quite there yet.
"We are ready to go back home and get to work on our Dodge Magnum small block engine program. There are some new pieces we have been developing and are looking forward to trying them on the dyno. I'm confident we can make even more power and come out strong for the 2000 NHRA season."
Craig Eaton, Team Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Dakota (7.647/ 176. 19), lost to Mark Osborne (7.568/ 178,33) in Round-One.
"We thought we we're heading in the right direction with our new Team Mopar Dodge Dakota but I guess not. Because we didn't have lane choice, it affected the way the track reacted as we had poor 60- foot time. When that happens, the race is basically over and it's hard to make up the difference.
"My thoughts on this season are less than memorable, but we try to keep it in perspective as we really worked hard all year in putting these Dodge trucks in the winners circle. Our engine builder, Alan Patterson, has promised us some more power for next year and the support from Mopar. We are going to turn things around for next year."
Dean Skuza, Matco Tools/Team Mopar Dodge Avenger Funny Car (11.609/82.62), lost to Jim Epler (5.000/299.13) in Round-Two.
"We made such a good pass in the first round as our Team Mopar/Matco Tools Dodge Avenger left the starting line just perfect. The car went straight down the track and it felt like it was on rails. Lance (Larsen) and I thought we had the clutch management system figured out as it was one of the best runs of the weekend. Because of that, we decided not to change anything for the next round.
"Once again we got bitten by this clutch. As soon as I hit the throttle, it just killed the tires and I just sat there helpless. It was pretty ugly and I think the change in the track and air temperatures affected the way the car reacted. When this happens, the clutch will lock-up too soon and cause the tires to smoke.
"I don't know what to say, results are results, and we haven't had any lately. We are disappointed on the way the season has been for our team. We don't want start out the 2000 season with question marks on our foreheads as this is not the game plan of our team. We have a new chassis and body being built and we plan on doing a great deal of testing during the winter months."