Morgan grabs the provisional second slot
Alderman & Johnson also in the show
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 7, 2003) -- Larry Morgan took center stage during today's qualifying session for this weekend's 39th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at historic Pomona Raceway.
Morgan, piloting his Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus, took advantage of mild afternoon weather conditions and cracked off a 6.782-second elapsed time at 203.55 mph, grabbing the provisional second-qualifying slot. An ecstatic Morgan spoke about his day.
"I'm just so elated right now," said Morgan, who last grabbed a No. 1 qualifier in 1991 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. "What's amazing is the car was all over the place and out of control down the track. This is really important to run well with all of the Mopar brass in town this weekend. It's good they can see a competitive car running, after all of their support and effort to make this work."
Three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman landed the provisional 12th-qualified position with a 6.819-second elapsed time at 202.64 mph. During the season opener here, Alderman made it to the semifinals.
"It was really slick out there," said the long-time Mopar driver. "We'll make a run over in the left lane tomorrow morning and see if we can't improve. The car feels great, but when that right lane gets some sun on it, it gets pretty slick."
Mopar's Allen Johnson eked into the 16th-qualifying position after posting a 6.837-second elapsed time at 202.58 mph. The Greeneville, Tenn., resident opened the season with a final-round appearance earlier this year.
"We made a good run, I thought," said a disappointed Johnson. "I haven't looked at the graph or anything yet, but it felt like it spun pretty bad in first gear and when I shifted into second, I didn't have any car speed and knocked the clutch out of it. Other than that, I didn't have any trouble down the track. I didn't see anything wrong the track. I do think the left lane is a little better than the right. We had the good lane and should have run better than that. We'll check to see what we did, go back out there tomorrow and make improvements."
Gene Wilson is barely on the outside looking in, posting a 6.838-second lap at 203.07 mph. It was only good enough for the 17th slot, however.
"We really didn't make a great run," said Wilson, who shut off early in his first qualifying effort. "We really didn't have a good baseline after our first pass, so we gave it our best shot at setting up the clutch for that run. We were a little heavy on that run, but we do have the horsepower to go to the top of the field."
Legendary Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden is driving the second Larry Morgan Racing Dodge Stratus this weekend. He still isn't in the show, but ran a 6.855-second elapsed time at 202.70 mph in his first effort since the 2002 CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz.