Pomona III: Mopar Friday qualifying notes

Craig Eaton Makes His Move Dale Eaton On the Bump POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2001) - Craig Eaton made the best pass of the year in his Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T in the second round of qualifying for this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern ...

Craig Eaton Makes His Move
Dale Eaton On the Bump

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9, 2001) - Craig Eaton made the best pass of the year in his Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T in the second round of qualifying for this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.

The younger Eaton grabbed the Mopar spotlight when he traveled the quarter mile in a 7.452-second elapsed time at a career best 181.72 mph, taking the fourth position.

"That was the best run that I've had all year long," said C. Eaton. "It was the best altitude-corrected run as well. Unfortunately it took us three races to find that miss. We essentially haven't done anything to the truck, except change some parts to find the miss. The chassis hasn't been changed and the motor is in same place. After we found the miss, the truck has really responded. When I let the clutch out and moved through the first three gears I said, 'Man, this is on a run.' I then concentrated on hitting the last two and it didn't surprise me when he told me I ran a 7.45."

The Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck of Dale Eaton still suffered from starting line woes. Eaton clicked off a 7.530-second lap at 180.62 mph to collect 16th.

"It wasn't good again," said the elder Eaton. "We're going to change everything but the motor - again. It was really a pretty sorry run. We didn't think that we ran a good speed tomorrow. Were' going to change the transmission, the oil pan, rear end gearings, four link and shocks. I don't know what else is back there, but we're going to change it. We're going to make the truck just like Craig's."

Skuza Stays Solid

Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car made another strong run, despite not improving on his 4.843-second elapsed time at 311.05 mph. The Brecksville, Ohio resident landed the fourth-qualified slot.

"We were lucky to make that last run," Skuza said. "We had a bunch of troubles in the pits prior to the run. I'm pretty happy we made a consistent run under the circumstances. We'll look at the data and see what wee need to do to qualify in the No. 1 position."

Patterson Still in Top Half

Todd Patterson and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck made a small improvement in elapsed time and moved into the eighth-qualified position. Patterson drove to a 7.470-second pass at 181.06 mph.

"We actually picked up a few thousandths over yesterday's run," Patterson said. "We went backwards on the ladder, but I figured that two or three guys were going to make better runs today. Now it appears that the right lane is going away a little faster than we thought. The right lane definitely seems to have the performance advantage right now. The good news is that we have the left lane tomorrow morning, which will be the best session anyway. We're just going to tune up and see what we can get out of it. We're going to try and lay down a number to get back in the top three of four."

Morgan Fails to Improve

Larry Morgan and the Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T failed to improve on his 6.918-second elapsed time at 200.41, falling to the 15th-qualified position.

"We drove through the clutch like we didn't know what the hell we were doing," said a frustrated Morgan. "If we ever figure out what were doing in the bell-housing, we're going to be bad to the bone. We had a good speed for the run, but it just takes off and stops. The left lane is a little better, so we're going to get it down that one."

Nickens Racing Out

It wasn't the results team owner David Nickens was looking for. The Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T's of Darrell Alderman and Mark Osborne both sit on the outside of the top 16 qualifiers after the first two sessions.

"We made a little better run on that last one and got some information for tomorrow," Osborne said. "We are in the bad lane to start the day tomorrow and I'm a little worried about that. We believe something is wrong with the motor."

Mopar Parts teammate Alderman, a three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion, was also disappointed.

"We shook the tires and I had to click it," Alderman said. "We were trying some things on that run and they didn't work. We're going to look at the notes and go back to what we know in the clutch area and see if we can't put this thing in the show."


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