Pomona III: Mopar Saturday notes

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10, 2001) - Todd Patterson made a strong statement in the final day of qualifying ever for the Pro Stock Truck category at this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. The Dodge ...

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 10, 2001) - Todd Patterson made a strong statement in the final day of qualifying ever for the Pro Stock Truck category at this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.

The Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck veteran clicked off a 7.435-second elapsed time at 181.18 mph to collect the fourth-qualified position. Patterson will face off against Lou Ficco, Jr. in the first round of eliminations.

"We knew that Saturday morning was going to be the best run," said Patterson, who made his top pass in the third session. "We knew the best lane was the left and tuned up the best we could. It went on right through there. We got back to where we wanted in the top four. We're going to have that all important lane choice heading into competition tomorrow."

Patterson has been hot recently, making semifinal round appearances in five of the last seven NHRA national events.

"If you would have asked me yesterday, I would have said the left lane was definitely the best," Patterson continued. "Today, a couple of guys have made some good runs over there in the right lane. We had a lot of cloud cover in the early part of the day, and that lane didn't see the bald spots form like over in the right lane on Thursday and Friday. Who knows? We're just going to have to wait and see what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. It could be a deal where the right lane comes back around."

Skuza Makes Top Half

Dean Skuza continued his mastery during qualifying by posting a 4.818-second elapsed time at 314.24 mph. The Brecksville, Ohio resident collected the seventh slot and will face off against Frank Pedregon in the first round of eliminations.

"We were going for the 4.70's in that last pass," Skuza said. "We've been pretty consistent this weekend and we've run pretty well. We have a lot of data and we know what we need to do. We also have lane choice to open up and I think we have something for them tomorrow. This is the last race in the R/T body."

One Eaton To Take Final Shot

Craig Eaton and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck will take one final shot at capturing a national event victory tomorrow. The Phoenix, Ariz. resident ran a 7.452-second elapsed time at 181.72 mph to grab the ninth qualified position, setting up a round one match up with No. 8 qualifier Mike Coughlin.

"We really should be running faster on these last two runs than we did," Eaton said. "We haven't changed too much on the truck. We figured on the first run today that we should have had a 7.42 or a 7.43. Then this afternoon, we should have been somewhere in that range as well. We have to figure this out because we haven't changed anything."

Father Dale Eaton, who pilots the Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T, didn't make the final-round pass he wanted. Eaton, father of Craig in the only father-and-son duo in the Pro Stock Truck category, made his final pass in the category at 7.505 seconds at 180.62 mph.

"That's what always happens when you run slow - you don't qualify," Eaton said. "We just missed it again. It's over now and we won't worry about it. It's one of those things that just happen. Craig is slowing down to and I don't know why that is either. Usually we tune them up and they slow down, but we haven't changed anything this weekend on his truck."

Alderman Grabs 12th Osborne Closes Out Season

Darrell Alderman and the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T drove to the 12th-qualified position and will take on Warren Johnson in the first round of competition. The three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion clocked a 6.875-second pass at 200.50 mph in today's third session.

Both Alderman and Johnson have combined for eight Winston World Titles and 114 national event victories in their storied NHRA careers.

"The thing of it is that its only .029-seconds between first and 16," Alderman said. "We ran well in the left lane this morning, but we were a little light in the clutch and knew we had more in the thing. We think we can run a high 6.86 over there. I shook in second in the right lane and shifted it a little early so I could get it down the track. I think lane choice will still be a factor tomorrow."

Mark Osborne didn't end the season the way he wanted. Osborne, who drives the other Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, missed the top 16 with a 6.894-second elapsed time at 200.38 mph.

"We picked up a hundredth on every run," Osborne noted. "We just didn't progress on it as fast as some of the other teams. It just seemed like we couldn't run in the middle of the track. It's one of those times. You don't ever want to DNQ in the final race of the season."

Osborne went on to talk about his 2001 season.

"We could have finished as high as third this weekend in the points, but it looks like I'm going to drop to seventh," Osborne added. "All in all, I've had a pretty good season. There were some things I could have done better, and some times we could have done worse. I'm pretty blessed with what went on this season though."

Morgan Cracks Top 16

Larry Morgan did it again. With his back against the wall and the Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T outside the field, the Newark, Ohio resident vaulted into the 15th-qualified position with a 6.879-second lap at 200.95 mph in the final session. Morgan will take on long-time rival Bruce Allen in the first round of eliminations.

"Right now, I'm just so pumped up about that run," said a pleased Morgan. "This whole crew just stepped up to the plate today. We had a malfunction in our first run today with the two-step. I didn't abort the run, but we only had four gears. I knew we had some power because I run 200 mph with four gears. I just so happy because all the guys at the shop whom have worked so hard this year. I just want to win this final race for Dodge."

-Mopar.com-

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