Team Mopar Gainesville Finals Notes

GAINESVILLE, Fla (March 19. 2000) - The new Mopar Hemi Pro Stock engine, driven by Darrell Alderman, qualified for its first NHRA Pro Stock event of 2000 at this weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals. The event also marked the first time this year...

GAINESVILLE, Fla (March 19. 2000) - The new Mopar Hemi Pro Stock engine, driven by Darrell Alderman, qualified for its first NHRA Pro Stock event of 2000 at this weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals.

The event also marked the first time this year that two Dodge Avengers were in the final field for an NHRA event. Both Alderman and Larry Morgan, however, were defeated in the first round of final eliminations.

Alderman, the 15th place qualifier lost to Jeg Coughlin, while Larry Morgan, the 14th quickest qualifier was defeated by Troy Coughlin.

Morgan is expected to field a Hemi-powered Dodge Motorsports Pro Stock Avenger the NHRA's next event in Las Vegas.

In Federal Mogul Funny Car, it was a Dodge meet Dodge world for the finals, with Frank Manzo's Kendall Motor Oil/Team Mopar Dodge Avenger beating Bob Newberry's Newberry Racing Dodge Avenger. It was Manzo's first national event appearance of 2000. He is the defending series champion.

In Super Stock, Mason Michigan's Richard Beshore and his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Hemi were defeated in the final round by Rod Lightner.

DARRELL ALDERMAN - TEAM MOPAR PRO STOCK DODGE AVENGER

"All in all, it was a step forward. It's tough to run against Jeg (Coughlin) in the first round. I've got a lot of respect for him. We would have loved a win here, but of course we didn't get it. As the year goes on, we're going to be more competitive. It's not going to be long before those win lights come on It's coming.

"The goal is to run as many good runs as possible. We weren't fast enough here. but we learned a lot that we'll put into the program for the next race."

LARRY MORGAN - DODGE MOTORSPORTS PRO STOCK DODGE AVENGER

"It was a cockpit failure. I got distracted after it popped out of second gear on the burnout. I figured we might have actually lost second gear. Our final run today would have put us in the top eight in the field, and that was with a headwind. That should tell you how good we can be."

Team Mopar driver Darrell Alderman and Dodge Motorsports' Larry Morgan put their Pro Stock Dodge Avengers into the 16-car field for Sunday's NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway.

Morgan's Dodge Motorsports Pro Stock Avenger was the quickest of the Dodges, with a best run of 6.934 sec./198.93 mph, which he turned in Friday afternoon's second session. He qualified 14th. Alderman qualified 15th in the Team Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Avenger with a run of 6.938 sec/197.74. Alderman's best run came in the first round.

DARRELL ALDERMAN - TEAM MOPAR PRO STOCK DODGE AVENGER

"We're surprised how good the Hemi already is. It's an entirely new combination, and it's great to see it running like this. I'm pleased with the progress that David (Nickens) and the guys have been able to make. I believe this is the engine that's going to put us back in the winner's circle. In the long term, I think this is going to be the engine to beat.

"The fans have been going crazy for this new Mopar Hemi. It means a lot to see all that support.

"For tomorrow, we're going to stick with the setup we've got. Everything looks great - we're just going to go out there, drive it, and see what we can do"

LARRY MORGAN - DODGE MOTORSPORTS PRO STOCK DODGE AVENGER

"I don't know which is better, being qualified today, or knowing next time out (Las Vegas) we'll have the new Hemi to run. Both are a big boost for this team.

"We've got the Hemi R&D program running full-strength back at the shop so that the team can focus on its job at the track. We're completely focused on tomorrow.

"Talk about fan excitement about this new engine - we brought one with us on the truck, and unloaded it for display. There was a crowd four-deep standing around asking questions. It was like a herd.

"We made a tune up and ran on soft tires today. Basically, we just ran our race-day setup. We think we're in great shape for tomorrow. We're going to do our best to bring this Dodge a win."

JOHN BAUMGARTNER, MANAGER NHRA OPERATIONS, DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORP.

"We're happy to see both a Mopar and a Dodge car in the field. Like all of our drivers, Darrell and Larry are tough, experienced competitors. We're committed to seeing them to the winner's circle. Needless to say, we're thrilled with the progress we're making with the Hemi. The whole company will be celebrating the Hemi's first event qualification, knowing that it won't be the last."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Newberry , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Larry Morgan , Frank Manzo