Mopar Speed 2004-03-15

Mopar Speed Monday, March 15, 2004 NHRA Sport Compact Crawford wins season opener at California Mike Crawford relied on the durability of his Mopar parts to help him win the Hot Rod class of the NHRA Summit Sport Compact...

Mopar Speed
Monday, March 15, 2004

NHRA Sport Compact
Crawford wins season opener at California

Mike Crawford relied on the durability of his Mopar parts to help him win the Hot Rod class of the NHRA Summit Sport Compact season-opener yesterday at California Dragway.

Crawford watched two of his leading competitors break various parts and eliminate themselves from the race. After qualifying second, Crawford defeated Eric Del Rosario in Round One of Eliminations. In the semifinals, Gary Gardella was unable to stage his car against Crawford. In the other bracket semifinal, Marty Ladwig earned a single, but was also unable to stage, resulting in a rare double loss. Crawford carefully staged his car in the final round and, with no one in the opposite lane, eased his Mopar Dodge SRT-4 to his second-career NHRA victory.

"A 'W' is a 'W'," Crawford said. "The reliability and consistency of our Mopar parts helped keep us strong until the end."

Crawford's owner and engine builder, Darrell Cox, pointed out that they ran a conservative tuning because they plan to install some upgraded transmission parts before the next event.

"We took it easy on the car," Cox said. "But we still had some of the best back-half numbers in the class, and came out with a win. We're happy with the win, but we're definitely going to turn it up for the next race."

"Once we get our new tranny parts in," Crawford added, "we'll be able to really hit it at the starting line and use our horsepower the whole way down the track."

Crawford's teammate Scott Mohler received the team's share of bad luck in All Motor class competition. Mohler's Mopar Dodge Neon was not able to develop full power in qualifying. The team later discovered that a piece of rubber hose going to the inlet from the air intake was not functioning properly, robbing the engine of important horsepower.

The Team Mopar Sport Compact contingent is scheduled to return to action April 17-18 at the Florida NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park.

"The reliability and consistency of our Mopar parts helped keep us strong until the end.

"It feels good to start the season out with a win. We'll be in great shape if we can carry the momentum from this race through the rest of the year."
    -- Mike Crawford

World of Outlaws

This Mopar can really fly -- Danny Lasoski has gotten good at soaring far above his competition in WoO qualifying this season.

Lasoski notches fifth pole in six events

Danny "The Dude" Lasoski and the No. 20 World of Outlaws Series team used their prolific Mopar horsepower to capture their fifth "Quick Time" award of the season Friday at the Lone Star Speedway in Texas. Blistering the field with a lap of 13.373 seconds (107.180 mph) around the 4/10 Mile speedway, Lasoski defended the 13.057-second track record that he established in 2002.

Friday's preliminary event saw Lasoski follow his "Quick Time" with a seventh-place finish in the A-main. Inclement weather forced the cancellation of the March 13th finale, and the event will be rescheduled for October. The No. 20 team from Tony Stewart Motorsports currently sits fifth in World of Outlaws Series points.

The series will take a break from racing this weekend, resuming Texas racing action March 26 at the Thunder Valley Speedway, and March 27 at Houston Raceway Park.

Musgrave moves up 11 spots in standings after top-10 at AMS

Ted Musgrave picked up a top-10 finish Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Musgrave finished eighth, advancing his No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram 13 positions during the 200-mile race, the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at the famous 1.54-mile track.

Musgrave moved up 11 spots in the NCTS point standings, and now holds 13th position after two events.

Musgrave looks to further improve his ranking in the next NCTS event, scheduled for April 17 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Musgrave has earned the pole position at Martinsville in the two of the three most recent Truck events at the short track.

"We learned a lot today. It's tough coming to a new track. This [eighth-place finish] isn't what the Mopar team wants. I was hoping for at least a top-five, but at least a Dodge won. My hat's off to Bobby [Hamilton]."
    -- Ted Musgrave

WoO Late Model Series

Steve Francis hustled his Mopar to heats wins both Saturday and Sunday at Atomic Motor Speedway. He also picked fourth- and seventh-place finishes in the weekend's Feature events.

Francis wins heats, collects solid top-10 finishes

After a month-long break from racing, Mopar's Steve Francis found himself right back in the groove over the weekend at the Atomic Motor Speedway in Oak Ridge, Tenn. In the two-day event held Saturday and Sunday, Francis racked up two heat race wins and a dash event win in preliminary action on Saturday.

Francis also collected two top-10 finishes, taking the checkered flag in fourth and seventh place in Saturday and Sunday's feature events. "The Kentucky Colonel" is currently fifth in World of Outlaws Late Model Series points, only 14 markers out of first place.

The WoO Late Model Series resumes action in two weeks, making its second consecutive appearance in Tennessee at the Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. Following a non-points race on March 26, the WoO Late Model Series will host the "Lord of the Rings" on March 27 at Volunteer.

Further Events

USAC season kicks off at Copper World; Gatornationals mark NHRA POWERade return

USAC hits hard this weekend with a season-opening double feature, the "Copper World Classic," at Phoenix International Raceway. Thursday through Saturday, the USAC National Midget Series attacks the one-mile paved circuit. Friday through Sunday, the USAC Silver Crown Series will share the track with the Indy Racing League.

The NHRA POWERade series returns to action this weekend as well, as the Gatornationals hit Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. Gainesville is the site of Mopar Pro Stock legend Darrell Alderman's most recent victory.

Also, Larry Morgan looks to extend his semifinal appearance streak to three. We'll recap all the Mopar action in next Monday's Mopar Speed.

Qualifying for the Gatornationals will be televised on ESPN2, Sunday morning from 2:30-4:30 a.m. Two hours of Elimination coverage will air on ESPN2 Sunday evening starting at 11:30 p.m. Times are Eastern.

Team Mopar's USAC lineup includes accomplished drivers Dave Steele, Tracy Hines and Jay Drake (l-r). Steele is a three-time Copper World winner.

In addition, 2004 USAC Triple Crown winner J.J. Yeley is scheduled to drive the No. 111 Team Mopar Silver Crown entry for co-owners George Snider and Tony Stewart.


Drake to chat online tonight

Team Mopar's Jay Drake will be the featured guest on tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

Fans will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the open-wheel standout, as he fields questions from all over the world. Race fans are invited to log on to the interactive Web site to chat with the veteran race driver as he prepares for the upcoming Copper World Classic.

Drake, who became the fastest non-winged sprint car driver in the world last July when he circled Pikes Peak International Raceway at 144.95 mph in a Mopar-powered vehicle, will seek the USAC National Sprint and Silver Crown Series Championships for Team Mopar and Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises in 2004.

Team Mopar's Dave Steele is scheduled to chat next week in anticipation of the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale, scheduled for March 27 in California.


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About this article
Series Drag , NASCAR Truck , NHRA , USAC , World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Darrell Alderman , Larry Morgan , Ted Musgrave , Danny Lasoski , J.J. Yeley , Dave Steele , Jay Drake , Steve Francis