Mopar Speed news 2004-05-17

Mopar Speed Monday, May 17, 2004 NHRA Pro Stock Morgan qualifies number one, sets track records at Atlanta Larry Morgan clinched a monumental number one qualifier position at Atlanta (Ga.) Dragway behind the Hemi® power in his Mopar Dodge...

Mopar Speed
Monday, May 17, 2004

NHRA Pro Stock

Morgan qualifies number one, sets track records at Atlanta

Larry Morgan clinched a monumental number one qualifier position at Atlanta (Ga.) Dragway behind the Hemi® power in his Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T. Morgan set the track ET and mph records in qualifying. He was the only driver to post times in the "seventies" - a 6.796- second pass at 203.80 mph. Morgan is the first Pro Stock driver other than Greg Anderson to be No. 1 qualifier in 12 races.

On Sunday, Morgan drove past three opponents before falling to Anderson, who has won five straight races, in a the final. Morgan put on a great show of sportsmanship in the semifinals when he waited as long as he could while the team of opponent Kurt Johnson struggled to get their car started. Morgan finally staged and left after the starter's persistent encouragement.

Darrell Alderman, a three-time Pro Stock world champion, also had his best weekend of the season at Atlanta, qualifying a season-best fifth and racking up a round win against Ron Krisher.

Kenny Koretsky drove his Dodge Stratus to his best qualifying position of the season behind his Larry Morgan-built Hemi engine. Koretsky defeated Rickie Smith in the first round of eliminations, his first round win of the season.

Allen Johnson, who won at Atlanta in 2002, missed "The Show" by only .014-seconds. Johnson did clinch a spot in the King Demon Crown event, which will take place next weekend at Route 66 Raceway. The event sets the top-eight Pro Stock qualifiers from the previous 12 months against one another for a $50,000 top prize. This will be Johnson's second-straight King Demon appearance, where he will drive the only Dodge vehicle.

The next event on the NHRA POWERade schedule is the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago set for this weekend. Qualifying will air Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. and repeat Sunday from 3 to 5 a.m. Eliminations will run from 7 to 10 p.m. on Sunday and repeat Monday from 1:30 to 4 a.m. All coverage will air on ESPN2. Times are Eastern.

"The car ran great and felt extremely good. We're elated that we went out there and ran so good. We couldn't be any happier unless we had pulled out a win in the final round.

"Now we're only 6 points out of third. We need to go up to Chicago and win one now. Anything can happen in this sport, and that's what's so exciting."
    -- Larry Morgan picked up his first top-qualifier spot since 1991 at Atlanta and drove to his first final round appearance of the season over the weekend.

NHRA Funny Car

"It wasn't a shame we had to run Scelzi in the final ... it was great, actually. It's a shame we both couldn't win. That Oakley team, they're stout. They're good friends of ours, a close-knit group of people. They're over here helping us all the time, we're helping them all the time.

"The points are the same, the money is the same, but there are some places that just mean more than other places. For me [Atlanta] is one of those places because it's where I first saw drag racing as a young kid."
    -- Whit Bazemore (left) defeated teammate Gary Scelzi (right) in the finals yesterday at Atlanta Dragway, where Bazemore grew up dreaming about drag racing.

Bazemore topples teammate Scelzi for Atlanta victory

Whit Bazemore was the victor of an all-Mopar, all-Don Schumacher Racing final round in NHRA POWERade Funny Car competition at Atlanta (Ga.) Dragway yesterday. The Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T of Bazemore bettered teammate Gary Scelzi's Hemi-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T, the first time the two have met in a final round.

The pair left with nearly identical reaction times, but Scelzi's tires went up in smoke at the hit of the throttle, and Bazemore cruised to a 5.025-second ET at 299.80 mph.

With the victory, Bazemore jumped up to second place in the Funny Car standings. Scelzi moved up to fifth place in the standings with his solid performance in Atlanta.

"It's a good day for us," said Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff. "We're really encouraged with the progress that we've been making here lately. We've made an awful lot of changes to this thing and now we've picked a combination that we're going to stick with and try to make work."

The two Dodges, which both wear associate Mopar sponsorship, dismissed an impressive list of opponents that includes Ron Capps, Jim Head, Del Worsham, Jerry Toliver, Bob Gilbertson and Tim Wilkerson.

The next event on the NHRA POWERade schedule is the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago set for this weekend. Qualifying will air Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. and repeat Sunday from 3 to 5 a.m. Eliminations will run from 7 to 10 p.m. on Sunday and repeat Monday from 1:30 to 4 a.m. All coverage will air on ESPN2. Times are Eastern.

NHRA Sport Compact

Mohler sets record, Crawford top qualifier, Carlson debuts

The sport compact contingent from Team Mopar laid down some impressive numbers over the weekend at Atco (N.J.) Raceway in NHRA Summit Sport Compact competition.

Scott Mohler drove his Mopar Dodge Neon to the All Motor division finals for the second straight race, losing by a mere 0.077 seconds to Jesus Padilla. In qualifying on Saturday, Mohler blistered his own national class mph record when he flew through the traps at 136.00 mph.

"We couldn't get good traction this weekend, so our 60-foot times weren't what they usually are," Mohler said. "I think every pass we made was a 10-oh something. We know the nine [second pass] is there, it's just a matter of time before we find it. We're not worried."

Mike Crawford, Mohler's Darrell Cox Racing teammate, scored his first No. 1 qualifier spot of the season at Atco with an awesome 8.311-second pass at a personal best 181.06 mph. His top speed on that pass was nearly 3 mph faster than he had ever run before. Input shaft problems prevented Crawford from advancing beyond the semifinals.

Shaun Carlson and the Mopar Dodge SRT-4 from NuFormz Racing made a very impressive debut to their season at Atco in the Pro FWD class. The team fired the car up for the first time and posted very solid times in competition, after working countless long hours to get the nearly brand-new car prepared. Timeslips improved with each of three passes, which were basically televised test runs with a live enthusiastic audience.

"That's the first time that car moved under its own power," Carlson said. "We did it the right way and did it professionally. All of this hard work that we've done, I honestly feel that it was well worth it because everything worked. The car went down the track and didn't pop or miss or anything.

"We know now that we have all the right parts, it's just a matter of getting everything working together. It was nice to be back on the track again."

Carlson and NuFormz have had in integral role in preparing Team Mopar's Formula Drift entry, which won the first-ever series event in April. Carlson also made his highly-impressive NHRA Pro Stock debut earlier this season.

In the Sport FWD class, Steve Lockett drove his Dodge Neon to victory, after racking up the No. 1 qualifying position as the only domestic car in his class.

Mopar will take center stage in the next NHRA Sport Compact event, scheduled to take place at the picturesque Bandimere Speedway near Denver, June 12-13. Stay tuned to Mopar Speed for event preview information. For ticket information, visit Bandimere's site.

"It's amazing what these Mopar parts can do," Mohler said about his Darrell Cox-built 2.4 L naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine. "We're running stock valvetrains and crank, and we're spinning it up to 10,000 rpm. I don't think that's what the engineers originally planned for this setup, but it's working for us."
    -- Scott Mohler drove to the final round and built onto his national class mph record at Atco (N.J.) Raceway over the weekend.

Shaun Carlson made his season premiere at Atco, recording impressive times in the first full passes by his Mopar Dodge SRT-4.

WoO Late Models

Francis wins at Eagle Raceway

Steve Francis used his Gary Stanton-built Mopar powerplant to work the outside groove of Eagle Raceway and come away with a victory Friday in Lincoln, Neb. Francis' tires and setup allowed him to take the high-line and lap several cars on his way to his second victory of the season.

Francis racked up his 10th top-five finish of the season Saturday, with a fifth-place finish at Farley (Iowa) Speedway.

Francis is scheduled to hit the track next in the Show Me 100 in West Plains, Mo., an unsanctioned competition set for May 28-29.

Other News

Hubinette takes Zetsches for a ride

Team Mopar drifting superstar Samuel Hubinette treated Chrysler Group President and CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche and his son Gregor, who is an avid fan of drifting, to special rides in a Dodge Viper SRT-10 over the weekend at the Chrysler Group's "People, Pride and Product" employee appreciation event held at the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome.

Hubinette completed several drifting manuvers with his passengers, a sample of the moves that Hubinette used to win the inaugural Formula Drift Championship event in April.

Hubinette's next Formula D event is scheduled June 12 in Houston.

"It was exciting to get to introduce Dr. Zetsche to the sport of drifting. I am honored that I got to show him what the SRT-10 can do. It was also exciting to get to interact with the employees of DaimlerChrysler and to show them the outstanding vehicles their work creates."
    -- Samuel Hubinette, on taking Dr. Dieter Zetsche and his son for a spin in a Dodge Viper SRT-10.

WoO Sprints

Danny Lasoski continued to build on his uphill momentum last week in World of Outlaws Sprint Series competition. Lasoski continues to chip away at point leader

Danny Lasoski and the No. 20 team from Tony Stewart Motorsports continued to gain momentum last week behind the strength of their Paul Kistler-built Mopar engine. Lasoski picked up a second-place finish in the A-main event at Tri-City (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday, putting himself only 35 points out of first in the series points chase.

The World of Outlaws visited K-C Raceway in Ohio last Tuesday, where Lasoski won the B-main event en route to a 13th place A-main finish.

The WoO sprinters move north to Princeton (Minn.) Speedway this Friday and Saturday for the Princeton Nationals.

Televised WoO racing action can be found almost every Wednesday on the Outdoor Channel. Check your local listings.


Musgrave leads laps at Mansfield, looks for repeat at Lowe's

Ted Musgrave led 58 laps at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway yesterday, but a necessary green flag pit stop kept him from logging a top-10 finish at the .44-mile bullring. He finished the race in 13th position, in what was the first NASCAR national touring series event in Ohio since 1954.

"It was extremely hard to pass, and track position was the key," Musgrave said. "We didn't expect the rest of the field to be able to go the distance without pitting again, but they were able to and that put us back at the end of the pack."

Musgrave moved up one spot to 12th-place in the point standings.

The team is set to return to the site of their first of three victories in 2003: Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"As bad as we started that race last year, coming back to win the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event was a great success for Mopar and the Ultra Motorsports team." Musgrave said. "The fact that Charlotte is our hometown made the win even more memorable."

The race at Lowe's is scheduled for this Friday. Check out live coverage on Speed Channel beginning at 8:30 p.m, Eastern.

Ted Musgrave won the NCTS event at Lowe's Motor Speedway last May. He and the No. 1 Mopar team look to boost their season with a repeat performance there this Friday.

"Any time you start a season with new people, like we have, it takes awhile to get everyone acclimated and into a rhythm," Musgrave said.

"The season is so spread out at the beginning of the year; you can't get a rhythm or momentum going. We've been testing to help make improvements, and we feel we're starting to turn the corner. The Mopar Dodge Ram will be up front sooner rather than later."

USAC Sprint

Davey Ray has helped give Wilke-PAK Motorsports the lead in the USAC National Midget Series owner points standings.

USAC teams head to Terre Haute

Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises and Wilke-PAK Motorsports will return to action this week at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in USAC Midget competition for Team Mopar. Josh Wise (TSRE) and Davey Ray (Wilke-PAK) will look for their first USAC National Midget Series wins in the 53rd Annual "Clabber Girl Hut 100" on Friday. Wilke-PAK Motorsports leads the USAC National Midget Series Car owner standings entering Friday's event.

Jay Drake and Cory Kruseman will then take to the 1/2-mile clay oval on Saturday for Team Mopar and TSRE in USAC National Sprint Car competition at Terre Haute. Drake leads the USAC National Sprint Car Series point standings heading into the 34th Annual "Tony Hulman Classic." Kruseman will enter the event fourth in USAC points.


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About this article
Series Drag , NASCAR Truck , NHRA , USAC , World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jim Head , Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Bob Gilbertson , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Ted Musgrave , Danny Lasoski , Kenny Koretsky , Tim Wilkerson , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Allen Johnson , Rickie Smith , Josh Wise , Davey Ray , Jerry Toliver , Don Schumacher , Shaun Carlson , Steve Lock , Steve Francis , Mike Neff , Samuel Hubinette