Brainerd: Mopar Friday summary

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. NOTABLE: Greg Stanfield and DBP Motorsports Dodge...

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

NOTABLE: Greg Stanfield and DBP Motorsports Dodge Neon R/T Pro Stock entry are skipping this weekend's activity at BIR to concentrate on qualifying for the 48th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Labor Day weekend. The rookie from Bossier City, La., has qualified for two of the last three NHRA national events, including his first category semifinal during the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo.

With rain causing multiple delays, the second round of Funny Car qualifying was cancelled due to darkness.

The following are notes and quotes from today's qualifying activity.

DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T

Dean Skuza powered through the quarter mile with a 5.155-second elapsed time at 296.44 mph, nabbing the provisional eighth-qualifying position. The Brecksville, Ohio, resident and pilot of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T Nitro Funny Car not only has qualifying for this race on his mind, but capturing the eight and final spot for the annual Budweiser Shootout during the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

"We were just trying to go down the track," Skuza said."At least were in the top half after today. We have more than enough data to run tomorrow. The track is not good as far as the condition of the surface. The concrete is chunking up and cracking and its quickly deteriorating. That's the bad news. The good news is that their going to break ground right after we leave here and we'll have an all-new surface for next year. The track conditions that we ran on were probably as good as were going to get here. It was clean, cool and probably a little too much for what we went up there with. We'll be fine"

Skuza sits in the eighth slot; and is battling Tommy Johnson, Jr., for that final position in the Shootout.

GENE WILSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Gene Wilson and the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T barely missed the top 16 after the first day of activity. Wilson, a 2002 NHRA Pro Stock rookie of the year candidate, ran a 7.015-second lap. The bump spot currently is a 7.011.

"This is my first time here at Brainerd obviously," Wilson said."I believe the right lane has a little bit of an advantage and; unfortunately for Darrell (Alderman) and I, we didn't run very well. We look for our times to definitely improve."

LARRY MORGAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Larry Morgan and the blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, coming off his rousing victory at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., two weekends ago, sits on the outside of the field after the first round.

Morgan drove to a 7.021-second elapsed time at 196.87 mph; but was frustrated with the track conditions.

"We had a better run in the second session," Morgan said."I wish the NHRA had prepared the track better in the first session. We were a little better and we should be fine for tomorrow."

DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Darrell Alderman, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, failed the crack the top 16 with a 7.021-second elapsed time at 196.96 in the first session. The three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion is aiming for his second top-half qualifying effort of the season.

"We can run a lot quicker," Alderman said."We just didn't have a good run that time. We're looking forward to the run in the morning. We'll be over in the right lane because it seems like the better one right now. We need to get rid of some of that tire shake. The track is just awful too. I'll do a better job of driving tomorrow."

-mopar-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Tommy Johnson , Gene Wilson , Greg Stanfield