Brainerd: Mopar Saturday summary

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the final day of qualifying for this weekend's Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. NOTABLE: Gene Wilson, driver of the Mopar Parts...

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

NOTABLE: Gene Wilson, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, became the first driver to eclipse the 200-mph barrier at Brainerd International Raceway with a 200.23-mph pass in the fourth session. The run ended up being the third fastest of qualifying.

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

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

Dean Skuza headed into the final-qualifying session out of the field. Then the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T driver made a solid 4.932-second pass at 308.92 mph to move all the way up to the ninth slot.

"We had a little too much weight on the clutch all weekend," Skuza said."It was really a bad position to be in. We had someone, who hadn't worked on the clutch in a while, start doing the clutch again, and he didn't recognize an error that he made. He asked if we ever ran weight on the levers, and we hadn't. So we had to go back and change that between the today's two sessions. You wonder how you could overlook something like, but you would assume it was right and go on to other things. So going into that last session, we didn't know how to quantify that change. We had to pull that weight off there, that's why we were having trouble down low. We tried to slow everything down moderately, make a safe run, and get into the show. It all worked out.

"That would have been a bad mistake," Skuza continued."I'm thankful we caught it before that last run though. We were really nervous in between those two sessions. As soon as we caught the mistake, we weren't sure what to do with the car. We had to go by everything that we've learned all year. It was like coming out of the box with a one-shot qualifier. We solved it and we'll be good for tomorrow. If we win tomorrow, we can get to seventh. We want to aim for the top five here."

Skuza will take on Johnny Gray in the first round tomorrow.

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

Gene Wilson and his Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T made a little Brainerd International Raceway history after clocking a 200.23-mph pass during the fourth and final session. It was the first Pro Stock lap to ever surpass the 200-mph mark at the historic facility.

Wilson's 6.891-second elapsed time was good enough for the sixth position; and sets up a round one match up with Mark Whisnant.

"It was a real good pass for us." Wilson said."The right lane has been the best so far this weekend. Mopar is giving us great Hemi engines. Darrel (Alderman) and I both made very good runs out there. I think the elapsed time speaks for itself. We're really happy wit the way things turned out on this last run. Darrell and I switched cars this weekend, and I'm still trying to get acclimated and comfortable. I think we're coming around here a little bit."

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

What was going to be a promising final session of qualifying; turned to frustration as Larry Morgan's blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T was disqualified from tomorrow's elimination activity after being five pounds too light on the scales. Morgan had grabbed the 15th slot with a 6.910-second elapsed time at 199.35 mph, but was dropped back to 25th.

"We sure weren't short of weight because we had a lot on it," said an extremely disappointed Morgan."To be honest with you, we don't know why it was light. We just don't understand. It just happens. Thomas Lee was also down at the scales for 20 minutes. They finally got his right."

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

Darrell Alderman bumped into the field during the fourth and final qualifying session. The three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion and driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T ran a 6.901-second elapsed time at 199.40 mph. The 28-time NHRA national event winner will face off against Tom Martino in the first round.

"We had just a little left in it there," Alderman said."I shifted out of low a little bit too soon. I think we could have run a 6.89. We got in though. The car left good and straight and didn't shake the tires. That's what we've been looking for.

"The guys will tune it up tomorrow and we'll get through that tricky left lane," Alderman continued.

-mopar-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Gene Wilson , Tom Martino , Johnny Gray , Mark Whisnant