BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Mopar Parts NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at the Bristol Dragway. NOTABLE: Darrell Alderman's Pro Stock crew chief Rickie...
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Mopar Parts NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the first day of qualifying for this weekend's Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at the Bristol Dragway.
NOTABLE: Darrell Alderman's Pro Stock crew chief Rickie Smith ran a third Nickens Brothers Racing Dodge Neon R/T. The King, N.C., resident is shaking out the bugs on a Jerry Bickel-built machine. Alderman and Gene Wilson's Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T's were built by Illinois chassis builder Rick Jones.
The following are notes and quotes following today's qualifying activity.
DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T
Dean Skuza stepped up the program this evening by driving his Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T to the fifth-qualifying position. Skuza clicked off a 4.909-second lap at 300.73 mph.
"I can see why people were mowing down cones out there," said Skuza, talking about some of the other drivers."The car moved a lot over in the right lane. It was bad. You just have to get in at night, especially with the new tires. The conditions here tonight are conducive to making good runs. We probably had a mid-4.90 in the first round, but we wore too much clutch. It was a case of overcompensating for the problems we've had in the past. It was an easy problem to fix and all we did was move the clutch timers in a little bit. It's hard to manufacture wear. Now we can run in the heat and in the cool. With these conditions, you can't run the 4.70's like we're used to running. That has a lot to do with the new tires."
GENE WILSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Will Bristol be the weekend? So far, so good for rookie Mopar driver Gene Wilson, as the 2001 IHRA World Champion came a step closer to making his first NHRA Pro Stock field with a 6.897-second elapsed time at 200.05 mph. After the first two rounds, Wilson and the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T sits in the 10th slot.
"It feels really good," Wilson said."We come into the Bristol race, kind of a hometown race for everybody on my team. Everybody is doing a great job this weekend and I'm really proud of where we sit right now. It's a tough field to break into."
LARRY MORGAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Larry Morgan and the blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T missed the top 16, despite posting a quick 6.921-second lap at 200.05 mph. Morgan talked about his day.
"I don't know what happened," Morgan said."It broke loose at the front of the track and it fell off like I shot the switch off."
DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman grabbed the 12th-qualifying position with a 6.899-second elapsed time at 200.38 mph. Alderman logged his time in the first session.
Alderman felt he missed a golden opportunity to improve in the second round.
"I went on the limiter and was trying to stage as shallow as I could," Alderman said."It flickered the light when I got in, but it went to 60-foot and it was over. It was a better run on that one. We're still in and, who knows, we might pick up tomorrow."