Bristol: Mopar Saturday summary

Mopar Motorsports Stanfield collects the sixth slot at Bristol Bazemore qualifies in the top half BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 26, 2003) -- Greg Stanfield led the way for the Mopar Pro Stock program as he grabbed the sixth slot for tomorrow's Mac Tools...

Mopar Motorsports
Stanfield collects the sixth slot at Bristol
Bazemore qualifies in the top half

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 26, 2003) -- Greg Stanfield led the way for the Mopar Pro Stock program as he grabbed the sixth slot for tomorrow's Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at the Bristol Dragway.

The Bossier City, La., resident and driver of the DBP Enterprises Dodge Neon R/T, logged a 6.891-second elapsed time at 199.58 mph; setting up a round one match with Mark Whisnant.

"That last session just tells you how tough Pro Stock is," Stanfield noted. "We actually made a real nice run on that last one. Let's see if we can't do something on race day. I think it turned out okay for us.

"We were a little light on clutch initially," continued Stanfield, who made the field during the last session. "We weren't sure what to look for after the rain storm. The track recovered well and thanks for the great Hemi power."

Allen Johnson missed his first show of the season -- driving to a 6.915-second elapsed time at 198.67 mph. Johnson, who is from nearby Greeneville, Tenn., missed qualifying for the field by three thousandths of a second.

"We've had trouble on the engine side," Johnson said. "And its real disappointing not to qualify in front of all my hometown fans and all the Mopar folks. We're going back to the shop, regroup, and see if we can make better runs next weekend in Atlanta. Last year, we didn't qualify here, but then won in Atlanta. So let's hope we can do it again."

Teammate Darrell Alderman suffered a similar fate -- also not qualifying for his first NHRA national event of the year in his Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T. The Morehead, Ky., resident clicked off a weekend best elapsed time of 6.936 seconds at 197.83 mph.

"We really shook the tires on the last run," Alderman said. "We had the weather to get in, but we just didn't make a good run during that period. Definitely not what we wanted."

Mopar second-year Pro Stock pilot Gene Wilson failed to crack the top 16. The 2002 NHRA Rookie of the Year ran a 6.942-second lap at 198.88 mph. Wilson talked about his weekend.

"We completed a lot of testing down in Atlanta," Wilson said. "We felt like we were running in similar conditions -- so though that we had found a gearing package that we liked. The air was just so much better than what we anticipated this weekend and it bit us."

Larry Morgan did not crack the top 16 qualifiers in his Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T. the Newark, Ohio, native ran a 6.988-second weekend best elapsed time at 197.02 mph.

Bazemore Blisters Bristol Quarter Mile...

Whit Bazemore piloted the Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car to the fifth qualified position today. Bazemore ran a solid 4.807-second elapsed time at 317.57 mph; and will face off against Tim Wilkerson in round one.

"We made a decent run, but we were hoping for a little more," Bazemore commented. "It would have been better for everybody if we had gotten to run during the day. We would have been more prepared for tomorrow, but hopefully we have a good, sunny day tune up for tomorrow.

"This track is just awesome," Bazemore added. "This is absolutely a first-class facility. It's a very refreshing experience when you come to a track like this --which is run so professionally. Everyone is friendly and they treat you like a customer. You know that when you bring sponsors here -- or friends and family -- you're going to be treated right. It's a model for our sport."

Gary Scelzi qualified in the eighth position, maneuvering his Oakley-sponsored Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car to the top half of the field. The California resident will take on Dean Skuza in the first round of eliminations after posting a 4.869-second elapsed time at 320.43 mph during Friday night's second session.

"We went into uncharted territories in that last run," said Scelzi, on his final qualifying pass, which turned up tire smoke. "We tried to run better than our 4.79 (second) pass in Pomona (Calif.). It planted a tire so hard onto the wheelie bar -- unloaded the car and smoked the tires. We ran 4.86 and 4.87, and we know what we've done so far this weekend, and we know what supercharger we're going to use. All the things we've had problems with before looks like they are gone. Now we're coming back with the stuff that is right -- so I think we'll have a good race car for tomorrow.

"The car is drivable again and not doing wicked things," Scelzi continued. "It's not carrying the front end or doing anything strange and that's how you race.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Larry Morgan , Gene Wilson , Greg Stanfield , Tim Wilkerson , Allen Johnson , Mark Whisnant