Columbus: Mopar quailfying notes

KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio. (June 16, 2001) - Dean Skuza retained his number one qualified position in his Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car heading into tomorrow's NHRA National Event at National Trail Raceway. Despite smoking the tires in the...

KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio. (June 16, 2001) - Dean Skuza retained his number one qualified position in his Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car heading into tomorrow's NHRA National Event at National Trail Raceway.

Despite smoking the tires in the fourth session, Skuza, from nearby Brecksville, Ohio, pleased the many friends and family in attendance by clicking off a 4.885-second elapsed time at 305.08 mph in Friday's second session. It was Skuza's second pole (Checkers Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway earlier this season) of the season and third of his career.

"We didn't go for any records today, and that's unfortunate," said Skuza, who has two NHRA national event victories to his credit. "We were really trying to learn something for race day tomorrow. We ran a 5.09 in the first run and I clicked it off pretty early, and I smoked the tires in the second run so we didn't get a lot of information there.

"It's a little disheartening," Skuza added. "The 4.88 is cool and everything, and being number one is great, but running well tomorrow is way more important to me.

"We all know when the sun come out that it's a different ballgame. It's more of a finesse game. I think it falls into our lap when it gets hot and sticky because our crew chiefs - Lance Larsen and John Stewart - are awesome in those conditions. It's their forte and that's when they really shine."

Osborne Steps Up

Alderman Misses Third Show of the Season

Mark Osborne, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Pro Stock entry, headed into the third-qualifying session in the 25th position. Following today's third round, the Abingdon, Va. resident drove to the top half of the field in the seventh slot.

Osborne took advantage of the morning session and better air quality to clock a 6.969-second elapsed time at 198.50 mph. The effort sets up a round one match up with Bruce Allen.

"I think we gained a little bit on the last session," Osborne said. "It was about a five hundredths of a second slower session, and we only slowed down three hundredths - which is real good. I think we worked well with the car this weekend.

"We made a pretty good lap in the third session," Osborne added. "It doesn't take much to move way up in a field that is very close. We have a real tough competitor in Bruce Allen tomorrow."

Three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman didn't have as good of luck. Alderman drove his Mopar Parts-backed Dodge R/T to a 7.009-second elapsed time at 197.59 mph.

"There was just no track out there," Alderman said. "The car shook real hard and I just had too click it. It sure was a disappointing weekend."

Patterson Grabs the 10th Slot

The Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck entry of Todd Patterson will start tomorrow's event from the 10th-qualifying position. Patterson drove to a 7.566-second elapsed time at 178.45 mph and will face Randy Daniels in the first round of eliminations.

"We knew we were better than what we showed after the third session," said Patterson, who sat 13th going into the fourth and final qualifier. "We only picked up three-hundredths from last night and we should have picked up seven hundredths. We just made a bad set up call.

"We corrected that problem and went out and adjusted for the hot track," Patterson continued. "We made our best run in the same hot conditions we'll be facing tomorrow. It's encouraging because we have something to build on. I wish I had lane choice, but we don't have it. I'll just have to out drive him tomorrow."

A Frustrating Weekend for Morgan

Hometown hero Larry Morgan ended a frustrating weekend at his home track with a 7.027-second lap at 197.59 mph. With a bump of 6.983-seconds, the Newark, Ohio resident will have to look forward to next weekend's Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., located on the outskirts of St. Louis.

"It got out of the groove at about the 330-foot mark," noted Morgan, talking of his fourth and final qualifying run. "I spun the tires all the way down and I thought I was going to crash the thing. These are the worst track conditions I've ever been on.

"I can't wait to get to St. Louis," Morgan continued. "I think we'll be okay there. Al we have to do is make the right run at the right time. It's not an issue of power, we just need to get the set ups right."

Eaton's Improving

Craig and Dale Eaton, the only father-son Pro Stock Truck tandem in NHRA, made marked improvements to their Dodge Dakota R/T entries this weekend, despite not cracking the top-16 qualifiers.

Craig Eaton, driver of the Dodge Motorsports mount, managed a 7.638-second lap at 175.73 mph to garner the 19th qualifying position.

"We actually made a pretty good run that last session," said C. Eaton, commenting on the hot-and-sticky track conditions. "Of course it was too hot to get in at that point. I think we did a pretty good job of judging the track this weekend. We put a new set of carburetors and we liked them, so we should have probably done it before that run because we might of got in.

"We're looking forward to St. Louis," C. Eaton continued. "We got some good track time on this hot surface this weekend. It will be the same next weekend, so we'll be a bit wiser."

Dale Eaton talked about his 7.638/176.49 effort.

"We had some ups and downs," D. Eaton said. "When we get the new trucks, we'll definitely have some potential. I think we both ran reasonably well if you look at the numbers and you look at the potential of the new truck, we should do well. We should be better in St. Louis as well.

"We learned a lot here," Eaton added. "And we'll just give it a go."

Eaton Enterprises, LLC., will be taking delivery of their next-generation Dodge Dakota R/T's following the Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

-Mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson , Bruce Allen