Indianapolis: Dodge Motorsports event report

Osborne Drives to Fourth Final of the 2001 Season Alderman Loses to Teammate in Round One CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2001) - Mark Osborne is getting familiar with final-round appearances this season. Unfortunately for the Abingdon, Va., resident,...

Osborne Drives to Fourth Final of the 2001 Season
Alderman Loses to Teammate in Round One

CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2001) - Mark Osborne is getting familiar with final-round appearances this season. Unfortunately for the Abingdon, Va., resident, the memory of his fourth final of the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series season during the 47th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park won't be as sweet as it could have been.

Veteran tuner and driver Greg Anderson, despite leaving a little on the starting line to Osborne (.431-.474), took advantage of lane choice and nipped the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T driver in the lights. Anderson traveled the historic Indy quarter mile at 6.958 at 198.58 mph, while Osborne ran a 7.016-second elapsed time at 198.70 mph.

"We sure wanted that one," said a disappointed Osborne. "The new Neon was real fast all day, but it wasn't enough there at the end. I hated that we lost lane choice because I think it was the difference. I had a good light, but the car was real loose and shook through the middle part of the track

"I can't say enough for all the guys at Nickens Racing," Osborne added. "They have found a lot of horsepower with the Hemi engine. Our new Neon's aren't so bad either. We almost won the U.S. Nationals, so we're pretty pleased."

Osborne advanced to the finals by defeating teammate Darrell Alderman in the first round, Brad Jeter in round two and Jim Yates in the semifinals. In the semifinals, Yates put a starting line advantage (.470-.493) on Osborne, but the new Neon R/T chased Yates down and squeaked past at the stripe. Osborne clocked a 6.987-second lap to Yates' 7.011-second elapsed time.

Alderman, who drives the other Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, fell to Osborne in round one. Loose track conditions and some heat build up hurt the three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion as he moved around in the groove to run a 6.982-second lap at 197.42 mph.

"I played with him a little bit on the starting line," Alderman said. "I knew he was fast and I had to pull out some of the tricks. The car just didn't like those track conditions and it hurt us."

Patterson Loses in Second Round

Todd Patterson and his Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T made it to the second round of eliminations before losing to No. 1 qualifier Mike Coughlin. Patterson put a holeshot on Coughlin, but hot track conditions slowed the right lane. Coughlin posted a 7.546-second lap at 179.25 mph while Patterson drove to a 7.587-second elapsed time at 178.24 mph.

"I was real aggressive with the light," Patterson said. "We knew that we had to leave on him because the right lane was pretty tough out there. We had a pretty decent weekend. We'll go back to the shop, find some horsepower, and get them in Memphis (Tenn.)."

Patterson advanced to the second round by defeating John Coughlin in round one. The Augusta, Kan. resident drove to a 7.570-second elapsed time at 178.42 mph to outduel Coughlin's 7.676-second lap at 176.35 mph.

Skuza Crosses Centerline

Despite beating Frank Pedregon to the stripe, Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car driver Dean Skuza crossed the centerline and was disqualified in his first round run. Pedregon smoked the tires and only ran a 6.117-second lap at 154.69 mph.

"We just keep finding ways to lose," Skuza said. "I was turning the steering wheel to the right the whole way down, but it just kept moving over. This is so frustrating because we made a good run and had advanced to the second round. We figured out the problems, but it just didn't matter." Eaton's Out Early

Dale and Craig Eaton both fell in the first round of Pro Stock Truck eliminations, but it failed to dampen the spirits of the team that debuted their new Dodge Dakota R/T's this weekend.

Craig Eaton and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T lost to Jeff Gracia in round one. Gracia took a starting line advantage and posted a 7.582-second pass at 178.47 mph, as Eaton ran a 7.635-second elapsed time at 178.80 mph.

"We made a pretty decent run in that right lane," Eaton said. "Nobody ran really well in that lane, so we're pleased. That lane was real tricky for us all weekend because all of our good qualifying runs were in the left. It's a little bumpy down there and it got the tires to spin a little too much. All in all, I did a little bit better driving and I'm happy about that. For the first race for these new Dodge Dakota R/T's, it's been great. I'm really tickled."

Father Dale Eaton also suffered a first round defeat. The Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T driver ran a slower 7.684-second lap at 177.56 mph, as Taylor Lastor drove to a 7.538-second lap at 179.61 mph.

"It wasn't a good run," said the elder Eaton. "I just didn't do a very good job of driving. I left right with him, but didn't hit my shift points very well. We also slowed down quite a bit and probably wouldn't have beat him anyway. I haven't been in competition for so long that it's been kind of scary out there."

Dale Eaton's last race was when he qualified for the final NHRA national event at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway in 2000.

-Dodge Motorsports-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Darrell Alderman , Brad Jeter , Dean Skuza , Greg Anderson , Todd Patterson , Jeff Gracia , Mike Coughlin