Indianapolis: Mopar Saturday notes

CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 1, 2001) - Mark Osborne and the Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T fell from the number one slot to grab third after the second day of qualifying at the 47th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Osborne,...

CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 1, 2001) - Mark Osborne and the Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T fell from the number one slot to grab third after the second day of qualifying at the 47th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Osborne, who collected the pole for last year's event, did not improve on his 6.903-second elapsed time during last night's qualifying session. The Abingdon, Va., resident did break the track's speed record with a 200.74 mph lap in the second session.

"Today sure wasn't what yesterday was," Osborne said. "The track temperature will be down tomorrow, so we think we'll be running pretty well. We did put a little higher rear end in it because the track was hotter. We also put a lower gear in it and it just didn't like it."

Teammate Darrell Alderman improved over yesterday's elapsed time, but dropped to the 13th qualified position with a 6.925-second lap at 198.44 mph. The three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion hopes to improve tomorrow.

"We tried a different transmission ratio and tires on that last run," Alderman said. "We had a real good test on that combination because the car went in the air, moved to the left and went on through there. We knew it wasn't going to be as fast.

"We're going to change it back," Alderman added.

Skuza Drives to Tenth

A couple of tire-smoking passes during today's qualifying session dampened the spirit of the Mopar Parts Nitro Funny Car team of Dean Skuza. The two-time national event winner only dropped to tenth with his 4.880-second lap at 311.34 mph during yesterday's first session.

"We're completely lost," Skuza said. "We have something wrong with the clutch. It gave us fits in Brainerd (Minn.) and now it's giving us fits here."

Skuza smoked the tires in three of his four qualify passes at the most recent national event at Brainerd International Raceway.

Patterson Takes Ninth

Todd Patterson and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T ran a 7.520-second elapsed time at 179.06 mph, to take the ninth-qualified position. The Augusta, Kan., resident improved over the first session in elapsed time.

"We have picked up a hundredth on every run," Crew Chief Roy Simmons said. "We need to change some gearing and stuff. With the track getting hotter, and with all the trucks here because it's Indy, the track is tricky to work with."

Patterson commented on the day.

"For some reason, everyone picked up a lot more than we did," said Patterson, who sat on the pole during the last Pro Stock Truck event at Gateway International Raceway. "We're missing it somewhere. We don't know if the tune up is off or it's something in the set up. We're going to address these issues tonight. I still feel the Sunday morning session will be the most important and be the one that will really count. We're going to try to put as much information together and take the best shot at the race track that we can. I feel the left lane is the better lane, so we think we can lay down a good number tomorrow."

Dale Eaton Logs Tenth Craig Eaton Nabs 14th

Dale Eaton loves his new Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T. The Phoenix, Ariz., resident is vying to qualify for his first Pro Stock Truck race of the season after posting a 7.522-second elapsed time at a career best 179.90 mph.

"It was pressure time because I hadn't made a pass," Dale Eaton said. "We couldn't determine what the problem was, so we just changed everything. That last run felt good. It left well, ran straight and it was just a tenth of a mile per hour away from 180.

"Because it was straight and smooth, it really didn't feel that fast," Eaton said. "I've had 175 mph runs that felt a lot faster because we were moving all over the place. In fact, when he told me I ran a 7.52, I about fell over. That was only the fifth actual run on this truck, so it tells you where we could go if get the chance. It's pretty exciting in the Eaton camp."

Son Craig Eaton, driver of the other Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T, claimed the 14th position with a 7.529-second elapsed time at 179.54 mph. Eaton talked about the day.

"We're real happy," Craig Eaton said. "On that last run, I expected to pick up more than I did, and I only picked up a little bit. But we found a bad rear end and got lucky when we found it. We put a new rear end in it and it ran pretty good. From here, were just going to try to squeeze some more out of it.

Morgan On the Outside

It was a frustrating day for Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T driver Larry Morgan. After taking home the 16th position in the first round, Morgan failed to up a 6.964-second pass at 198.35 mph run.

"We just can't take enough clutch out of it," said a frustrated Morgan. "We have almost taken more clutch out of it this weekend than what we did in Denver. We just can't make a good run."

Nickens Out

Bo Nickens drove his Mopar-powered Dodge R/T to a solid 6.964-second pass at 197.83 mph. Despite not being in the show, Nickens had a better outing.

"We slipped the clutch a little bit," said Nickens, son of team owner David Nickens. "We broke a clutch disc on the run and probably should have went a 6.92 or 6.93. The morning will be the best session anyway, and that's all that matters. We have a good tune up for it and were going to see if we can't get into the show.

-Mopar

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