Indianapolis: Mopar Saturday notes

CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 2, 2000) - Saturday proved to be a productive day for Team Mopar's NHRA Winston Drag Racing program at the 46th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Darrell Alderman, Todd Patterson and Dean Skuza each made...

CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 2, 2000) - Saturday proved to be a productive day for Team Mopar's NHRA Winston Drag Racing program at the 46th annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Darrell Alderman, Todd Patterson and Dean Skuza each made their respective fields following the second day of qualifying.

Alderman and the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger hung onto the 12th-qualifying position with a 7.016-second elapsed time at 195.76 mph following Friday's first session. The three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World Champion was also the third quickest car in second-round activity.

"We're still running a little light, but we improved by two thousandths at the 60-foot mark," said Alderman of his second run. "We were the third quickest that session and I felt we improved the car. Anytime, especially with the competition of the class, you can run in the top three you've accomplished something."

The Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck team of Todd Patterson improved after every session and nabbed the 14th slot after the third round. The Kansas resident laid down a 7.669/172.87 combination.

"That was the first run on that new Magnum P5 engine," Patterson said. "I was outside the groove a little bit, which hurt our top speed. Heading into the final two sessions, if we keep improving the truck, we could crack the top half."

Dean Skuza, driver of the Matco Tools/Mopar Parts Dodge Avenger Nitro Funny Car, figured out the suburban Indianapolis quarter mile during his third qualifying run. The Ohio resident earned the 13th-qualifying position with a 5.129/299.93 effort.

"We wanted to be conservative, yet get into the show," Skuza noted. "The hot conditions proved to be a little tricky. Even with our advanced computer packages, it's still a guessing game at times. You can get close, but you never know."

Scott Geoffrion, driver of the other Team Mopar Dodge Avenger, missed the Pro Stock field after posting a 7.066/194.80 combination. It's been frustrating weekend for Geoffrion.

"We have shaken the tires, slid out of the groove and hurt a clutch," Geoffrion said. "Lets just hope tomorrow is a better day."

Dodge Motorsports driver Larry Morgan, breaking in a new car this weekend, failed to qualify for the field after posting a 7.096/194.97 weekend best.

Craig Eaton fell short of the field in his Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T Pro Stock Truck. Eaton drove to a 7.739/173.41 outing. The Team Mopar Dodge Dakota R/T of Dale Eaton suffered from broken valve springs and managed a 7.798/172.01.

In Team Mopar NHRA Sportsman news, two Dodge Dakota R/T trucks took number one qualifying positions. Don Studley took 1997 GT/TD Super Stock Dodge Dakota to the top spot in Super Stock while Judy McCormack drove her 2000 Dodge Dakota Stock Eliminator entry to the number-one position.

Skuza will face Whit Bazemore in round one of tomorrow's Nitro Funny Car Budweiser Shootout.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson , Scott Geoffrion