Joliet: Mopar final qualifying notes

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 29, 2001) - On a record-shattering afternoon, Mopar Parts driver Mark Osborne ran the second-quickest pass in NHRA history with a 6.802-second elapsed time at 202.39 mph to wrap up the final day of qualifying for the Route 66...

JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 29, 2001) - On a record-shattering afternoon, Mopar Parts driver Mark Osborne ran the second-quickest pass in NHRA history with a 6.802-second elapsed time at 202.39 mph to wrap up the final day of qualifying for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Osborne, who had held the third-quickest time in NHRA history at 6.811 seconds en route to his first victory of the season at Seattle International Raceway, barely missed Kurt Johnson's 6.801-second elapsed time and the number one slot. Osborne and the Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T will face off against George Marnell in round one.

"I ran well on pretty much every run this weekend," said Osborne, who also ran a 6.809-second lap in the third-round of qualifying. "I need to my job tomorrow, but I think we'll be here pretty late. The last run was awesome. We had .994-second 60-foot time and it was fast in the middle. For some reason the speed was down a little bit because of a head wind, and we think it also kept us away from the first 6.79. We're going to try and grab that record tomorrow morning."

Teammate Darrell Alderman also drove into the top half with a career-best 6.821-second elapsed time at 202.21 mph. The three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion grabbed the seventh position and has lane choice versus Greg Anderson in round one.

"We made quite a good run out there," Alderman stated. "Out car is about two hundredths slower over in the right lane, so I think we looked pretty good. We made a pretty nice graph on the computer and I think we have something for them tomorrow. We're going to be putting them over on the bump for every run."

Patterson Steps Up

Todd Patterson and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T were on the outside looking in. Following the fourth session, the Augusta, Kan., resident moved into the seventh-qualified position with a 7.421-second lap at 180.60 mph.

"We've been struggling most of the weekend," Patterson said. "I think we out-tricked ourselves this weekend. We knew the track was going to be better than what we had last weekend, so we made a bunch of changes like in our gear ratios. We straightened the run out this morning, but didn't pick up what we wanted.

"We changed the gear ratios again, rolled the dice and it worked," Patterson continued. "We got up in the top half and have lane choice now. I think everybody is favoring the left lane right now and it will be the big issue tomorrow."

Patterson will match up against Victor Cagnazzi in round one.

Morgan Collects 11th

The Hemi-powered Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T of Larry Morgan posted a career-best elapsed time of 6.829 seconds at 201.22 mph to grab the 11th-qualified position. The Newark, Ohio resident will run Tom Martino in the first round.

"We ran well in that third session," Morgan noted. "We changed motors after the third session because it was something we wanted to try. We run some new carburetors and things that we've never run before. We feel good about tomorrow and we'll try to get this Dodge in the winner's circle.

"I also don't care about lane choice," Morgan added. "We ran well in both lanes, so we feel real well."

Skuza Slips In

Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T logged the 15th-quickest time in qualifying with a 4.868-second elapsed time at 303.57 mph. The Brecksville, Ohio resident will take on 10-time Winston Funny Car World Champion John Force in round one.

"We torched the block on that last run," Skuza said. "We were consistent this weekend, but not where we really wanted. I pleased that we're in the show, but I think we can run a heck of a lot better. I have seen the new Stratus body and it will make a big difference in the program when it get here."

Split Decision

Dale Eaton qualified for his second race of the season when he posted a career-best 7.453-second elapsed time and career best speed of 181.30 mph. Eaton, who took delivery of his new Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T at the U.S. Nationals two races ago, nabbed the 13th slot and faces off against Don Smith in the first round.

"We made some major changes," D. Eaton noted. "For whatever reason, it left twice on that pass as well. We just can't get the 330-foot times together. I told my crew that I didn't want to nibble at the problem because we aren't going to win that way. We made some major changes. It's either going to fly, or it's going to blow up. We're putting this truck on the highest setting right now."

Craig Eaton, son of Dale and driver of the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T, didn't fair as well. Mechanical woes kept the Arizona resident from qualifying with a 7.484/180.45 weekend best.

"I personally didn't have the best weekend," C. Eaton commented. "We're getting water in the fifth cylinder. It just messed up the rings in the motor and it made us run slower on every pass. That's about all she wrote for this weekend."

Nickens Misses Show

Bo Nickens, despite running the older Mopar-powered Dodge R/T, drove to a career-best 6.871-second lap at 200.56 mph. The pass was still outside the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history.

-Mopar-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson , Tom Martino , George Marnell