MADISON, Ill. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the final day of qualifying for this weekend's Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. NOTABLE: High temperatures in the mid-90s and track ...
MADISON, Ill. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed the final day of qualifying for this weekend's Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
NOTABLE: High temperatures in the mid-90s and track temperatures approaching 140 degrees hindered qualifying activities today.
Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T driver Dean Skuza was shooting for his 300th career start in NHRA POWERade Funny Car competition.
DEAN SKUZA, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T
A promising weekend turned sour for Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T. After posting the 15th-quickest elapsed time in the third round of qualifying, Skuza's 5.233-second elapsed time at 284.15 wasn't enough to crack the top 16.
"We went in real soft," Skuza said."We just wanted to get down the track this weekend and get into the show. It wasn't to be. The track was real tough to get a hold of this weekend because of all the heat. We're looking forward to Denver and I hope we do well for all the folks attending the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals."
GENE WILSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Gene Wilson drastically improved his elapsed time in the third session of qualifying today, but the heat and high track temperatures were too much to overcome for the rookie Pro Stock competitor. Wilson's Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T lapped the suburban St. Louis quarter mile in 6.943 seconds at 199.37 mph.
"Conditions today are very, very bad," Wilson said." We looked at track temperatures of around 140 degrees. When it gets like this, it's really tough to improve or make any ground. The track is simply too slick and too hot. Basically, there is just one session that you can get in., and that's on Friday night. If you have any trouble, you are pretty much out of luck. If you don't make it, you have to make a perfect hit on Saturday. It's tough to do. These were just terrible conditions for the Pro Stock cars."
LARRY MORGAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Larry Morgan was unable to crack the top 16 after today's two final sessions. The Newark, Ohio, resident, who pilots the blue Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, clicked off a 6.928-second lap at 198.82 mph.
"You just can't believe how tough this category is," said Morgan, who missed qualifying and .003 of a second." We're just so close that it's hard to talk about. It so out of control. If you make a mistake in the good session-- you are done."
DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
The extreme heat meant relief for Darrell Alderman. The three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion and pilot of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T grabbed the 11th slot last night with an elapsed time of 6.908 seconds at 200.14 mph. With only one car bumping into the show today, Alderman maintained his effort from last night.
Alderman, 52, will line up against category veteran Arturo Delgado in round one.
"We're having trouble getting grip out there," Alderman noted."You would make a straight pass, but the wheel would just spin. We'll work on the clutch a little and see what we can come up with for them tomorrow."