Memphis: Mopar Elimination notes

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Sept. 22, 2001) - Todd Patterson took his Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T to the semifinals of this weekend's AutoZone NHRA Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. U.S. Nationals winner Mike Coughlin out dueled Patterson for ...

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Sept. 22, 2001) - Todd Patterson took his Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T to the semifinals of this weekend's AutoZone NHRA Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.

U.S. Nationals winner Mike Coughlin out dueled Patterson for the second-straight event. Coughlin clocked low elapsed time of the round at 7.444-seconds at 181.84 mph to defeat Patterson's 7.479/180.50 combination.

"We knew Mike was strong and we had to be quick on the line," Patterson said. "We broke an intake spring during our second-round victory and that might of hurt the elapsed time a little. The first 10 foot won that race."

Patterson moved into the semifinals by beating a red-lighting Jeff Naiser in round one and Scott Tidwell in round two. Patterson ran the third-quickest time of the second round with a 7.478-second pass.

Skuza Nipped in Round Two

Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car lost in the second round of competition to Ron Capps. Despite holding lane choice, Capps posted a 4.904-second elapsed time at 300.46 mph to hold off Skuza's 4.980-second lap at 299.60 mph.

"He had me by a car length the whole way," Skuza said. "The good news is that we learned a lot this weekend and didn't beat ourselves in eliminations. I was hoping that we could have had some cooler weather because the old body runs better. It was just a little warmer than we would have liked today. We need our new Dodge Stratus body, which should be on its way in October."

Skuza advanced to the second round when he defeated Scotty Cannon with a 4.995-second pass at 298.47 mph. Cannon held a slight starting line advantage, but hazed the tires and slowed after the launch.

Morgan Completes Solid Outing

Even though Larry Morgan fell in the second round to Mark Pawk, the Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T driver was very satisfied with his Memphis Motorsports Park weekend. Pawuk defeated

Morgan by clocking a 6.974-second elapsed time at 197.28 mph to out run a 6.980/197.80 mph combination.

"We had a real good weekend," Morgan said. "I think we should have chosen the other lane, but it's hard to tell when you're the first pair. For the most part, I'm pretty happy that we're running well again. Every run we made this weekend was very good.

"We're running up front now and we ought to be okay," Morgan added. "Its unfortunate that it's taken us this long to figure out the problem. And by accident we found it because we had plenty of power on the dyno, but under a load it wasn't very good. We've really made a lot of strides this weekend. I have to thank all my guys at the race shop for working day and night Especially (piston builder) Bill Miller. He's really helped step up our performance. If it wasn't for him, we probably would have been 17th or 18th, like we usually are."

Morgan moved into the second round by topping Tom Hammonds in round one. Morgan won on a holeshot (.472-.505) as Hammonds clicked off a quicker elapsed time (6.947-6.960).

Osborne Falls in Round Two

Mark Osborne's Hemi-powered Neon R/T looked like one of the cars to beat after running the second-quickest elapsed time (6.939 seconds) in the first round of eliminations. But a decisive starting line advantage by George Marnell (.416-.484) overcame identical elapsed times at the top end of 6.953 seconds.

"We really wanted a lot better round than that," Osborne said. "I just needed to do a better job on the starting line. George went for the tree and it didn't come up red and he beat me.

"We decided to go to the right lane at the last second and I think it was better," Osborne added. "When I backed up and shut it off to cool it, we lost a little oil in it. If that hadn't of happened, I think it could have run a 6.92."

-Dodge Motorsports-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Dean Skuza , Ron Capps , Larry Morgan , Todd Patterson , Mike Coughlin , Scotty Cannon , Tom Hammonds