MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Sept. 21, 2001) - Mark Osborne vaulted his Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Neon R/T to the second-qualifying position for tomorrow's AutoZone NHRA Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. Osborne clocked at 6.914-second elapsed time at...
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Sept. 21, 2001) - Mark Osborne vaulted his Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Neon R/T to the second-qualifying position for tomorrow's AutoZone NHRA Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.
Osborne clocked at 6.914-second elapsed time at 199.76 mph, setting up a first-round match up with U.S. Nationals final-round opponent Greg Anderson. Osborne also recorded the fastest speed in qualifying.
"We made a really good run in that third session," said Osborne, who is going for his second national event title of the season. "I really think the left lane is going to be better than the right for tomorrow. If I can keep lane choice, I'm taking the left."
Three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman didn't fair as well. The Mopar Parts Neon R/T failed to make a clean pass during today's qualifying session. Alderman only managed a weekend best elapsed time of 6.961 seconds at 199.40 mph.
"We had a lot of clutch trouble this weekend," Alderman said. "I don't really know what to say because we either blew through the clutch, like last night, or the tires shook so hard that I had to shut it off early. It's pretty frustrating."
Patterson Garners Fourth
Todd Patterson and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T are looking for a first career national event title. The Augusta, Kan. resident grabbed the fourth slot with a 7.473-second elapsed time at 179.83 mph, setting up a first round match with Jeff Naiser.
"We were soft on our first two runs and we picked it up this morning," Patterson said. "That we expected. What we didn't expect was that we hurt an engine in our last run. We are going to put our St. Louis engine in and we ran well with it. We should be okay for tomorrow."
Morgan Drives to 12th
Larry Morgan and the Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T stepped up and took home the 12th qualifying position. The Newark, Ohio resident drove his Hemi-powered machine to a 6.931-second lap at 199.05 mph.
Morgan will take on Tom Hammonds in the first round.
"We picked up stability this weekend," said a relieved Morgan. "We had a problem with the pistons. (Piston builder) Bill Miller made me a set of pistons in one day and its straightened my whole program out. We've had a piston problem for a long time and I think this will help us for the rest of the season. We're right where we should be right now."
Skuza Manages Tenth
The Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car of Dean Skuza captured the tenth-qualifying position. Skuza ran a 4.982-second lap at 301.00 mph, setting up a first round match with seventh-qualifier Scotty Cannon.
"We dropped a cylinder on that last run," Skuza said. "We may have some issues with our blower, which is causing some of the trouble. The good news is that we're in solidly and have a good car for tomorrow."
It was a frustrating conclusion to the weekend for the father-and-son Pro Stock Truck duo of Dale and Craig Eaton. Both father Dale, who wields the Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T, and the Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T of Craig missed the top 16.
D. Eaton drove to his first 180.00 mph pass during yesterday's second-qualifying session, but a 7.566-second elapsed time in the fourth pass was just shy.
"It shook the tires and got real loose in first and second on that last run," Dale Eaton said. "I knew I was in trouble heading into the last session because of the heat. We would have been okay this morning if we had the last set up in it. It's kind of disappointing and we're going to take care of it."
C. Eaton suffered mechanical woes all weekend, only making one complete pass during the weekend. The Phoenix, Ariz., resident logged a 7.594/177.93 weekend best.
"From the very start, we had a miss in the truck," C. Eaton said. "We made four runs this weekend and haven't found he problem. At this point, we're going to head up to St. Louis and do some testing. We thought it was ignition related, but we now think it may be in the carburetors."