POMONA, Calif. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed eliminations for this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals NOTABLE: Two days of rain cancelled qualifying activity, setting ...
POMONA, Calif. -- Mopar Motorsports NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series teams completed eliminations for this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
NOTABLE: Two days of rain cancelled qualifying activity, setting the professional fields for this weekend's Automobile Club of Southern California by the top-10 points standings and qualifying order from Thursday.
WILSON TOPPLES GIANTS EN ROUTE TO THIRD FINAL OF THE SEASON
Rookie In-Line for 2003 NHRA Rookie of the Year
Gene Wilson toppled many giants today en route to his third final-round appearance of the season during today's Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at historic Pomona Raceway.
Wilson fell to Kurt Johnson in the final, who clicked off a 6.801-second elapsed time at 202.88 mph. Wilson ran a slower 6.843-second lap at 201.79 mph.
"I could only think of one better way to end the season," Wilson said. "The team really gave me a good car today. I want to thank the entire team, and Mopar, for all the hard work on this car today. We made a valiant effort.
Wilson advanced through the field with two holeshot victories and a semifinal triumph over Warren Johnson. In round one, Wilson outran took out Jamie Yates on a holeshot (.431-.455) and took out two-time and newly crowned Pro Stock World Champion Jeg Coughlin in round two - also on a holeshot (.409-.435). Wilson laid a .404 of a second reaction time on Warren Johnson in round three.
"I sure have been working on my driving as of late," Wilson added. "It's one of those deals where you keep trying, and keep trying, and it finally comes together. We're learning to know what it takes to compete with everyone out here."
Wilson's final-round trek vaulted the NHRA Rookie of the Year Award candidate to ninth in the final POWERade Pro Stock World Championship standings. The Georgia resident was 13th coming into the final weekend.
Wilson finished the season with three final-round appearances and a No. 1 qualifier. Wilson's sixth-place starting slot was the 12th time this season that he had qualified in the top half of a Pro Stock field.
Wilson will join Larry Morgan in a two car, factory backed effort for next season.
DARRELL ALDERMAN, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
Darrell Alderman, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T, ended his season the way it was started -- with a loss to Mike Edwards. The three-time POWERade Pro Stock World Champion ran a 6.897-second lap at 201.13 mph, but Edward's clocked a 6.855-second pass at 200.98 mph.
"The car moved over to the left," Alderman said. "It hurt us there and it was over after that. The lane was pretty tricky, but it seemed to be good considering the conditions."
Alderman capped the 2002 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock season with one NHRA national event victory at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway and two other final-round appearances (Las Vegas and Columbus). The 28-time NHRA national event winner also won seven-straight rounds of competition earlier in the season.
ALLEN JOHNSON, driver of the Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T
The Hemi-powered Dodge Neon R/T of Allen Johnson fell in the first round of eliminations to Warren Johnson. The Tennessee resident ran a 6.882-second elapsed time, at 201.91 mph and held a (.412-.440) starting-line advantage, but it wasn't enough to topple Johnson's 6.838-second run at 202.36 mph.
"We did what we could under the circumstances," Johnson said. "It's hard to set up the clutch without having made a complete run this weekend. We were bad in our 60-foot time and that's what got us."