Pomona: Team Mopar Saturday qualifying

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2001) - Team Mopar teammates Darrell Alderman and Mark Osborne have secured starting slots for Sunday's AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. The event opens the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season. Alderman, who...

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2001) - Team Mopar teammates Darrell Alderman and Mark Osborne have secured starting slots for Sunday's AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. The event opens the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season.

Alderman, who clicked off a 6.873-second pass at 200.56 mph during the second-qualifying session Friday, has lane choice with the sixth slot heading into a first-round match up with Mark Pawuk.

"I think we're looking pretty good," said the three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World Champion. "We've got lane choice and that's really important here, despite the fact the right lane was pretty good on that last hit."

Alderman's teammate Osborne will make his competitive debut as a Team Mopar Dodge R/T pilot in the 13th position. The Abingdon, Va. resident ran a 6.893-second elapsed time at 200.83 mph and takes on Kurt Johnson in round one.

'I would love to meet Darrell in the finals my first time out," Osborne said. "We have a lot of power in these Pro Stock Hemi engines. (Team Owner) David (Nickens) has done a great job in preparing these cars."

Skuza Fails to Qualify

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2001) - The 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season didn't start the way Dean Skuza and the Skuza Motorsports team wanted. After struggling in qualifying, the Team Mopar Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car driver missed the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals.

The first three qualifying sessions showed a problem in the clutch department; with the last pass resulting in a 5.066-second elapsed time at 280.08 mph. Skuza commented on his disappointment.

"It's ugly," said the two-time NHRA national event winner. "We dropped a cylinder on that last run and that's all she wrote. I think we could have made it during the second run, but the right lane was just awful."

Morgan Misses the Show

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2001) - Larry Morgan had to change an engine after two rounds of qualifying and failed to make the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway in his Dodge Motorsports R/T Pro Stock entry.

Morgan's 6.909-second run at 199.29 mph during Friday's second-qualifying session was only .002 away from making the tight 16-car Pro Stock field.

"We really hurt that first motor and didn't realize it," Morgan noted. "It was just a mess this weekend.

"After we changed engines, we struggled with the setup," Morgan added. "The new Hemi engine simply had too much power and we couldn't dial it in during the quick sessions. That other engine was really bad."

Morgan is still upbeat.

"We ought to feel pretty good considering that we almost qualified for the race with a bad engine," Morgan commented.

Patterson Starts Eighth

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2001) - Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T driver Todd Patterson maintained lane choice and will start in the eighth position for Sunday's AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.

The Augusta, Kan. resident takes on Mike Coughlin in a first-round eliminator that officially opens the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season.

"I'm really happy because we have lane choice," Patterson said. "It's no secret that the left lane is very good right now.

"We have a lot of horsepower to play with now," Patterson continued. "I like our chances, especially here at Pomona."

Eaton Enterprises Disappointed

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2001) - The old axiom, 'Close, but no cigar,' applies to the Eaton Enterprises Pro Stock Truck operation this weekend. Both Dale Eaton and Craig Eaton barely missed qualifying for the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.

Dale Eaton, who pilots the ATSCO/Mopar Parts Dodge Dakota R/T, ran a 7.546-second pass at 178.68 mph in his second-qualifying effort. The run was .002 away from making the field.

"The wheelie bar broke on that last run and it hurt us on the starting line," D. Eaton said. "We just made our best runs during the wrong sessions. The track was too hot during our best passes."

The Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T of Craig Eaton befell the same fate, as he took the 20th slot with a 7.556/178.38 weekend best.

"We only made three passes this weekend because I was timed out on that third run," C. Eaton commented. "I wasn't aware of the new 7-second rule on the tree and the red light came on. I usually try to shallow stage for a better elapsed time. I must have taken too long."

-David Harris

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Mike Coughlin