Seattle: Mopar finals report

KENT, Wash. (July 29, 2001) -- It was a stellar day for the Mopar Parts Pro Stock contingent and the new Dodge Neon R/T. Mark Osborne defeated teammate Darrell Alderman in the finals to win this weekend's Prolong Superlubricants NHRA Nationals at...

KENT, Wash. (July 29, 2001) -- It was a stellar day for the Mopar Parts Pro Stock contingent and the new Dodge Neon R/T. Mark Osborne defeated teammate Darrell Alderman in the finals to win this weekend's Prolong Superlubricants NHRA Nationals at Seattle International Raceway.

Osborne, who racked up his third-career NHRA Pro Stock national event victory, put a holeshot advantage on Alderman after deep staging at the start. Osborne clicked off a 6.893-second elapsed time at 201.43 mph to out duel Alderman's 6.894-second lap at 201.73 mph. The effort was the first time since the 1995 Winternationals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway that two Mopar's had squared off in a final.

In addition, Osborne's victory was the first for a Hemi-powered Pro Stock car since Randy Humphrey defeated Sonny Bryant in 1979 at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. The Abingdon, Va. resident last won a final during the 1998 Fram Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway when he defeated veteran Bruce Allen.

"These new Dodge Neon's are just awesome," said Osborne, who moved up to sixth in the Winston Pro Stock points chase. "I want to thank Terry DeKonnick (Mopar aero thermal design engineer) and all the Mopar engineers that were so critical in making this car work. I also want to thank all the guys on the team for such a great victory. (Team owner) David Nickens, (Crew chief) Mark Ingersoll and the hard-working guys at the Nickens Racing shop deserve a lot of credit for what they've done in a short period of time. We've really only scratched the surface with what these new Hemi-powered Neon's can do."

Teammate Alderman, a three-time Winston Pro Stock World Champion, didn't leave Seattle empty handed either. En route to his second final-round appearance of the season, Alderman motored through the timing lights at a new national speed record of 202.64 mph in his second round victory over V. Gaines, shattering the previous mark set by Alderman the day before at 202.42 mph during qualifying.

"I'm so tickled with this new Neon," said Alderman, who was bidding for his 28th national event victory today. " I sure am happy for this whole team and Mark on a great weekend. These guys have just worked so hard.

"I feel like a kid again with these new Neon's," Alderman continued. "I now have the power and speed to win each and every time we go out there. We proved that we could be very competitive in a quick amount of time. I can't wait until our next race."

Osborne advanced to the finals by defeating Tom Martino in round one, George Marnell in round two and a red-lighting Jim Yates in the semifinals. Osborne's 6.811-second elapsed time in the first round of eliminations was the third quickest recorded elapsed time in NHRA history. Osborne also clocked the eighth-quickest time in NHRA history when he ran a 6.819-second lap in the second round.

"We were really looking for some good things with the new Neon's and they performed right off the bat," Osborne said. "We really had high expectations for the new cars coming into this race, so we weren't too surprised with the performances. The Mopar engineers have really done their homework and all the extra time these cars spent in the wind tunnel and all the hard work done by the guys at RJ Race Cars, Kirkman Composites and Roush Industries really paid off this weekend. Now, we just need to carry this on from race-to-race."

This was Osborne's third final of the season, after losing in both the Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway and National Trail Raceway earlier this year. Those races were contested in the 2000 Dodge R/T bodies.

Alderman advanced to the finals with a first-round victory over Mike Edwards, a second-round triumph over Gaines and semifinal match with Allen. Alderman last drove to the finals during the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona, when he lost to Kurt Johnson in the final.

Skuza Falls in Round Two

After posting a track record speed of 313.29 mph and a second-qualifying position, Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car driver Dean Skuza smoked the tires and fell to Del Worsham in the second round of eliminations.

Skuza moved to the second round with a 4.898-second elapsed time at 310.14 mph to defeat Al Hofmann in round one. The Brecksville, Ohio resident held the third quickest time of the first round.

"I think something might have went wrong in the bell housing on that run," Skuza said. "We had a good weekend because we made a lot of solid runs and are learning a lot of things. We can't wait for the new Dodge Stratus body to get here, but we're still pretty fast with the old Dodge R/T."

Morgan Loses To Yates in Round One

It was a satisfying weekend for Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T driver Larry Morgan. After qualifying his new car in the 14th position on Saturday evening, the Newark, Ohio resident fell in the first round of eliminations to Jim Yates.

Morgan moved out of the groove and had to shut his new Dodge Neon R/T off at about half track, allowing Yates to cruise to victory.

"We have to be happy with what we were able to learn and accomplish this weekend," Morgan said. "We haven't had a great deal of time to test the new Neon on great driving surfaces yet, but I think we're starting to get a handle on what this car wants. We're making a lot of horsepower with this new Hemi, and it's just a matter of time until we're running with David (Nickens) and the Mopar team."

-Mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino