Seattle: Mopar pre event notes

(KENT, Wash.) - Seattle International Raceway has afforded mixed results for Dodge Motorsports and Team Mopar. In 1998, Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T driver Craig Eaton collected a national event victory when he defeated Jerry Haas in the final...

(KENT, Wash.) - Seattle International Raceway has afforded mixed results for Dodge Motorsports and Team Mopar.

In 1998, Dodge Motorsports Dakota R/T driver Craig Eaton collected a national event victory when he defeated Jerry Haas in the final round. Unfortunately for Eaton and Dodge Motorsports, the trucks haven't run there since.

"It's nice to be the only Pro Stock Truck driver to ever win a national event at Seattle," Eaton noted. "I wish we had another crack at it."=20

Team Mopar has reached Seattle's final round on two occasions. Pro Stock Dodge Avenger veteran Scott Geoffrion lost to Mark Pawuk during the 1992 Prolong Superlubricants Northwest Nationals and Darrell Alderman fell to Warren Johnson in 1991.

"Seattle can be unpredictable at times," Geoffrion said. "The track is somewhat bumpy in spots, but the (elapsed) times seem to be pretty fast. It should be interesting."

Alderman, a three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock World Champion, is confident after his second final-round appearance in the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo.

"It's important for us to maintain this momentum," Alderman said. "Last year, I qualified fifth in Denver, but missed the show in Seattle. We need to change those results. Consistency is important.

"One of the big differences this year is the new Hemi engine," Alderman continued. "It seems to be more predictable as we move from track to track."

Not to be outdone by his Team Mopar brethren, Dodge Motorsports Avenger driver Larry Morgan nabbed the third qualifying slot during the Bandimere Speedway event.

"The Dodge Motorsports team has worked so hard on this new Hemi engine," Morgan said. "For some reason, the lower air density and higher altitudes are suited for this combination. We were generating as much horsepower as the other top-line teams.=20

"The challenge is to repeat this performance," Morgan continued. "So far, the sea-level tracks haven't been as kind to us this season. I'm anxious to see what will happen in Seattle."

A DRIVER'S CREW CHIEF

(KENT, Wash.) - One of the most important ingredients in having a successful race team is chemistry. A key to that chemistry is making sure that drivers relay the proper information to their crew chiefs.

For Team Mopar and Nickens Brothers Racing head wrench Mark Ingersoll, that critical information was gleaned first hand at the most recent Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Ingersoll, crew chief for Pro Stock standouts Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion, piloted a third Nickens Brothers Dodge Avenger in hopes of gaining a competitive edge.

"It was just a great opportunity," said Ingersoll, who does much of Team Mopar's testing throughout the year. "It's one thing to get information during a closed test session, but it's entirely different to gain knowledge under race conditions.

"The knowledge I gained was invaluable," Ingersoll added. "Both Scott and Darrell are really good at knowing what their cars need, but I was able to feel those problems first hand."

Ingersoll and the Team Mopar crew made the right moves as both Alderman (seventh) and Geoffrion (16th) qualified for the 16-car field. In addition, Alderman barely missed his 28th national event victory when he lost in the final round to Kurt Johnson by a scant two-hundredths at the stripe.

"It seemed to work," Ingersoll said. "We might have to try this again later in the year."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Larry Morgan , Scott Geoffrion , Jerry Haas