Seattle: Mopar Saturday notes

KENT, Wash. (July 28, 2001) - Darrell Alderman wrote another chapter in his storied NHRA Pro Stock career today. The three-time Winston World Champion drove his new Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T to a 202.42 mph top speed, claiming the ...

KENT, Wash. (July 28, 2001) - Darrell Alderman wrote another chapter in his storied NHRA Pro Stock career today. The three-time Winston World Champion drove his new Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T to a 202.42 mph top speed, claiming the fastest lap in Pro Stock history to wrap up the final day of qualifying for tomorrow's Prolong Superlubricants Northwest NHRA Nationals at Seattle International Raceway.

The Morehead, Ky. resident eclipsed the speed mark of 202.36 mph set by Warren Johnson during the fall event at Houston Raceway Park in 1999. Alderman last set the national speed mark during his most previous championship run of 1994 at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Alderman, who is trying for his 28th national event victory tomorrow, collected the fifth-qualifying slot with a 6.843-second elapsed time, setting up a first round match up with 12th-qualifier Mike Edwards.

"To have the national speed record is pretty awesome," Alderman said. "I just wish that we could have backed it up with a better elapsed time. (Crew Chief) Mark (Ingersoll) has worked really hard on these cars and deserves a lot of credit for our accomplishments. If I wouldn't have made a move to the left and shook on the launch, I think we could have threatened for the elapsed time record. Mark will get the car lined out, we'll go straight, and see if we can't win this one tomorrow.

"We have had ideal track temperatures to run this weekend," added Alderman, on the unseasonably cool mid-July weather just outside Seattle. "You just have to have your chassis and clutch set where that you can get a good elapsed time in the conditions. It should be hot and sunny tomorrow and we'll launch out of there straight and go a few rounds."

To back up the record, Alderman clicked off a 202.06 mph blast in the third round of qualifying. The speed record will not officially be put into the NHRA record books until the conclusion of this weekend's race.

Teammate Mark Osborne also made a little noise in qualifying. The two-time Pro Stock national event winner flirted with the number one qualifying position when he clicked off a 6.825-second elapsed time at 202.09 mph, the second fastest time at SIR and the eighth fastest of all time. Osborne, from Abingdon, Va., will take on Tom Martino in round one of eliminations.

"We were a little light on our clutch set up on that final pass," Osborne commented. "We're really getting a handle on the car this weekend. We've made some pretty big strides with these new Neons.

"The car feel like it's really good cutting the wind down track," Osborne added. "It's handling the bumps pretty well. All in all, I'm a pretty happy camper because it's a lot better than what we did have."

Team owner David Nickens talked about tomorrow's elimination rounds.

"We're going for the national elapsed-time record tomorrow morning," said Nickens, talking about Mark Pawuk's 6.806-second pass set at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. earlier this season. "Mark (Osborne) left enough on the table that last run that we think we can go out there and get the national elapsed time record. I'm real ecstatic with the new Neon's right now. It looks like the program is taking a turn for the better. I think we've only scratched the surface on what these new cars are capable of."

Skuza Earns Second Mopar Parts Nitro Funny Car Driver Claims Track Speed Record

Dean Skuza and his Mopar Parts Dodge R/T Nitro Funny Car also claimed a track record after running a 313.29 mph effort in the fourth-qualifying session. Despite falling a .006-of-a-second short of the top slot, Skuza's 4.833-second elapsed time was good enough for the second spot.

The Brecksville, Ohio, resident will face off against veteran Al Hofmann in round one.

"If you just took our qualifying average, we would be king of the hill each and every weekend," Skuza said. "We saw Force run the 4.82 in front of us, so we tuned it so that we thought we could run a 4.81 or so.

"We think we have a nice car for tomorrow and can go round," Skuza added. "But we've thought that before, smoke the tires, and lose in round one. Right now, we've got to just run smart and see where it takes us."

Morgan Collects 16th

After three rounds of qualifying struggles, Larry Morgan finally got his new Dodge Motorsports Neon R/T on track. The Newark, Ohio, resident grabbed the 14th-qualifying position with a 6.888-second elapsed time at 199.94 mph during the fourth an final session.

Morgan will face Jim Yates in a round-one eliminator.

"What we've been doing is trying to test with this new car," said Morgan, who only took delivery of his new Don Ness-built Dodge Neon R/T on Wednesday prior to the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. last week. "David (Nickens) has had a lot of time with his new car, but we haven't. We're lucky enough to make the right changes on the car and get down the track. We've changed a lot of things like the carburetors and the sway bars and it seemed to help it. We're making improvements on every run, and that's just going to make it that much faster. It's a nice accomplishment to have all three of the factory Neons in the show after only two races."


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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Larry Morgan , Tom Martino , Mike Edwards