2:30 AM: Bedtime? Bedtime!
7:00 AM: "Traffic's already backing up on the 5, the 405, 18,
503.... and just about everywhere today. Now for the weather.... And so start's
our day with an altogether too perky traffic girl as the alarm jolts us awake.
I win the morning reaction time contest and hit the kill switch on the radio
before my roommates, Rob & Shane Tucker even stir.
7:10 AM: I'm showered and dressed before the Aussies have even
moved, when the radio blasts into action again. Apparently I hit the snooze
button, instead of the off switch. To heck with it; I'm going for breakfast
and the Tucker's can deal with the noise.
8:00 AM: Balanced breakfast (2 cups of coffee & 2 cigarettes)
and it's time to hit the road for S.I.R. A quick stop at the ARCO for petrol
and soft drinks for the eskie (cooler) and we're soon out on Highway 18 and
heading for the track.
The weather isn't looking very promising: Heavy cloud, cool temperatures;
and the forecast for the weekend is worse. Not a good sign; it's reminiscent
of many a Fallnationals in the old days.
9:00 AM: We've got our credentials and with the assistance
of some lax security guards, we're able to drive right into the pits. Sweet....
As long as we don't get towed away. Splitting up, the Aussies head for the
Pro pits, while I start counting noses in the alky stalag.
10:00 AM: I've been once around the pits already and bumped
into quite a few of the racers I see at Mission regularly and we exchange
opinions about the state of national event racing, the condition of S.I.R.
and other sundry topics. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Leo Grocock
has brought the Northwest Drag Racing School car to ensure there's a full
field of dragsters.
The situation isn't much better in the alky flopper pits, with again, just
16 of the breed on hand. Top Fuel: same deal. Nitro funny car: overflowing
with 18 cars. Hmm, this is one of the smallest turnouts on record for this
12:30 PM: It's nearly time for the first qualifying session
for the Federal-Mogul cars so I start heading for the tower-side grandstands,
only to find nearly half of them missing. There's a huge chunk of stands gone
between the 300 and 600 foot mark, replaced with a sea of motorhomes. What
the heck happened? Did time and decay finally reclaim the wood? Did Rockstad's
lawyers order their destruction?
One hypothesis postulated by a well-known trackside troublemaker has it
that the small percentage of seat sales pocketed by the promoter on the missing
stands paled in comparison to the revenue generated by the motorhomes. All of
that income goes directly into Rockstad's pockets, according to our source.
1:00 PM: The track looks good, with no sun on it yet; the air
temps are down, and the relative altitude readings are excellent. This could
be an excellent session if the track can hold it. Apparently the NHRA staff
worked late into the evening last night, doing their best to prop up the usually
substandard S.I.R. surface.
The skies are still threatening as the Federal-Mogul Funny Cars start their
first session. First out of the lanes are Randy Parker and Bucky Austin. Let
the party begin....
Randy Parker vs. Bucky Austin
Parker lays down an excellent 5.84 - 240.38, while Austin shakes, heads
for the wall and shuts off to a 10 second time.
Roger Bateman vs. Clint Thompson
Bateman shakes and pedals to a 6.01 - 242.32. Thompson has the same symptoms,
but not as much power as he lays down a 6.21 at 225.18.
Rod Clough vs. Pat Austin
This is Clough's national event debut and it doesn't go quite to plan, as
he gives up the chase at half track, then nails it again on the top end for
a 6.88 - 204.11. Austin lays down a simply awesome pass of 5.76 - 252.05 to
jump into the early pole position.
John Patton vs. John Evanchuk
The third Canadian car in the first four pairs gets off to a good start
with a solid 6.01. Arizonan Patton lays down a huge burnout and backs up the
display with a decent 6.14 at 233 mph.
Larry Miner vs. Ed Marx
A pair of California cars match up, and Marx takes the honours this time,
with a solid 6.02 at 242.23 easily outdistancing Miner's half track effort
of 6.99 - 129.92.
Forrest LeBlanc vs. Dan McGlone
Match racer LeBlanc makes an infrequent national event appearance and starts
off with a strong burnout. He wastes his run though, and McGlone's by crossing
the centreline at 400 feet and taking out the half track cones. Luckily McGlone
has run into problems early and was off the throttle when all the drama started.
The scoreboards read 7.79 - 141.58 for LeBlanc and 17.18 at 53.20 for McGlone
but the times are thrown out. And we're down for a short cleanup.
John Knox vs. Doug Gordon
California vs. Washington, as "Froggy" Knox makes a good opening lap of
6.14 - 227.61 against Gordon's shaky, early shutoff 7.20 at only 133.89.
The "Dreamweaver" is the 15th and final car to make this session. I haven't
seen any more cars in the pits, so it looks like we've got a short field. Hmm,
Weaver starts in the left lane, fails to put on his turn signal and skates
into the right lane at the 500 foot mark, taking the half track speed cone
That's one of three sessions for the alky floppers in the books, with only
two cars (Parker & Austin) in the 5's, three more in the 6.0's, two in the
6.1's, a 6.2, 6.8, 6.9, etc. Only twelve valid timeslips in total. Bring on
1:30 PM: We've got four A/Fuel cars and twelve blown alky cars.
Let's see whether the long wheelbase crowd has more success with this track.
Kim Parker vs. Brandon Henkelman
It's blown vs. injected right away and the blown brigade takes this one
easily. Henkelman leaves hard, shakes the tires, gets way out of shape, nearly
crosses the centerline before shutting off to an 8.70 at 91.71 mph. Parker
makes a great first pass at 5.66 - 244.16.
Mike Cofini vs. Duane Shields
Two blown cars now, but the differences in combinations between these two
are huge. Shields train lengths Cofini early, but shuts off before the 1000
foot mark, with no apparent problems. He still turns a 5.57 at only 203.52
mph. Cofini looks slow by comparison, but still runs a season's best e.t.
Mike Austin vs. Bill Edwards
No, it's not that Mike Austin. This one hails from Phoenix. In
Oregon. And he runs a Hadman-like car with Arias/Fontana power. Confused enough
yet? This is also his first time at S.I.R. and he makes the most of it with
a career best of 5.86 at 237.55. Another excellent opening pass in the other
lane too, as Edwards turns a career best speed of 243.41 to go with his very
good 5.67 e.t. On a pair of cylinder heads that haven't gone down a dragstrip
in 17 years! That's another story for another day, by the way. And the sun
breaks through the clouds for the first time all day.
Kevin Brown vs. Leo Grocock
The A/FD car of Brown leaves hard, but drops two (or more) cylinders at
the 800 foot mark and slows dramatically to a 5.70 at only 216.83. Grocock's
Northwest Drag Racing School car shakes hard on the launch and his pedalling
is to no avail as it runs a 7.37 at 143.49 mph.
David Baca vs. Steve Federlin
Making his first trip to Seattle, the site of many great races by his father
Dennis, young Baca lays down a solid 5.55 at a big speed of 269.13. He launches
slowly, but really starts charging at half track, and overtakes Federlin at
the 1000 foot mark, as Steve puts down a very solid 5.65 at 253.37 mph.
Mark Hentges vs. Brian Hough
Too bad these two cars didn't leave together. This would have been a great
pairing. Hentges hugs the centerline, while Hough is straight and true to a
new low e.t. of 5.42 at 259.15 mph. Hentges' numbers aren't half bad either,
at 5.47 and 260.21 mph.
Rick Santos vs. Brandon Bernstein
Another blown vs. injected battle, with a big surprise. Santos smokes the
tires and Bernstein smokes the filed, with the first "30" of the weekend. A
near career best for the Bud Prince at 5.37 - 264.91, and the bottom of the
field for Santos, at 11.66 - 80.07.
We finish this first qualfiying session with a single, as the 16th car,
Bernie Plourd, is still in the pits putting his "new" car together. Jones
sounds strong and the scoreboard confirms it with a career best e.t. and speed
of 5.45 at 260.76.
That's it for a few hours, with Brandon Bernstein on top (5.37), Parker
in the middle (5.66) and Santos on the bottom at 11.66. The A/Fuel cars ran
5.37, 5.55, 5.70 and 8.70, so they haven't exactly dominated the field yet.
It's now 2 pm and we're into sportsman racing for an hour or so before the
first pro session begins.
2:45 PM: Here's some quick pit notes jotted down while travelling
between the tower side grandstands and the media centre (on the pit side down
at the finish line).
Grocock: shake, shake, and more shake. Jones: Career best e.t. and speed
and the Edgecombe gang are very happy. Edwards confirms that they're very
happy. They had a reading of only 85 degrees track temperature when they ran.
Excellent. Sheilds had no high gear (that explains the very early shutoff),
but was running 214 mph at half track. Bernstein's ugly-sounding, and looking,
burnout was the result of a rag trapped in the injectors. After they removed
it, he still set low e.t. of the session.
3:30 PM: The sun's been out for an hour now; there's very few
clouds in the sky; the air's getting worse and the track temp's are climbing.
This is not overly conducive to great performances this afternoon.
There's no Pro Stock Trucks or Bikes here, so we lead off the first Pro
session with Pro Stock cars. My track appraisal looks accurate as the first
few pairs barely get down the track and that's with a lot of tire shake.
The "hitters" are still deep in the lanes so we should hold off on a final
judgement for a while yet. "Funny Cars to the staging lanes" rings out over
the p.a. system. Good news: the nitro's getting closer....
It looks like our predictions are as "accurate" as usual; the track e.t.
record for Pro Stock is broken... twice. The bubble ends up in the low 6.9's.
Maybe these cars can hook up, but what about the fuel cars? The floppers are
up first: let the thunder begin!
Haddock's on a single due to his lack of recent national event runs. He
pedals it once, hits it again and thunders through to a 5.44 at 284 mph. A
decent opening effort for this low-buck independent.
Jerry Toliver vs. Chuck Etchells
A pair of struggling racers here. Toliver's still looking for his first
round win of the season. He makes a good lap at 4.98 - 292, but puts out lots
of smoke at the finish line. Etchells emits smoke smoke at 800 feet and shuts
off to a 5.52 - 197.
Bob Gilbertson vs. Johnny Gray
Gilbertson has to pedal once, but saves the run and posts a 5.16 - 277.09.
Gray smokes the tires, pedals, smokes them some more. He gives up early and
records a 7.76 at only 94 mph.
Scotty Cannon vs. Jim Epler
Two wasted runs here. Epler gives up at half track and still gets a 6.37
at 146.10 timeslip. Cannon's up in smoke right at the hit and staggers to a
12.25 e.t. The sweep trucks chase Cannon into the deep end and it looks like
we're down for almost the first time today. Despite two cone bashings and one
quick cleanup, the alky cars lost barely five minutes earlier today.
All the oil in Cannon's lane is past the finish line and we're up and running
again in less than ten minutes.
Dean Skuza vs. Gary Densham
Skuza's very strong for nearly 1000 feet, then starts mixing up cylinders
and shuts off early to a 5.02 at 268.22 mph. Densham's up in smoke and gives
up very early to a 7.29.
Frank Pedregon vs. Tommy Johnson
A pair of good runs for a change. The C-S-K car moves into the top spot
on the ladder with a solid 4.95 - 293. Junior Johnson hazes the tires on the
top end and falls into the #5 spot with a decent 5.17 - 280.60.
Ron Capps vs. Tony Pedregon
We have another new #1, as Capps get down there very quickly, with a 4.90
at 296 mph. Pedregon smokes early and shuts off at half track with a 7.10 at
Del Worsham vs. Whit Bazemore
Bazemore gets close to 300 mph on this pass with a 4.96 at 299. Worsham
stays with him until 1000 feet, then starts wobbling and shuts off to a 5.25
at just 218.41.
Bruce Sarver vs. John Force
The best side by side battle of the round. Sarver has to wrestle the e-moola
car, but keeps it inside the lines to move into the #2 spot with a 4.93 at
299 mph. Force ends up #6 on what looks like an easy run, at 5.07 - 291.95.
Now we move directly into Top Fuel, and start with a single pass.
We've got a new car/rusty driver single. Craig hasn't run since crashing
on his only pass of the season at Phoenix in February. The pass looks good
until he torches a head gasket at half track and wraps the blower belt around
the wing. The scoreboards ring up a 5.19 at 203.43 mph.
Brady Kalivoda vs. Tim Gibson
The kid makes his first national event pass of his career. I'm surprised
he's not on a single, but is lined up against the veteran Gibson. Kalivoda
has at least one cylinder out on the launch, drops another at 300 feet and
shuts off to a surprisingly good 5.678 at 161.94. Gibson has no problems and
puts down a decent opening pass at 4.68 - 267.46, with the blower belt taking
an early departure.
David Grubnic vs. Rhonda Hartman-Smith
Grubnic tosses the blower belt at half track and still records a 6.74 at
just 107.41. By the way, are we seeing a rash of belt failures today, or does
it just seem that way? Everybody did take off their Denver belts, pulleys and
compression ratios.. didn't they? Hartman-Smith shuts off at 300 feet, with
badly smoking tires and posts a 9.36 - 89.25.
Doug Herbert vs. Tony Schumacher
Another pair, another broken belt. Tire spin causes Herbert ot shut off
eearly to a 4.83 - 238.05, after recording 259 mph at half track. Schumacher
smokes the tires, pedals, smokes the belt and limps through at 10.14 - 89.25.
Mike Dunn vs. Darrell Russell
Dunn drops a cylinder and still puts the first 300 mph of the weekend on
the scoreboard, coupled with a 4.70 e.t. Russell is with him until half track,
but shuts off soon after to a 5.07 - 213.06.
Gary Scelzi vs. Doug Kalitta
Team Winston blasts out a big number to take over the top spot, at 4.62 -
311.92 mph. Kalitta's up in smoke and shuts off early to a 9.94 - 79.35. A
hit and a miss. That's the story of this session, it seems.
Larry Dixon vs. Kenny Bernstein
This is the last pair of the session. Sosenka, Bonin and Ron Smith elect
to skip this round, so we don't have a bubble yet. And with only 16 cars in
the pits, we may not have one to write about anyway.
Finally we get a side by side race, with Bernstein pulling ahead on the
top end, with a 4.58 - 315.49 to bump Scelzi off the top rung. Dixon lands
in the third spot, and lays down one of only six four second runs so far today
for the Top Fuel cars.
5:00 PM: Pit Notes: Whatever happened to Al Hofmann? We see
him cruising up and down the return road on a minibike, so we know he's here.
But what about the Jim Dunn "Mooneyes" flopper? Guess it's time to make another
round of the pits.
5:30 PM: Whoops. No time to cruise. Back to work as the second
session of Federal-Mogul is on tap. Heck, there was barely enough time to grab
another free meal at the media centre.
John Evanchuk vs. John Patton
Evanchuk leaves before the tree runs, coasts for a while, then hits it,
and rolls through to a "no time recorded". Patton steps up and moves into the
#4 spot with a 6.03 - 235.
Ed Marx vs. Doug Gordon
We've got a bit of cloud cover again and a cool breeze, and it seems like
the cars are enjoying the changed conditions. Gordon makes a huge move into
the #2 spot with a 5.77 - 249, falling in right behind Pat Austin. Marx knocks
off a tenth from his earlier run, but just holds onto his #4 seeding with a
5.92 - 225 mph pass.
Forrest LeBlanc vs. Dan McGlone
These guys are paired up again; let's hope they can both get a timeslip
this time. McGlone does his part by jumping back into the 5.80 groove of two
weeks ago (at Woodburn), and jumps into the #3 spot with an excellent 5.82 -
239.57. LeBlanc stays in his lane, but shakes hard and gives up before half
track to a 7.83 - 122.
Randy Parker vs. Rod Clough
Oh, oh. The Safety Safari is working on LeBlanc's lane, just off the starting
line. Patiently waiting is a pair of Northwest regulars, seen often at Mission
Raceway this season. Clough is looking to step up considerably from his opening
6.88, while Parker will probably be happy with another low 5.80.
When they get down to business (after a mercifully short cleanup), Parker
has a handful to deal with; lots of tire shake and goes all over the track.
He still lights up the boards with a 5.91 - 236; pretty good numbers considering
the way the run looked. Clough picks up four tenths, but he's still well back
in the field, with a 6.48 - 212.59.
John Knox vs. Roger Bateman
The "Showdown" team of Bateman & Reynolds is looking to get back into
the .80 zone, where they've been almost exclusively for the past two months.
Knox leaves so early he's already at half track when Bateman moves. Consequently,
he gets a "no time" and Bateman repeats his earlier pass with a 6.00 - 242.19,
to stay in the #9 spot.
To add injury to insult, Knox oils the braking area at the end of his wasted
run. We'll be down for a few minutes. Thank goodness for the national event
Clint Thompson vs. Larry Miner
Miner jumps into the #2 spot, less than a hundredth behind Pat Austin, with
a tremendous 5.76 at 248 mph. Thompson tosses the blower belt at half track
and slows to a 7.20 - 126.42. And we've got more stuff on the track, in Thompson's
Pat Austin vs. Bucky Austin
In yet another installment of the Austin Family Fued, there's a bit of lead
swapping until Pat gives up at half track, and watches Uncle Bucky jump up to
the #5 spot with a strong 5.84 - 246.35. Pat's still #1, despite his 7.02 -
139, with only one pair left to run in this session.
Looks like it's a single to close the alky flopper show for the day, as
there's still only 15 cars in the pits. Weaver makes a nice pass and moves
all the way up to the #3 spot with a 5.81 - 246.57.
And now it's dragster time. First, this breaking news: Brandon Bernstein
was found light on the scales after the first session, so his low e.t. 5.37
is thrown out, making Brian Hough the #1 qualifier, at 5.42. That should change
in just a few pairs time.
David Baca vs. Steve Federlin
Baca, even with a cylinder out, grabs the #1 spot with a great 5.39 at 258
mph. Federlin steps up nicely (by nearly a tenth) to a 5.56 at 253.20 mph to
take the #5 spot.... temporarily.
Brandon Henkelman vs. Kim Parker
This pair tries their luck again and they both make it down the track this
time, with varying degrees of success. Henkleman makes a clean strong run to
take the top spot, at 5.38 - 262, while Parker nearly repeats her earlier 5.66,
with a 5.69 at 244.69. This is possibly the best back to back pair of laps
she's ever made.
Mark Hentges vs. Leo Grocock
David (Grocock) vs. Goliath (Hentges): Both are looking to step up. Hentges
picks up .03 and moves into the #4 spot on the ladder with a 5.44 - 263.56,
while Grocock picks up a full second, at 6.36 - 179.21, despite a very early
shutoff, but stays stuck in the #11 spot.
Rick Santos vs. Duane Shields
Shields fires up... then the engine dies. But the car hasn't moved into the
water box yet, so they allow him to restart. When the two cars get going, it
turns into a great side-by-side battle, with Santos turning on the winlight
at 5.40 - 259.11, to Shields' quicker and faster 5.37 - 263.27.
Shields takes over the top spot, while Santos jumps from the bottom of the
field to #4, pushing everyone else down a notch. He's still not quite on his
game yet, but they're getting close, if you can judge by this pass.
Drama? We've got drama. After years of trying, Hough pushes Mike Johnson's
car into the 5.30's for the first time ever at 5.36 - 261.23 and we have another
new top qualifier. This is getting good.
Jones spins the tires hard enough to tickle the rev-limiter in first and
second gear. Despite that, he's only .02 second slower than the first session's
career best (5.45) at 5.47 and 253.23 mph.
The "Bud Prince" closes out today's alky action with the third single pass
in a row, due to lane allocations and no shows by Cofini, Edwards, Austin,
Brown and Plourd. Redeeming the disqualified run of earlier today, Bernstein
lays down a new career best, and takes over the top spot in the field with a
tremendous 5.33 at 266.48 mph.
Unreal. What a great session of alcohol qualifying. And we've still got one
more round on tap before eliminations start tomorrow afternoon.
7:00 PM: Where's Al Hofmann? How about the head of the staging
lanes, as he's out first against Scotty Cannon in this second nitro qualifying
session. The air is cooling; the sun's getting lower; the shadows longer; it's
looking good for this nitro at night festival.
Al Hofmann vs. Scotty Cannon
This is a weird deal, with both cars stopping at the finish line after aborted
runs. Cannon's up in instant tire smoke and shuts off, while "Atomic Al" bombs
the blower at 200 feet and pulls to a clanking stop at the finish line. The
"bubble" stays at 7.76....
Johnny Gray vs. Tony Pedregon
We have a new track speed record, courtesy of Pedregon, as he erases brother
Cruz's 1998 effort, with a 4.96 at 308 mph. Gray shows everyone both sides of
his car before saving it by shutting off to a 6.71 at 145 mph. He's on the
bump spot now.
Gary Densham vs. Jim Epler
Densham's strong for 1000 feet, then starts mixing up the cylinders to a
5.07 - 269.24 time. Epler smokes the tires at 100 feet and shuts off to a 8.62
Terry Haddock vs. Chuck Etchells
They cross the finish line nearly side by side, after shutting off together
before half track. Obviously the times of 8.77 (Haddock) and 9.01 (Etchells)
are of no help to either driver, but there's no pressure on them either, as
they're both in the field based on their first session runs.
Jerry Toliver vs. Del Worsham
Best side by side pairing of the day. Both cars in the 4's at more than
300 mph. Excellent stuff. For the record, it's Worsham at 4.93 - 304.27 and
Toliver at 4.93 - 304.80. And the nitro flames are starting to fill the early
evening sky. It's not dark yet, but the flames are clearly visible as the sun
nears the horizon.
Whit Bazemore vs. Tommy Johnson
Johnson lays down a solid pass at 4.97 - 297.42, while Bazemore lights the
tires at 100 feet, gets out of shape and shuts off to a 9.60 - 86.11. We now
have eight (don't correct me if I'm wrong - it's Bob Frey's fault) cars in the
Bob Gilbertson vs. Frank Pedregon
Why the heck are all the drivers talking about rain tomorrow in their post-run
interviews over the p.a. Aren't they the least bit superstitious about invoking
the "R" word? On the track: more tire smoke, as Pederegon quits early with a
7.32 - 115.05 and Gilbertson's off it even earlier to a 10.95 - 119.42.
John Force vs. Bruce Sarver
Force does the best nitro funny car burnout of the day, all the way to the
300 foot mark, but it's a still a long way from his efforts of the past. Whatever
happened to the long side-by-side smokies? Yeah, I know, too much fuel, money
and sponsorship at stake.
It's hard to argue with the results of Force's "conservative" driving
style, as he lays down low e.t. and top speed of the day at 4.87 - 310.41,
missing the track e.t. record by .001 second, but taking the speed mark by
nearly two mph. There's now only one more pair of floppers in the lanes....
Dean Skuza vs. Ron Capps
Ho hum. Another pair of four second runs. We now have ten cars in the 4-second
zone, but the bubble is still way back at 6.71, at the end of day one. Skuza
turns a 4.96 - 302.28, while Capps runs a slightly quicker 4.94 at a slower
7:25 PM: Next up: the Top Fuel Dragsters and it's obvious that
we're running well ahead of schedule.
Smith launches, shakes, shuts off. But he's in the field, despite his 11.11
- 76.22, as we still don't have a bubble and there's only 16 cars in the pits.
Gordie Bonin vs. Don Sosenka
Here's a major blast from the past. "240 Gordie" Bonin vs. Mr. Magoo. To
my knowledge, this is Bonin's first pass this year. He leaves decently, but
is fighting for control at half track and pulls the pin before the 1000 foot
mark to a 5.58 at 201.76 mph.
Sosenka is even softer off the line and gives up just past half track to
a 6.11 at 167.59. Again, both cars are in the show, but we do finally have a
bump spot, at 11.11 (Smith). Oh, oh, we've got oil in Bonin's lane; maybe that
was part of his control problem. To kill the downtime, Glen Braid brings the
CFMI Rock 101 girls out to the starting line.
Doug Kalitta vs. Tony Schumacher
Kalitta smokes 'em to a 10.24 - 80.74, while Schumacher lays down a decent
pass at 4.76 and a big speed of 313.51. "Better than sex, baby" is the Rock
101 girl's summation of this pair of runs. Hmm, sounds like she needs a new
boyfriend, doesn't it?
David Grubnic vs. Rhonda Hartman-Smith
Grubnic lays down a good one, with lots of smoke at the finish line, but
a 4.79 - 295.97 on the scoreboard. Hartman-Smith rotates the earth for 60 feet,
with an .826 time, but is up in smoke soon after and shuts off at 300 feet to
another nine-second time, a 9.71 - 92.30.
Yes, we've got oil in Grubnic's lane. And the cool breeze is starting to
get downright cold. The crew take care of business quickly and we're back to
the ontrack action.
Brady Kalivoda vs. Craig Smith
Two Washington state drivers duke it out for local bragging rights. The
veteran Smith against rookie Kalivoda. Brady tries hard, but the blower belt
cries "enough" on the fourth pedal attempt, and he runs out of power at half
track enroute to a 6.92 - 119.27. Smith goes 100 feet, smokes the tires and
coasts the rest of the way to a 13.32 - 67.71.
Darrell Russell vs. Doug Herbert
A pair of very nice passes. Herbert blasts into the #3 spot, with a new
top speed of the meet, 317.42 mph, and an e.t. of 4.62. Russell trails him
by three car lengths at the finish line and holds down the #8 spot with a
solid 4.78 - 309.91.
Mike Dunn vs. Larry Dixon
Dixon takes over the top spot, and nearly eclipses Herbert's top speed,
with a tremendous 4.55 - 317.12 pass. Dunn, meanwhile, is up in smoke early
and clocks a 12.59 - 63.16. We're down to one last pair of fuel cars now for
Kenny Bernstein vs. Gary Scelzi
Did we save the best for last? Count to four... and a half and we'll see.
YES, we certainly did with a new track record and top qualifier in Scelzi's
4.51 - 316.97 pass. Bernstein is right with him at 4.56 and 312.71. Side by
side 4.5's and one of the quickest passes of the year. Unreal. What an ending
to a great day of qualifying. Let's hope for more of the same tomorrow.
"Brad Hadman: You're needed in Brandon Bernstein's pit area a.s.a.p." Hmm,
looks like it could be a long night in the offing at Progressive Metalcraft.
We'll follow it up in the morning.
9:00 PM: Due to a bit of parking chicanery and a fortuitously
open side gate this evening, we were on the highway and back to the motel less
than 30 minutes after Scelzi cleared the traps. Now all I have to do is drive
up to Casey Binz's in Des Moines and get all these pages (21 of them) of notes
translated into a web page. Hmm, looks like a long night in the offing at the
2:00 AM: I wasn't wrong, except it's not evening anymore; it's
now closer to early morning and I'm still tapping at the keyboard. So before
my eyes completely glaze over and I drop face forward onto the desk, let's
call it a night and do it all over again tomorrow.
The one bit of bad news I can report at this time is that it's raining here
in the Seattle area, has been raining since 10 pm and should contuinue precipitating
until at least Saturday afternoon. Stay tuned: this could be a long weekend,
indeed. More news as soon as we get a chance.....