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in the world of drag racing

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To go to earlier editions of "What's New" go to  What's Old

The latest update as of July 27, 2001

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 event.

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.

John Weaver

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 with him.

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 the dragsters!

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.

Paul Jones

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!

Terry Haddock

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 just 117.31.

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.

Craig Smith

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 cleanup crews.

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 lane.

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.

John Weaver

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.

Brian Hough

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.

Paul Jones

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.

Brandon Bernstein

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 - 91.93.

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 fours.

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 297.68.

7:25 PM:  Next up: the Top Fuel Dragsters and it's obvious that we're running well ahead of schedule.

Ron Smith

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 the day.

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 Binz WebWorks.

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.....

Black Bar
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