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The latest update as of July 25, 2004

The Northwest Nationals becomes the Fall Nationals overnight

Wow, what a difference a day makes. This morning feels like we've turned the calendar back to 1974 and revisited the late, and not really lamented, Fallnationals. It's very overcast, the temperatures have dropped 20 degrees and now all the teams have to figure out how to make an 85% car go down a cool track in good air. It should be interesting; either awesome or awful. More news as it happens.

And it will happen today, as the two day lark I've had taking photos at the starting line has come to an end. It was fun at times, torture at others, but an experience that I'll never regret. Now that I've got nearly 800 photos, yes eight hundred.... to process, it will be sometime next year before any of the pages from this event get completed.

10:00 AM

We've got another dozen pictures (including some with actual race cars) posted on the Saturday picture page. Unfortunately, none of the daily report pages have anything other than a lot of white space. And that may not change much today, with any major details being reported on this page until tomorrow.

The weather is still looking slightly iffy, but if it holds, then we'll be in for one great day of drag racing. Stay tuned.

11:50 AM

The first rounds of Top Fuel and Funny Car are in the books and we have, as expected, some new low e.t. numbers: 4.61 by Dave Grubnic in TF, and 4.88 by Tim Wilkerson in Carbon Flopper. Most of the usual suspects have advanced to the second round, with Doug Kalitta being the only upset victim at the hands of John "Bodie" Smith.

As a bonus, we've posted the first batch of today's pictures, gathered during our pit tour that followed the annual Susan Wade "Wafflefest" in the media center. Thank goodness for her efforts, as NHRA has seriously dropped the ball in the catering department this year. Did I mention the coffee, which strongly suggested an industrial solvent base, was nearly undrinkable. Well, it was by normal folks..... which left lots for me to absorb. More news if the paramedics allow me to get near the computer again.

1:15 PM

In the second round of alcohol, two of the nitro nasties really picked up the pace and showed what they can do when the air gets 2000 feet better overnight. First, Ashley Force turned a career best 5.26 - 271 in the Darien & Meadows car, which was very impressive, then Duane Shields upped the ante, with a 5.22 at 267 mph. By the way, he has lane choice over Ms. Force in their semifinal matchup.

On the other side of the ladder, Kim Parker continues her upset ways with a huge holeshot victory over Chris Demke, while fellow Northwestener,Joey Severance, will have his pick of lanes after taking out Mike Austin.

In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Steve Gasparelli showed a major improvement with low e.t. of the weekend at 5.63. He will face Dennis Taylor in the semfinals, while John Patton takes on Mert Littlefield.

More photos are posted on the Friday and Saturday pages, and for a change, they're race cars this time around. More news in an hour. It's (free) lunchtime now.

To see previous updates go to the What's Old page