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Top Alcohol Funny Car Saturday final qualifyingQualifying for TAFC had the potential to be outstanding based on the numbers the TADs had run, and based on the teaser Chris Marshall ran on Thursday (5.50/263). But like has been the case in the last few years in the class at MRP, things did not go to plan....until the final qualifier. Friday's best run and only full pull was a 5.68 by Marshall. Two car that had run 5.40's this year, Annie Whiteley and Brian Hough both failed to go from a to b. The same for Randy Parker and Jirka Kaplan. This was Kaplan's first foray to MRP in almost a decade. His last time year was very memorable as that was when his was in Comp eliminator and when he ran 5.90's in his AA/AM.

For whatever reason, the TAFC's struggle here with what they have called a tricky track. The last few years the weather has been hot and the surface was a bit greasy for the short wheel-based high hp cars. Saturday's weather was similar, so if they could sort out the 100-300 foot area they could fly. In the first Saturday run, Brian Hough ripped off a solid 5.68/266 that was quickest enough by a couple hun quicker than Marshall's Friday 5.68. Marshall did not improve in the session, and Annie Whiteley and Jirka Kaplan both shook and lifted. Randy Parker laid down a solid 5.79/249 to move into the #3 spot.

 

In the final session it all came together for Hough. The multi time Divisional winner and division champion and multi-time top 10 National competitor ripped off a solid 5.536/268.09. Marshall was on a good lick as well, but his engine expired around 1000 feet and he was coasting across the finish line going 5.74/187.81. Annie Whiteley was on a great run to 400 feet but again she was off the throttle early. Kaplan Shook real hard for the first 400 feet but he finally got it to hook down track and got back on the loud pedal. He went 6.6 at a hard charging 248 mph. Randy Parker was off the gas real early.

Brian Hough would get the first round bye, Marshall would face Whiteley and Parker would race Kaplan. The rest of the story this afternoon.

 

Top Alcohol Funny Car elimination's

Round two

 

Final round

 

TAD final qualifying

In a word...EPICAs talked about on the SpeedZone homepage, the qualifying was one for the record books. Two blown cars run in the 5.1 teens and one A/fuel card does the same. Never has this happened in NHRA history Nationals or Divisionals. And never have two blown cars run in the 5 teens at the same event. The number of blown passes in the 5 teens before this event total was three. By the end of the weekend there were three more totaling six. And based on numbers shown by incrementals there should have been three more. Shawn made the QUICKEST run of the weekend to 1000 feet in testing. Based on those numbers, he would likely have run a 5.16. Then in his final qualifier, he was on a 5.19 pass based on his numbers to half-track. Joey Severance's run in round one would have been a teen for sure, but when you read below you will see why that didn't happen. And what about Kim Parker? They were debuting a brand new car to the team. It was purchased off Canadian Clif Bakx, and they had him tuning the car all weekend long. They had been down the track at Woodburn the week before testing, but this was the first weekend in competition. To run a 5 teen this weekend was way more than the Parker team though possible, but they have worked hard in Top Alcohol for many years and there could not be a more deserving team.
The fourth car in the field was owned by Kenny Gilmour and driven by Calgary's John Leach. Leach's debut a year ago was one to forget after his unfortunate accident in the top end. It happened in his first run anfter earning his license. After a few minor issues during qualifying, it was decided he would sit out elimination's, but would make another test pass. His test run was a pretty good one as he ran a 5.48/259. He still needs some more seasoning but the team should be stronger than ever.

Top Alcohol Dragster elimination's

In round one, Joey would take on Kim, and if the betters were picking my guess is they would side with the two time defending world champion. The weather conditions were just about as good as they were in qualifying and the track might have been even better. When they launched Severance have a .04 starting line advantage and looked to be on a mission. At half track he was well out in front. But at the finish line it was Kim Parker earning the scoreboard green light. She ran a 5.20/276 to Severance's surprising off pace 5.26/269. While most teams would be exstatic with that kind of run, both the speed and et were not what was expected after his launch and big advantage at 600 feet. On further discussion with the crew it turned out that the car did not have hi gear. Luckily the rev limiter kept the car from going to high rpm wise, but he fell .022 short at the stripe.

Shawn Cowie in his single ripped off a great 5.205 in the single and would have lane choice by .003 in the final.

John Leach did not run in elimination's but he ran a solid 5.48/259 in a test run after round one.

Final round

Both Cowie and Parker ran 5.20's in the previous round so it was anyone's race. Both lanes have proven to be very similar as well, so there was not an advantage there.

With similar ets in round one, would the race be won on the starting line.

At the hit, the two drivers were within .005 of each other so this would come down to the track and the tuning. By 200 feet both cars were stuck to the concrete, at half track Cowie had the edge, but that is the case in every blown vs a/fuel match-up. Shawn was going 223 mph while Kim was going 230 mph so she was coming one. Shawn had about 7/100ths when they started the second half of the track.

At the finish line it was Cowie running another 5.teen, going 5.196/279.06. He matched his record breaking speed to the thousandth, and becomes the only TAD driver to run multiple 5 teens at the same event. Kim Parker had another solid run, going 5.229 at 277.00 mph. Hit was her fastest speed ever. The win combined with the first round loss by Joey, puts Shawn over 60 points ahead of Joey halfway through the season. There is lots of racing left this year and the last two events have seen losses and a dnq by Severance, both caused by mechanical failure. This bad luck will turn around you can bet, so the battle between the two will come down to the final races in Vegas and Pomona most likely. Don't count out Megan Meyers and a couple other competitors, but it will be EPIC! I am not counting joey out for sure and you would be a fool to do so.

 


 

TA qualifying Friday

 

TAFC qualifying Friday