February 19, 2001
Greenberg Nearly Pulls Off Upset in Phoenix
PHOENIX, AZ - A Friday afternoon qualifying run of 6.16 seconds at 233 mph was good enough to place Lyle Greenberg in the 14th position in the final Federal Mogul Funny Car standings at the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. Greenberg's first round opponent was Bucky Austin, fresh off a win at the opening NHRA National event in Pomona two weeks ago.
Prior to the first round matchup, Greenberg noted that they were going to make substantial changes to try and find the performance that they needed to compete with Austin. "We made a big change to the clutch and minor changes to the engine," said Greenberg. "We are still struggling to find out what the car wants in order to perform with the new 92% supercharger overdrive rule."
The most important aspect of the matchup turned out to be Greenberg himself, as he recorded an excellent .448 reaction time to gain a significant starting line advantage over Austin. Unfortunately, Austin's superior horsepower allowed him to pass Greenberg at about half track to take the win. Austin recorded a 5.97 second ET at a slowing 234 MPH, while Greenberg trailed at a 6.10 ET at 236 MPH. "We were pleased to have taken such a great shot at beating Bucky," said Greenberg. "I'm sure that he saw a lot of the yellow car for a few seconds early in the run. Plus, it looked like he had to really lean on his equipment to beat us. Just at the finish line there was a considerable amount of oil smoke pouring out from under his car and his speed slowed indicating that he probably hurt some parts".
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