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Qualifying was conducted in side-by-side format, but only the times counted.  Twelve spots were allocated for the racing brackets.  The best twelve qualifying times would go racing at 5:00 p.m.   One of the thirteen trucks would have to sit out the races.  The rest of qualifying was all about jockeying for position and lane choice.

Tall0001.jpg (32776 bytes) The first two drivers to test the Talladega track were both veterans.  Diehl Wilson in Virginia Giant and Eric Tack in the new Tonka truck from Team Bigfoot.  Eric had been running the truck with the Firestone body, but the new Tonka version was ready for Talladega.   I couldn't get media access for the show, so I had to shoot pictures from the grandstands.  Even with a 210 mm lens, I couldn't get as close as I would have liked.   We did the best we could under the circumstances.  Tonka took a 7.27 second qualifying time on the first attempt, while Virginia Giant came in at 8.13 seconds.
Dan Runte had Bigfoot primed and ready.  He covered the course in 6.75 seconds on his first attempt.   Scott Hartsock finished his first qualifying round in Gun Slinger with a 7.54.

Each truck had a maximum of three tries at the qualifying runs.   

Tall0003.jpg (31480 bytes)
Tall0004.jpg (31873 bytes) It became obvious early on, that it would take a sub 8 second time to get into the 5:00 race.

Mark Hall in Executioner and David Morris in Equalizer both blew their first qual attempts.  Equalizer jumped the start, and Executioner jumped his lane.   They both took a DQ in the first round of qualifying.

Tall0005.jpg (32385 bytes) Dan Patrick is sporting a fire engine red non-3-D body this year to allow competition in the ProMT series.  Personally, we like the 3Ds, and we sort of missed the slick paint job on the baby blue body with the cool arms.  The red one was O.K. though, and I understand the purist racing point of view.

Pure Adrenaline was driven by "hired gun" Gary Porter.  This one was fairly close with Samson at 7.11 seconds and Pure Adrenaline at 7.27. 

John Seasock and Sudden Impact rolled up to the starting line with Doug Cole in Blown Thunder.  After the remote ignition interrupt check, John couldn't get Sudden Impact started again.  The starter problem cost him his first qualifying run as Blown Thunder ran solo.  Doug recorded the worst qualifying run of the first round at 8.21 seconds. Tall0007.jpg (28073 bytes)
Tall0008.jpg (31137 bytes) Next up were Guy Wood driving Tropical Thunder and the new Iceman truck out of the Hall brothers' shop.   Iceman was driven by newcomer/computer jock Steve Macklyn, who outshined his boss in the driver's seat through the first few qualifying rounds.  This was an extremely close run with Tropical Thunder edging Iceman recording 7.37 and 7.39 second times respectively.
The first qual round ended with Andy Slifco taking Eradicator down the track on a respectable run.  Army never announced the qualifying time, but it was decent.  As the first round came to a close, the pressure was on Executioner, Equalizer, Sudden Impact, and Blown Thunder to improve their standings in the next two attempts. Tall0009.jpg (31346 bytes)