FUNNY CAR: BAZEMORE HIGHEST-PLACING CAMARO Z28 IN QUALIFYING WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 4 qualifier, 4.937/309.91. After not qualifying in the top 16 yesterday, Whit rebounded with a 4.948/309.91 in the first ...
FUNNY CAR: BAZEMORE HIGHEST-PLACING CAMARO Z28 IN QUALIFYING
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 4 qualifier, 4.937/309.91. After not qualifying in the top 16 yesterday, Whit rebounded with a 4.948/309.91 in the first session, good for No. 4. He then bettered that time with a 4.937-second pass at 308.43 mph in the final round. He maintained his fourth-place spot in the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history.
BAZEMORE: "After struggling yesterday, there was probably a little more concern in the Etchells camp this morning than I've experienced in my year-and-a-half here. Personally, this is the one race I want to win more than any other, not only because I grew up in Atlanta, but also because this race track is where I fell in love with drag racing and decided that I wanted to drive a Funny Car for a living, no matter the cost. With that in mind, yesterday was pretty frustrating. But this team never faltered. They buckled down and focused on what we had to do. As a result, the Kendall/Matco Camaro as absolutely perfect, including running low e.t. in the heat of the day. Tim Richards gave me a nice, safe hot rod that was easy to drive. Now we have to carry this effort forward through tomorrow, which I know we can do. We'll have to be on our game from the start, because we have a tough opponent in the first round with Scotty Cannon."
JIM EPLER, WWF RACING CAMARO Z28, is No. 6 qualifier, 4.961/302.01.
RON CAPPS, U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, is No. 9, 4.991/298.67.
CAPPS: "We are not happy about our qualifying effort, but that's part of the whole thing. We¹ve got some new cylinder heads on the car this weekendÿ Obviously we expect ourselves to qualify a lot better than ninth. One thing I learned this year, it doesn't matter. When it comes race day I wouldn't have anybody else but Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) tuning the car. He¹s proved himself. Even when we struggled in qualifying, when you get him off by himself on Saturday night thinking about what he's going to do, he comes out and gives me confidence. That gives me confidence that we will go out Sunday morning, get low e.t. of the round and go on from there. We put a cylinder out in the last run, at about a second into the run. We never had a chance to run very good. It's part of the learning curve with the new cylinder head. It's supposed to be better, but it will take a little time to get used to it, but we think it will make the Camaro run better later this year." ON THE TRACK AND LANE CHOICE: "We have been down both lanes. They have done a wonderful job of making this track better. Every year we've come here and people have had a hard time getting down past half tracÿ without smoking the tires. Obviously with a Top Fuel car going 4.57 and (Dean) Skuza going 4.80 (in Funny Car), that's proof that the track can holý just about anything. Tomorrow is a different day, it should be quite a bit warmer and sunny. I truly believe it's going to be a completely different day than it has been the last couple of days. That's why I feel comfortablþ with Ace. He's adapted to different tracks with different air conditions.
PRO STOCK TRUCK: BOB PANELLA JR. IS NO 1 QUALIFIER...AGAIN
BOB PANELLA JR., PANELLA TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, qualified No. 1 for the ninth time in his career, the fourth time this season, with his track record-setting elapsed time of 7.525 seconds at 180.09 mph, set yesterday. His two runs today didn't come close (7.581/178.54 and 7.567/179.18) in the heat of the day.
PANELLA: "It's definitely warmer than yesterday. I guess it's good and it's bad. If it would have been as good as yesterday then Randy (Daniels) would have been No. 1 instead of me. We tried to get closer to our .52. With the hot conditions, .55 was realistic. We were a little bit off with the .56. I definitely know where we were off in the first 60 feet here; we will get that figured out for tomorrow." WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PASS Iÿ THE RIGHT LANE TODAY? "We moved over out of the bald spot. We actually goÿ more traction than we thought we were going to. The front end got high and it got on the wheelie bars. We were experimenting with the hot race track; it was probably not the smartest thing in the world to do. We know what we have to go back to to be fast again. I could pull .51 or .52 if the track would cool down. We have been too aggressive. This track is pretty warm. The 138-degree temperature is not as good as 100 or 95. It's so critical. You can get down a track that's 120 or 130 degrees a lot better than one that's 138. But otherwise it's a perfect track. The starting line is so warm. It gets bald from the Top Fuel and Funny Cars. We are so happy to go down the race track when the first part is so miserable."
RANDY DANIELS, BAILEY TRUCKING CHEVY S-10, is No. 3 qualifier, 7.552/177.86, established yesterday. In today's sessions, Randy ran a 7.599/174.98 in thþ first, 7.552/178.42 in the final.
DANIELS: "That was just a coincidental deal that we were in the wrong lane at the right time. This morning was probably the better session of qualifying, and we were in the right lane. There's definitely a factor in the lanes. This is one of those races where it's going to be real critical to run real fast in each round and maintain lane choice. We were the third fastest down the right lane this morning. We missed the call a little bit. We spun the tires really hard. In the left lane we put in the combination we planned on racing with. We were top dog that round. We were the only ones to match our best pass. We are excited about racing on Sunday now."
PRO STOCK: KURT JOHNSON BACKS UP HIS 203-MPH RUN, BUT FALLS TO NO. 2 IN QUALIFYING.
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28 (6.922/203/68), backed up his 203.68-mph run with a 202.88-mph pass in today's first qualifying session, but he was bumped out of first place by his dad Warren in the final session, who established a track record elapsed time of 6.907 seconds at 200.14 mph. A question still remains as to whether the NHRA will allow Kurt's speeds to stand. Basically, the NHRA has said that since the national record is not established until the final round has run on Sunday, they are reviewing the time sheets and the incremental times of the two runs to determine the accuracy of the speeds in both of these passes.
KURT: HOW ABOUT YOUR DAD TAKING THE TOP SPOT AWAY FROM YOU? "He's finally doing his job out there (laughing). He's learning. He's finally able to apply that horsepower." ON TODAY'S RUNS: "The run this morning wasn't too bad, we ran .93 and showed some consistency. It went down the left lane and we have a pretty good setup for tomorrow. On the second run, there was something down track. As soon as I put it in fourth gear, it seemed like it was on marbles, it started shaking real bad." WAS IT THE LANE? "Yes, there was something in the lane, because I was headed to the finish line and everything was good, and it was just like it jumped up in the air when I put it in fourth gear. It was on a 6.96 (-second) run in that lane, so I know we're pretty pumped up for tomorrow."