Pennzoil's Thomas blisters Atlanta track COMMERCE, Ga. (May 14) - A rain shower delayed the start of the Advance Auto Parts Nationals second round of professional qualifying until 10 p.m. Friday evening. But the delay suited the Pro Stock side...
Pennzoil's Thomas blisters Atlanta track
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 14) - A rain shower delayed the start of the Advance Auto Parts Nationals second round of professional qualifying until 10 p.m. Friday evening. But the delay suited the Pro Stock side of the Pennzoil stable of drivers just fine as both Pennzoil-sponsored Pro Stockers managed to blast their previously posted times. Mike Thomas made the most noise, posting the second quickest time of the day. Meanwhile, Thomas' teammate Bruce Allen managed to move up two spots himself into 11th place.
Here's a quick look at each driver's opening day laps.
Mike Thomas, the driver of the Pennzoil Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, flexed his car's horsepower for his legion of family and friends from nearby Knoxville, Tenn. and posted the day's second best elapsed time and top speed. Thomas' Round 2 lap of 6.941 seconds at 198.85 mph left him in the No. 2 spot on the qualifying ladder.
"Obviously, the car is getting closer to where we need it to be," Thomas said. "I'm very pleased. The Pennzoil crew is doing a great job of adjusting the car to all the different conditions we keep encountering. This weather system really changed this track for the better and the guys were right on top of it. Things are looking pretty darn good right now."
Bruce Allen, the driver of The Outlaw Fuel Additives Pro Stock Pontiac Firebird, took advantage of the cool night air and ran a 6.988-second lap at 198.06 mph in Round 2. Following the same trend as the rest of the Pro Stock class, Allen's second pass was a vast improvement over his competitive first round lap of 7.045 seconds at 197.28 mph.
"We spun and shook all the way through second and third gear and still ran a pretty good lap, "Allen said. "That's real good news for us. The engine is running so well that it's actually ahead of where the car is at this point. If we get the car to match the power - which I think is easier to do than it is to get the power to match the car - then we'll be in the top half of the field. By far, this is the most encouraging racing we've done all year."
Eddie Hill, the pilot of the Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster, is barely holding on to the 16th and final qualifying spot after Friday's two rounds of qualifying. Hill's tire-smoking opening pass of 5.591 seconds at 164.55 mph was his best of the event so far.
"It's not supposed to be painful to run these cars down the track, but that second lap shook me so hard that my kidneys hurt," Hill said. "The first analysis is that we underestimated the track when we should have been attacking it. Now we've got some work to do because I'd really like to run well in the morning and allow the crew some time to get set for Sunday. It looks like we're in for a semi-sleepless night while we try to figure this car out."