COMMERCE, Ga. (May 5, 2000) - Qualifying for the 20th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals got underway today at Atlanta Dragway. The 20th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals is the seventh race on the 23-event NHRA Winston...
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 5, 2000) - Qualifying for the 20th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals got underway today at Atlanta Dragway.
The 20th annual Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals is the seventh race on the 23-event NHRA Winston Championship tour. Television coverage can be seen on TNN on Sunday, May 7, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
Warren Johnson (GM Goodwrench Service Pontiac Firebird) - "We're doing all right. We'll get her tuned up for tomorrow and we'll be ready to go. We tried something tonight that we had never done before and it went down there and ran a 6.95. If it would've been straight, it would have gone a 6.92 or 6.93 easily so I think we're on to something."
Mark Pawuk (Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird) - "We didn't run good backhalf speed this afternoon. We made such a bad run that we really can't judge whether or not we have this Summit Racing Firebird fixed. We ran good to the 330 before the car got out of control. The right lane was pretty rough for us, but we got in qualified ninth, and tonight and tomorrow will decide the field, so we're not too disappointed."
Bruce Allen (Reher-Morrison Pontiac Firebird) - "Tonight will be the key session for us, not only because the air will be better but more so because we'll be in the left lane. The Reher Morrison Pontiac Firebird was the third quickest car in the right lane this afternoon with several cars that didn't get down. Whatever it was, the lane was more of a factor than anything. It will get more even with the fuel cars running but tonight going into the left lane will help us a bunch. Tonight being on the right side should help us a bunch. We did get down so we got data to make adjustments. I think we should be able to run about a 6.93 in the left lane and if we make that run, we'll be in going into tomorrow morning and I'll be happy. We'll have three good sessions this weekend: tonight, tomorrow morning and tomorrow night. If there was a throwaway session it was the first session today. Getting down the track this afternoon paid huge dividends if only for the fact that we got valuable information that will help us tonight."
Jamie Yates (Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Firebird) - We're pretty happy with the way we ran tonight. It's definitely a good starting point for tomorrow - we should have two good sessions. We had one really good run today, and one where we were able to get down the track, so we have a lot of good information to tune from. I think we have some direction going into tomorrow and maybe we can move into the top half of the field - I think we have the power to do that. We'll put it all together and if I do my job we'll be set. Last week gave me the confidence that we could run fast in the good sessions with everybody else. We felt that the track would come around and going into the left lane helped us quite a bit. We made some changes and it came right to us. We'll put a little more clutch in it for tomorrow and we'll be set."
Richie Stevens (Valspar Refinish Pontiac Firebird) - "I like to get this car solidly in the field on Friday so that we can relax a little and spend Saturday getting ready to race. Now the pressure picks up because there's no way that time will hold and plus, we want to move up a bunch so we can start Sunday with lane choice. I'm not going to sleep very well tonight. It's way better than it was before but the left side is still a little better than the right. That's the main reason I'm mad because I want to have my choice of lanes by the time Sunday gets here. Who knows, by Sunday the right lane might have enough rubber down that it's the better side. But I still want to have my choice. The Valspar Pontiac Firebird ran pretty good in Round 1 on the left side but spun like crazy in Round 2. Then it went left out of the groove and I just lost too much momentum to put up a good number. We have that right lane again in the morning and finish on the left side. I hope we run late tomorrow or that we get some clouds in here or I could be in trouble. Tommy (Utt) will get this place figured out by tomorrow. He's the best there is at matching a car to the conditions so I'm confident we'll move up."
Todd Paton (Nitrofish Pontiac Firebird) - "We'd like to hang on to that No. 1 position. Wayne (Dupuy) has a real good raceday tune up in the car and we're just collecting data right now. Every lap we get down the track it helps us more and more. Even as messed up as that last lap was, we're pleased with it. The performance is there, and every lap I get the better it is for the team. The more experience I get, the better I feel in the car and the more confident everyone is going into eliminations on Sunday. I still only have a handful of runs in this thing going down the track, and like I said before, it's very similar to the Firebird we used to run in the Federal Mogul category. But it's doing different things. I'm running this Pontiac 60 mph faster than I ever ran before so it's doing some different stuff out there. It's a pretty stable piece down there but you're still waiting for it to put a hole out or stuff that the alcohol car never did. We're really pleased with this racetrack. I have never been down it before in a fuel car, I've always made my runs here in a Federal Mogul car. It would get a little unsettle on the gear changes - there was a bump out there in one of the lanes that would bring the car right off the ground. I'm glad to see that we're getting rid of the one lane racetrack that used to haunt this place. We ran equally well in both lanes and I'm hoping that is something we can look forward to for the rest of the weekend."
Al Hofmann (Jim Dunn's Mooneyes/Red Line Oil Pontiac Firebird) - "We dropped a cylinder at the hit of the throttle, but at least it put us in the show for tomorrow and that's better than not being in. We have the five-disc in, and that's only our fourth run on it. With the different weather we're still getting a handle on it. Last week we dropped a cylinder and ran a 5.14, today we dropped a cylinder and ran a 5.096. We're not used to how the five-disc clutch loads the motor and we're putting too much fuel in at certain spots. We just have to get our fuel curve happy with the clutch."
Del Worsham (Checker Schuck's Kra=gen Pontiac Firebird) - "I knew we had it set up nice and soft, that was actually the plan. Too often we go the other way, smoke the tires on the first pass and then we have to find our way back to a safe setup. I'd rather come at it from this direction, put a nice easy lap on the board and step on it a little more each lap after that. The tune up was right and the Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird ran easier and straighter than it maybe ever has. It wasn't a total freebie though. We pulled a blackened bearing out of the bottom end, so the motor has to come out. It must have been a broken part that caused it because the spark plugs came out of the car looking brand new. We need to have a plan and a high five-oh was the plan. I actually filled in the incremental numbers out to the tenth of a second in our log book before the run -- like making my predictions, just to see if I'd get it right. I got them all right except thew eighth-mile e.t."
Frank Pedregon (Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird) - "We had a malfunction at the line. The magneto retarder system didn't work and when that happens, our cars don't have much chance to get past that 200-300 foot mark. The guys knew it wasn't working. Dave Fletcher worked on it for a bit, then Bazemore was done with his burnout and we had to get going. To make matters worse, the car didn't catch the first time we fired it, so we fired it a second time and by then Whit was pulling into the beams. Rick Stewart was pointing at me to pull straight to the line, but I rolled through the water so the only way to get there was to spin the tires and do a little mini-burnout. I blipped the throttle and yanked on the brake, then stopped right at the beams. I've never done that before. I wasn't sure what was wrong with the mags, but knowing now that the retarder system was malfunctioning, there was no way the car was going to get down the track. We'll just fix it and plow right down there this evening."
Dale Creasy Jr. (Mad Magazine Pontiac Firebird) - "We made some changes, and from the hit of the gas I could tell it was weaker. I'm happy that the Mad Magazine Firebird is going to the finish line, but at the same time we're disappointed because we made some changes that should have made it better. We went in the wrong direction, but without any good runs we're having a difficult time making the right moves. We're starting to put in consistent runs so maybe we can learn something."
Cory McClenathan (MBNA/Pontiac) - "We thought about what we had to do last week, and Wes (Cerny) decided that we would come in here and be more consistent. We felt like we were giving up a lot in the middle of the track, and at the other end and he seems to have fixed the situation. He changed a lot of things, it ran really hard in the middle, ran pretty good on the starting line, we have to fix some things on the other end, but it's still running good speed. There's a lot we have to work with and we're pretty happy with this MBNA/Pontiac dragster. We just want to be able to do it well and do it again. We know that a lot of people are going to go out there and try to lay down a good number for the pole position. We're not going to do that - we're just going to try and make another strong consistent pass. If we do the right things, it may come our way. I just want to go down the track again and if we stay No. 1, that's good too."