Baytown: Scott Geoffrion eliminations summary

Geoffrion, Nitro Fish Escort ZX2 reaches finals at Spring Nationals. BAYTOWN, Texas, April 12, 2003 - Well, Scott Geoffrion and Hurley Blakeney's Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 are for real. If there were any doubts about the three-race old car,...

Geoffrion, Nitro Fish Escort ZX2 reaches finals at Spring Nationals.

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 12, 2003 - Well, Scott Geoffrion and Hurley Blakeney's Nitro Fish Ford Escort ZX2 are for real. If there were any doubts about the three-race old car, they were dispelled Sunday at Houston Raceway Park.

Driving almost flawlessly and with the car performing the same way, Geoffrion drove into the finals, and then put up a stern challenge to Kurt Johnson in the final round of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals.

"The car was awesome," Geoffrion said after the finale, in which Johnson was a narrow winner, 6.780 seconds at 204.79 mph to 6.795 at 204.14 mph. "Our crew chief, Eric Luzinski, and Don Ness, the car builder, made a major, major change to the chassis Saturday night and the car responded and ran well on the hot racetrack.

"The car would not go down a hot racetrack. We found that out in the second round at Gainesville and the second round at Las Vegas - both losses - and our Saturday run. So Eric and Ness set out to fix it, and they did. And we kept working on it and kept making it better and better."

Geoffrion qualified eighth with his career-best 6.751 seconds - he also ran 6.752 and 6.772 in extremely good conditions - and he went on to defeat Mark Pawuk, Warren Johnson and Mike Edwards before bowing to Johnson.

His most harrowing round win came against Pawuk. He left first but the car got out of shape. He didn't back off and beat Pawuk to the line, winning with a 6.864 at 201.91 to Pawuk's quicker 6.849 at 201.79.

His closest victory came against Warren Johnson, and again courtesy of Geoffrion's quicker reaction time. The combination of a .053 reaction and a 6.816 time to WJ's .067 and 6.802 made the difference an amazing 0.0002 of a second.

About the finals, Geoffrion said, "We were actually ahead of Kurt at the 330-foot mark and he gained on me to the eighth-mile and we just stayed that way to the finish line. We both ran 204 (mph)."

With that performance, Geoffrion was able to move into seventh place with 246 points. He's 10 out of sixth and 17 behind fourth-place Allen Johnson. Kurt Johnson leads with 437.

The Nitro Fish Escort ZX2 returns to NHRA competition April 25-27 at Bristol, Tenn., in the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals.

-hbnitrofish-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Scott Geoffrion , Mike Edwards